DEAR MISS MANNERS: A year ago, my husband and I met a couple with whom we thought we had enough in common to make a go of a friendship. We’ve come to regret the impulse.
Each time we’ve seen them has been a bit less enjoyable than the time before -- for us. They either really like us or they are desperate for companionship (I suspect the latter), because they continue to try to make plans. I have delayed responding; I’ve said we couldn’t make dates they suggested and have not offered alternatives.
When I was young and single and didn’t care to go out with someone, I was taught that it was acceptable to simply say that I wasn’t “interested.” I’m pretty sure that’s not the thing to say in this situation, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to convey the message. I’d like to get past this without being unkind or being thought badly of, but I will accept the bad thoughts if I must. Is there something I can say, or should I simply ignore repeated attempts to connect?
GENTLE READER: Sorry, but there is no decent way to say, “Now that we’ve gotten to know you better, we realize that you’re not very interesting.”
What you can do is to stop inviting them and stop accepting their invitations. No excuses are necessary. Just “Oh, I’m so sorry, we can’t. Thank you for inviting us.”
Miss Manners is aware that many people believe that frank declarations are better than merely drifting away. No, they are not. This is not a divorce we are discussing, but merely the kind of adjustment of social life that happens all the time for many different reasons.