Unfortunately, along with the good will come the bad. And for those, you can simply say something like, “Awe, thanks. That is really sweet of you, but I am really just getting over someone and so I’m not looking to date right now.” What? Most of that is true.
But what do you do when you aren't sure you are being asked out?
For example: A guy friend calls or emails or texts you something funny and you two are going back and forth and are laughing and then suddenly you hear (or read), “Hey, wanna grab a drink?”
What is that?
Funny story (I swear I’ll make it quick): The first time this happened to me, I had no idea my covert date was into me until my second drink when dude (who was engaged be-tee-dubs) leaned over and told me just how sexy he thought I was and started to enumerate all the things he wanted to do to me. Nothing friendly about that.
Now, the above scenario (the friend asking you to grab a drink – not my accidental date with an engaged man) presents the obvious problem. You have no idea if you are saying yes to a date or drinks with a friend. And since I don’t know any cool way to go about ascertaining this, I suggest you decide if you want to go on a date with your guy friend. If you do – awesome-sauce. I hope your life is made of all the wonderful things that happen in almost every rom-com ever written and that he isn't just asking you out for a drink between friends.
On the other hand, if you have no romantic interest in this friend. May I suggest one of the following options for ensuring you aren’t going on a date (or at least that there won’t be a second):
Option One: Invite other friends. Probably the easiest and most obvious.
Option Two: Sleep with someone he finds despicable. I call this move "In Memory of the Geisha" (from Memoirs of a Geisha). Sometimes the only way to let a guy know that you aren’t interested is to have sex with his sworn enemy. If you think this is a bit extreme (and maybe it is, I am pulling this play from a sex worker’s playbook) then perhaps you can just extol the virtues of his sworn enemy. If he doesn’t have a sworn enemy, talk about how you think the quarterback from the Dallas Cowboys is dreamy (only works for Eagle’s fans). If he doesn’t follow football, then there must be someone he hates. You're his friend, you should know this and you should feel free to use it to your advantage this one time.
One drawback of this plan is it could end your friendship.
Option Three: Pay for everything. I know this is going to sound antiquated and will probably piss off Gloria (just when we were becoming friends again) but there are signs that a guy puts out there and picks up on when he is on a date (at least I think there are, but really what do I know?). So if you find during drinks that it seems to be more a date than just two friends catching up, and you really want to drive home the fact that it isn’t a date – pay. Pay for everything. Or at least insist on paying for your portion (just don’t do the wallet-grab-psych-out).
Warning: If he thinks this is a date, he will fight you on paying. You must win this fight. Otherwise the words “I think we are just better as friends” are in your near future.
Now, what if the date you don’t want to be on isn’t with a guy friend? What if your boss or your mom or someone else you can’t say no to, has offered to fixed you up.
Sure getting fixed up can work. It worked for Marie, for instance. But assuming you have really good reasons to object to this pairing, here is the best way to make sure it is only once (without pissing off your boss or mother).
Exaggerate: Unfortunately, you have to go on the date. You also have to do some soul searching. You need to think of something about yourself that even your own lovely mother would shrug and say, yeah, she does do that, and then exaggerate it. Do you love cats? Talk about how you like to dress them up and how much you hate that your landlord only lets you have three. Has someone told you, you curse like a sailor? Well, get ready to make truckers blush. Have a bit of a mean side? Attempt to make your waiter/waitress cry (and then double back and give them a super large tip after explaining everything).
Another word of warning: Exaggeration will most likely lead to this guy never calling (score).
However, it could also lead to your boss, mother, friend with terrible taste in dudes, to never fixing you up again. I will leave it to you to decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing.