An introduction from our tipster: I got this from a hedge fund manager/former law student I met through an online dating website after deflecting a second date and rejecting him via email. He sent the email back within an hour of my rejection, which made me wonder if he had a form email on hand to send to women who rejected him. Oh, I never mentioned his attractiveness, much less that he was a toad!
I will be sure to add you to the list of people who, after receiving an invitation to a second date, require extra time to write back (my internet was down! work was crazy! family business!), and then proceed to inform me of how great I am before insinuating that I have the attractiveness of a toad. I implore you, for the sake of whomever else you might do this to in the future, to simply be honest. It’s frustrating and, quite frankly, far more annoying to have rejection sugar-coated in any way. If you don’t find someone attractive, just tell them that. I realize that many people avoid doing so as they don’t want to “make anyone feel bad”, but clearly, even a moment’s consideration of that excuse shows that the only person you’re protecting is yourself. Obfuscation merely allows you to convince yourself of the illusion that you’ve managed to reject someone without hurting their feelings one way or another. But I think common sense (and I’m sure your own experiences) would tell you otherwise: it’s a sisyphean task. As such, I would again suggest that future dealings of this nature be conducted in a more open way; if you truly want to be as nice to the person as you can, then do so by helping them. Give them something they can work from. Otherwise the note reads as piece of deranged logic that is nothing more than maddening. It is clear that following this suggestion requires an effort in that it can be difficult for some to overcome the widely-accepted notion that flattery is a panacea; however, I assure you that honesty is a tonic like no other.
It is true that one could argue your e-mail was “honest”. After all, it is likely the case that you were with your sister, and your internet was down, and that we have cool stuff in common, and that you don’t think we have a dating fit. I would contend that to accept such an argument necessitates a painfully myopic view of the truth, and a regrettable misunderstanding the purpose of honesty. A statement’s veracity is not the only measure in which one must evaluate its contribution to the overall candor of an e-mail. Indeed, it is the true implications of a statement that are often far more central, for the very nature of these implications is that they lurk beneath the serene surface of a roiling discourse. While some would reply that these tacit statements are as clear as the written ones, this is just not the case. It is absurd to think that anyone but the author can divine his or her intent flawlessly. It is far too likely that the decipherer will err, as is human nature, too far in one direction. Some people hold themselves in too low an esteem; others, unfortunately, suffer the opposite affliction. As such, I would reiterate that actual honesty would be far better received.
Please don’t think I’m writing all this in the hope that it will somehow permit me to procure another date with you. There are far more effective ways, and if I felt them worthy of employment at this time then this would not be the e-mail I would send. Rather, it is my sincere wish that I can help those men in future who would have otherwise received such superficially benign yet fundamentally insidious replies from you. Also, my intention is not to make you feel bad; this should not be interpreted as a childish attempt to lash out, having been spurned. This is my honest e-mail to you. This is my attempt to do what I think you should have done, and if this e-mail can slightly alter your habits, or even elicit some thought on the issue, then our contact, however brief, will have been, in my view, worthwhile.