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There are going to be times, my friends, where the appeal of being single has you thriving in a haze of self satisfaction and ultimately fobbing off any advances of the persistent humans who want to tie you down (in the emotional sense – though really, either has its benefits). These are good times.

You are as single as the objectively best food substance you could get from a tube: a Pringle. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want company. Maybe you want a companion on an evening out, or you just wanna be able to hang out with someone without a label.

So the challenge arises when you’re actively seeing people but aren’t looking for anything deeper. How do you tell them? What should you even say?

Is it a conversation for the first date or are you best keeping that one tucked away alongside discussions of your pet’s astrological sign?

Here’s how you can manage expectations and do your best to ensure that nobody winds up snotty-nosed and teary.

Sit them down early

It’s not going to be a super easy convo, but it’s one you need to address reaaaal soon in the piece. If you’re not getting the vibe that it could progress, be straight up as soon as you know. It’s stacks easier to let someone down gently in the first week or two of seeing them than in the third month of dating.

It doesn’t have to be scary to chat with them about it either – if they’re a cool human you’ll be able to just say the word and they’ll understand. We’re adults, there’s no need to be weird about it. It’s only weird if you make it weird, mate.

Be clear with what you want

This is where you have to be super explicit about where you see things going. You don’t wanna leave any room for ambiguity because false hope is the worst of all things ever in this world (probably). Here are a couple of statements we prepared earlier that are nice and straightforward for your impending no-nonsense heart-crushing.

  • “I’m not looking for anything serious”
  • “I’d like to keep things casual”
  • “I’m not looking for a relationship”
  • “Begone, I’m staying single”

All viable options. Okay, maybe not the last one. But the rest!! Good!!!

Give them an explanation

If they’re feeling the vibe but you aren’t, they’ll probs ask you why you’re not up for anything. And that’s reasonable enough – humans are inherently curious and also self destructive so we want to know all of the things that turn people off us. Just me?

Be honest but kind – and please for the love of all things holy in this godforsaken world, do not use the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ kinda line. That’s a cop-out and you know it, even if it does bear the whiff of truth to it. A simple, “I’m not interested in a relationship at the moment because I (insert reason here)” is sufficient.

Perhaps you’re working on yourself, or you’re healing from a recent break-up, or you’re secretly two children standing on each others shoulders in a trench coat. All these are viable reasons you cannot get yourself into a relationship right now.

Give them the opportunity to bail

Not everyone is gonna want to stick around after you’ve put the kibosh on any serious prospects, so brace yourself for a quick departure. It’s something you’re definitely going to encounter at some point if you’re enjoying the single life, because obviously you’re a 10/10 human with tonnes of folk keen on you.

But who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky and find someone to hang out with suuuuper casually who’s after the same things as you. Or maybe you’ll find someone who changes your mind. You never know with this kinda shit.

Either way, just be open about it. Shout it to the rooftops, pop it in your Tinder bio, hire a skywriter. You’ve gotta be upfront in these situations, and a healthy dose of straightforwardness is a good thing.

And in the meantime you get to be as single and flirty as you like.

Image: iStock / Motortion