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Parallax - Advice            April 3, 2000

    He keeps calling and calling, he just doesn't get it...

Dear Conversely,

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I'm just wondering if you have any ideas on how to get rid of this guy who keeps calling me. I met him in a bar and gave him my phone number like an idiot. Do I ever regret it now. I thought he was kind of cute and funny, but after speaking to him for half an hour I decided I find him completely unattractive. How can I get rid of him? He keeps calling and asking me out to do things and each time I say I'm busy. Doesn't he get the point?

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Her view:

Dear Regretful,

Don't you just hate that? It sounds as if you've practically written on your forehead "I don't like you - please leave me alone" and here your sleuth just keeps on calling like suddenly you'll find time to go out with him. I guess what we need to do is ramp up the clarity for your sharp little friend.

There are some higher impact phrases. You can try: "I'd love to get together but I'm very busy for the next two months - why don't I give you a call in the summer?" Then there is always the boyfriend "out." The next time he calls say you are too busy because your boyfriend is back in town. When he asks why you gave him your phone number tell him you "don't even remember doing that...sorry." And don't feel badly about this; the onus right now is squarely on him for putting you in this awkward spot. There is a dating dance and he is stepping all over your feet. You've tried to be subtle and nice and make it easy to end this saga but he keeps coming back like the energizer bunny.

Of course there is always the approach that has integrity (the boring, tried, true and honest, blah, blah, blah). You could simply tell him you're really not interested in pursuing a relationship, you were drinking that night and mistakenly handed out your phone number. Apologize for any miscommunication and confusion and wish him luck with his future. That's of course an annoying and difficult conversation to have, particularly when you've already set the tone of backhanded avoidance.

So, I recommend the first. Be outlandish and snotty, he'll go away.

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His view:

Dear Regretful,

I can feel your pain. How blind can this guy be? How dare he be so rude to keep wasting your time, so thoughtless to intrude on your prized privacy?

I can see you have already been quite resourceful. But this man clearly will only respond to extreme measures. Change your answering machine message to "we're sorry we can't come to the phone now..." or, for greater impact, say "Fabio and I" instead of "we." Alternatively, next time he calls tell him your parents can't wait to meet him on your next date.

The possibilities are endless. I could sit here and give you a dozen more ideas, and I'm sure they'd surpass anything my esteemed colleague could propose. But instead I'm going to go all-out give you the FINAL solution.

Are you ready? This is revolutionary.

Tell him the truth.

Really, I know this may feel overly daring and controversial, but it's all the rage these days. He seems to be a bit slow. He's not getting all your clever hints. Why not just clip his wings?

I empathize with this guy. I've been him. I once had a woman string me along for months. Granted, I was somewhat glazed over her, but she never gave me a straight answer, she never had the guts to say: "listen buddy I just don't like you," or, "I'm seeing someone else." So I took her excuses to be signs of indecision, signs that all that was needed was more persistence on my part.

By the time I finally "got it" she had earned a special place in my heart: right next to all my other favorite sadistic people.

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