How to politely turn a guy down (Long, and I'm creeped out)

I'm the world's biggest idiot when I feel ambushed by a guy. I lose all sense of reason and can't articulate what I want to say. So I KNOW I should've handled this differently. I'm already kicking myself, so it'd be appreciated if you could keep that to a minimum.

I was minding my own business at the gas station Saturday, when a guy struck up a casual conversation. I imagine he's old enough to be my father. He was talking about football because he saw my license plates (mentioned the big college team from the state). We discussed schools and teams and he asked when I graduated, etc. Harmless stuff, I'd think. I finished filling my tank and said I had to go to work. He asked where it was. I work for a pretty well-known company in the area that's accessible, and I never had any problems result from telling someone where I work, and then he asked how he could do business with us, as often is the case in some form when I discuss where I work with someone. I told him how to get to the site and what department to contact. I was pretty clear that I wasn't going to be a help in getting what he wanted, telling him I don't know people in that department and that I don't do any dealings with it. Nice meeting you, good bye.

My phone rings yesterday at work. It's him. He sounded nice and pleasant enough, but I was pretty creeped out. He called the office and asked for me, and they told him what general hours I work and gave him my extension to try later. He asked me out to dinner. I was so shaken and taken aback. I told him I work nights, so I can't. He asked me to lunch. I told him he caught me at a bad time, I was busy, call back tomorrow.

Now I KNOW I should've said that I have a boyfriend, no, I'm not interested. But I froze. I'm good with the no thanks responses when I see it coming, so I'm not a totaly loss, but when I'm so stunned like I was, I don't think very clearly. So if he DOES call back, I'll tell him he caught me at a bad moment last night, I was frazzled and had my hands full, but I should've been clear that I have a serious boyfriend and am not interested in seeing anyone else. (SO said I should tell him I'm engaged, but I don't know if I have to go that far.) Now, it would be awesome if it ended here. But people will say they just want to meet as friends. I figure I can just tell him I didn't think SO would appreciate it. But I don't want to be caught off guard AGAIN. I want to end this tonight, as politely as possible, since he knows not only where I work, but also my general schedule now (thanks to the folks who answered the phone). I'm (most likely irrationally) afraid he'll show up at work or something. Any advice on the best way to handle this?

(I need a fake name and fake occupation. And my friend has a fake engagement ring she wears out when she doesn't want to be bothered. She suggested I get one of those. )
Under construction.
You don't need to give any excuses or reasons. Actually the fewer excuses and reasons you give, the better.
"No, thank you. It's nice of you to ask but I am not interested" Repeat as needed.
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Yeah, that's the best route to take...just be upfront and tell him in a polite way. Most people are reasonable and respect the honesty.
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I agree with Geeky!
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Should I not put the boyfriend thing out there? Or is OK to say thanks for asking, but I have a boyfriend and am not interested? I just figured that if he knows I'm already in a relationship, he might be less likely to think he could try to convince me to say yes (as has also happened before, but with guys I've known. This is my first stranger creeper. Ugh.).
Under construction.
Yeah, say you're not interested. I've told guys in the past that I have a boyfriend and they ask how serious it is, does he treat me well, how well they'd treat me, etc, etc. The less information you offer the better. Some guys seem to think when you tell them you have a boyfriend, that it means you're interested but dating someone else. So the more direct you are, the better for you in the long run. If he keeps calling you at work let him know that it is a business and not a personal line and furthermore you aren't interested.
Should I not put the boyfriend thing out there? Or is OK to say thanks for asking, but I have a boyfriend and am not interested? I just figured that if he knows I'm already in a relationship, he might be less likely to think he could try to convince me to say yes (as has also happened before, but with guys I've known. This is my first stranger creeper. Ugh.).
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
IME when I've told guys I have a boyfriend they seem to think if they stick around long enough the situation will change. I think it makes the point that much more clear if you leave the boyfriend thing out and just say you're not interested. If he asks if you have a boyfriend I'd say it doesn't matter because you're not interested. Be firm.
Yeah, say you're not interested. I've told guys in the past that I have a boyfriend and they ask how serious it is, does he treat me well, how well they'd treat me, etc, etc. The less information you offer the better. Some guys seem to think when you tell them you have a boyfriend, that it means you're interested but dating someone else. So the more direct you are, the better for you in the long run. If he keeps calling you at work let him know that it is a business and not a personal line and furthermore you aren't interested.
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
Yeah. That's why SO said I should say I'm engaged. I've told guys I just flat out wasn't interested and got the questioning on why not, would I ever be, just give it a shot, etc. I've never had trouble just saying I have a serious boyfriend, I'm not interested, thanks.

I'm still freaked out.

ETA: We were posting at the same time. Guys stick around to see if I'll ever be interested if they think I'm NOT attached. I've never had the reverse happen. Who knows.
Under construction.
Indeed, all you want to say is No. Lather, rinse, repeat. It doesn't matter why, the point is No. You don't owe him any excuses or reasons. No.

And then tell your company that randomly giving out your information for non-business purposes is not ok.
"And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
Fun Fact: When you actively avoid being “PC,” you’re not being forward-thinking or unique. You’re buying into systems of oppression that have existed since before you were even born, and you’re keeping those systems in place."
Stolen.
Indeed, all you want to say is No. Lather, rinse, repeat. It doesn't matter why, the point is No. You don't owe him any excuses or reasons. No.

And then tell your company that randomly giving out your information for non-business purposes is not ok.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
He easily could've said it was business-related, so I can't say they necessarily did anything wrong. I've had people call and e-mail me (whether they managed to get it themselves or it was given to them or they called the main office) with work-related comments, questions and concerns, so it's not way out there. I've just never had anyone track me down at work to ASK ME OUT. Yikes.

So consenus is to just say I should've been clear last night that I wasn't interested? No mention of SO? (Work folk, mom, best friend and SO said I should bring that up, and I haven't decided yet whether I will, but that's why I'm posting here.)
Under construction.
My vote is no on mentioning the SO for the simple fact that you don't owe this guy an explanation. He may push for one, but all you owe him is a "No thank you, I'm not interested".
I'm like you - I tend to get caught off guard AND not want to hurt someones feelings.

I chicken out by exaggerating how crazy jealous my boyfriend gets when another guy even TALKS to me. They usually dont want to get YOU in hot water and will back off. (Altho the LAST guy I tried this on went into heated detail about being an ex marine and bring the SO on etc.... Had to report HIM to gym manangment).
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My vote is no on mentioning the SO for the simple fact that you don't owe this guy an explanation. He may push for one, but all you owe him is a "No thank you, I'm not interested".
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
It's less feeling like I owe him an explanation and more that I would feel more comfortable saying that. I don't know why. I guess to me, saying I have an SO lets him know there's no way, no how, no chance. Saying I'm not interested still has me out on the market. This is also totally based on experiences I've had. The guys I've turned down by saying I'm with SO, not interested, have generally respected it. When I've told guys I'm just not interested, it's gotten ugly. I lost a really good friend that way (well, come to think of it, he wasn't a really good friend if he pulled this crap); he thought if he stuck around, I'd eventually change my mind, since I was still available. In truth, I AM more comfortable telling him I have an SO, which is why I may say it. It has nothing to do with owing him any explanation. I don't feel as if I have to answer any questions regarding him or my relationship or how long we've been together: I don't owe him an explanation. I think it's easier for me to be firm that way. And if he thinks I live with someone (he doesn't know where I live, though) and have someone around watching my back, that doesn't hurt either. I really am creeped out.

rudechick -- I understand about not wanting to hurt someone's feelings. In general, I think there's a nice way to turn down guys. I think I'm just being super anal about this because he knows my work schedule. I don't want to unnecessarily piss him off. But I want to be clear I'm not interested and never will be. I don't think I've used the SO line unless I've had one, because I also don't like to lie. I need to grow a better backbone when it comes to stuff like this. But I tend to tiptoe a little more when I'm afraid. The whole situation makes me really uncomfortable.

ETA: Even the guys at work said I should say I have an SO. I don't know if that counts for anything. I expect I'll probably say it, but I still appreciate the input/advice. It's the being firm in general and not owing any elaboration beyond my initial no that I have trouble with. I plan to put the rinse-rather-repeat method to use. I've started living by that just this summer, so it's still new for me. I tend to need reminding that I'm the one in control of this situation.
Under construction.

Last edited by Befrizzled; 11-19-2008 at 10:08 AM.
My vote is no on mentioning the SO for the simple fact that you don't owe this guy an explanation. He may push for one, but all you owe him is a "No thank you, I'm not interested".
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
It's less feeling like I owe him an explanation and more that I would feel more comfortable saying that. I don't know why. I guess to me, saying I have an SO lets him know there's no way, no how, no chance. Saying I'm not interested still has me out on the market. This is also totally based on experiences I've had. The guys I've turned down by saying I'm with SO, not interested, have generally respected it. When I've told guys I'm just not interested, it's gotten ugly. I lost a really good friend that way (well, come to think of it, he wasn't a really good friend if he pulled this crap); he thought if he stuck around, I'd eventually change my mind, since I was still available. In truth, I AM more comfortable telling him I have an SO, which is why I may say it. It has nothing to do with owing him any explanation. I don't feel as if I have to answer any questions regarding him or my relationship or how long we've been together: I don't owe him an explanation. I think it's easier for me to be firm that way. And if he thinks I live with someone (he doesn't know where I live, though) and have someone around watching my back, that doesn't hurt either. I really am creeped out.

rudechick -- I understand about not wanting to hurt someone's feelings. In general, I think there's a nice way to turn down guys. I think I'm just being super anal about this because he knows my work schedule. I don't want to unnecessarily piss him off. But I want to be clear I'm not interested and never will be. I don't think I've used the SO line unless I've had one, because I also don't like to lie. I need to grow a better backbone when it comes to stuff like this. But I tend to tiptoe a little more when I'm afraid. The whole situation makes me really uncomfortable.

ETA: Even the guys at work said I should say I have an SO. I don't know if that counts for anything. I expect I'll probably say it, but I still appreciate the input/advice. It's the being firm in general and not owing any elaboration beyond my initial no that I have trouble with. I plan to put the rinse-rather-repeat method to use. I've started living by that just this summer, so it's still new for me. I tend to need reminding that I'm the one in control of this situation.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
There is no question I am a chicken when it comes to this kinda thing.. like you said you either lose a friend or piss someone off. And, for the record, my SO is stupidly jealous, so I can say that with full conviction!
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By bringing the fact that you're in a relationship up, it gives this guy the idea that if only it weren't for that relationship, he'd have a chance. Which doesn't sound like the case.

Either way, this is really about you. Do you want to date him? No. Doesn't matter what the reason is, the answer is no. Give him more than the fact that you don't want to go out with him, and he may start using those reasons as leverage for getting you to change your mind. Not that it would work, but it's annoying.
"And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
Fun Fact: When you actively avoid being “PC,” you’re not being forward-thinking or unique. You’re buying into systems of oppression that have existed since before you were even born, and you’re keeping those systems in place."
Stolen.
By bringing the fact that you're in a relationship up, it gives this guy the idea that if only it weren't for that relationship, he'd have a chance. Which doesn't sound like the case.

Either way, this is really about you. Do you want to date him? No. Doesn't matter what the reason is, the answer is no. Give him more than the fact that you don't want to go out with him, and he may start using those reasons as leverage for getting you to change your mind. Not that it would work, but it's annoying.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
This has been my experience as well.
By bringing the fact that you're in a relationship up, it gives this guy the idea that if only it weren't for that relationship, he'd have a chance. Which doesn't sound like the case.

Either way, this is really about you. Do you want to date him? No. Doesn't matter what the reason is, the answer is no. Give him more than the fact that you don't want to go out with him, and he may start using those reasons as leverage for getting you to change your mind. Not that it would work, but it's annoying.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
This has been my experience as well.
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
I imagine that my comfort with bringing up SO is because my experience has been the opposite. I've never had luck with a straight not interested line, but the SO usually shuts them up, in my own experiences. I also don't expect to give him time to try to reason me into dating him either way. I'll be at work, and he doesn't have my personal number (and won't get it), and I just won't entertain it.
Under construction.
By bringing the fact that you're in a relationship up, it gives this guy the idea that if only it weren't for that relationship, he'd have a chance. Which doesn't sound like the case.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
That was my first thought as well. Sometimes fuels the fire if you bring up the SO.
I'd just be sayin, "Not interested!" Be firm. Don't let the guy have a lingering thought that you might be interested.
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I would tell him thanks, but you aren't interested. Leave it at that. If he continues to call or wants to meet and be friends, I'd be a little more blunt and tell him flat out no and that you aren't comfortable with him calling anymore.

Don't apologize or feel bad and don't let him make you feel guilty. Nice guys would understand why you wouldn't want to meet up with a stranger from the gas station. And if he tries to guilt you or pressure you, then you KNOW he's bad news.

Keep it simple. Tell him thanks but no thanks. And stop talking after that.

Let us know what happens.

I always seemed to attract these weirdos too. I had someone do practically the same thing when I was in my 20s, only he left notes on my car windshield and at my office desk (he knew someone who worked at my company). I lived alone in a new town, and completely freaked out.
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By bringing the fact that you're in a relationship up, it gives this guy the idea that if only it weren't for that relationship, he'd have a chance. Which doesn't sound like the case.

Either way, this is really about you. Do you want to date him? No. Doesn't matter what the reason is, the answer is no. Give him more than the fact that you don't want to go out with him, and he may start using those reasons as leverage for getting you to change your mind. Not that it would work, but it's annoying.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
This has been my experience as well.
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
I imagine that my comfort with bringing up SO is because my experience has been the opposite. I've never had luck with a straight not interested line, but the SO usually shuts them up, in my own experiences. I also don't expect to give him time to try to reason me into dating him either way. I'll be at work, and he doesn't have my personal number (and won't get it), and I just won't entertain it.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled

Really?!? It's been exactly the opposite for me. I say "Sorry, I have a boyfriend/husband," and suddenly it, "Is he here? I don't see him here. He'll never have to know." kind of thing, which just icks me out. If I flat out say no, they get the message. Giving an reason/excuse seems to make them think I"m warm and fuzzy. I don't want these creeps thinking I"m warm and fuzzy, I want them thinking I"m the ice queen. Not giving a reason is much icy-er.
"And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
Fun Fact: When you actively avoid being “PC,” you’re not being forward-thinking or unique. You’re buying into systems of oppression that have existed since before you were even born, and you’re keeping those systems in place."
Stolen.

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