Great (mismatch) of expectations

It’s a tale as old as time. You go on a few dates, and one person’s infatuation grows stronger, while the other person sees more of a blossoming friendship, as opposed to a romantic relationship beginning to form.

We’ve all heard about this happening, and it can really be a nightmare situation. However, it can be perfectly normal when dating that you hit it off with certain people over others, and you can’t really control how people feel about you.

What you can control however is letting someone down easy, and if this situation is handled correctly, everyone can walk away unscathed. Follow our tips below, and while you may not be riding off into the sunset together, you could walk away friends.

Be upfront

This is absolutely crucial in all dating situations, be upfront about what you want and what you’re looking for. Especially if you’re meeting via online dating, this is the perfect opportunity to outline your deal breakers and relationship makers. Of course, we should always be open to new things, however for personal non-negotiables like starting a family, for example, this is what you need to be clear about. So that if the person you’re seeing is on the fence about having kids, this is something that needs to be flagged early.

Communicate about how you’re feeling

If you’re on a date and as it starts to wind-up the person you’re out with suggests a second date, be upfront about how you’re feeling. If you don't see a second date on the cards because you're not romantically attracted to them, you could say something like, “In all honesty, I see us more like friends.” Now, I can see how this may feel uncomfortable, but is it any more uncomfortable than getting to that next date and still feeling no spark, or even worse agreeing and then cancelling because you can’t see yourself getting romantically involved with them?

If you’re the person who is asking for the second date and gets told that the other person sees you more as a friend, we get this may feel like a blow. However, in any situation, we can see it as a glass half full or half empty situation. Yes, you’ve invested time and in most cases money to go on this date, but now you know right away that this person sees you more as a friend, there’s no need to invest any more time in this relationship if you choose not to. Although you could also walk away with a new friend, it’s up to you. While right now, it may hurt, in the long run, knowing is always better.

Set boundaries

Say you decided to meet up again for a coffee or even another dinner, knowing that one party, in particular, doesn’t see the relationship going any further romantically. We recommend setting clear boundaries to ensure no one gets hurt. What do we mean by this? So if you’re the person who saw this relationship as more of a friendship, it would be best not to discuss other dates you’ve been on or who you’re seeing, because you still need to be considerate of the other person's feelings.

This goes for the other person too. If you’ve agreed to a friendship despite having romantic feelings, you need to respect what you originally said. You can’t show up to this catch up with flowers and push this person to change their mind. You never know, just spending more time with you may make them reevaluate a relationship, but even if they don’t, you said you could be friends, so you have to try and honour that.

And if you can’t?

If you get to the second catch-up and realise that you actually can’t just be this persons friend, then I’m going to redirect you to the first point, be upfront.

Try politely saying at the end of the coffee or drinks that it’s probably for the best if you don’t continue to see each other because you are developing feelings for them and it would be unfair on both of you to continue because you don’t want the same things. While again this may be tough, we can guarantee you that a hard conversation now will be better than the heartbreak that’s to come if you’re not upfront about the miss match of your feelings.

All is not lost…

It should be noted that in this day and age where more and more people are meeting via online dating this conversation is becoming less and less daunting. We've all heard countless examples of people who have met via online dating and have decided that they didn’t hit it off romantically but chose to remain friends, and it worked. The stigma is basically gone, so be upfront and take each new experience as it comes. You never know what each new interaction may have to offer.

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