Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

I Don’t Get People

Jeez, I hope my friend doesn’t mind my telling this story.  I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of days and I just have to mention it.

A good male friend of mine went out on a date a few weeks ago.  It was a .  He was by another female friend of his.  She said that he’d really hit it off with this other friend of hers, and that she was pretty and smart blah bah blah and he figured why not.

The date didn’t go well.  He thought she came off as not having much of a personality and not very bright.  But he also knew that she had to be bright.  She had started her own successful business and a person doesn’t accomplish that if they’re not smart.  So he figured that maybe she was just nervous, a bad dater.  And he could tell that she liked him.

So he decided to ask her out on a second date (in addition to being handsome and smart and cool, he’s incredibly sensitive and willing to give people second chances).  The second date was worse than the first.  He had an awful time and couldn’t wait for it to be over.  Unfortunately, she did not have an awful time.  She emailed him first thing the next morning and then again the next day.

He was all set to send her a polite but firm, “no thank you” email when their mutual friend, the woman who set them up, told him (he called her to give her an update) to not send the email.  To not reply.  To just ignore this woman and do ‘’.

I was completely shocked by this because I hate the fade.  I would so much rather have a guy email me and say he’s not interested (or he’s getting back together with his ex or he’s moving to Mars, whatever).  I think the fade is childish.  And my friend, the guy, wanted to do the stand-up, mature thing and tell this woman he wasn’t interested.  And another woman told him not to.

I just don’t get it.  Not at all.


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26 to “I Don’t Get People”


  1. PiscesInPurple says:

    That’s weird. It’s always better to know than wonder.

  2. OpinionatedGift says:

    I prefer to know too. In fact I’m always happiest if the woman just says right out that she isn’t interested. Its not pleasant to hear, but it beats being misled and ignored.

    However, not knowing all the details, it may be that the mutual friend knows this woman well enough that she felt “the fade” was the better option for her. Some people don’t want to hear the truth, some people would rather handle the passive aggressive act of “the fade”.

  3. kitttygorgeous says:

    I hate the fade. It happened to me once so I definitely know how it feels.
    Worst part is us women wonder does he likes me or did I come on too strong. We women end up screwing another date thinking that something is wrong with us.

  4. bellaressa says:

    I completely agree with you. I, myself also hate the fade, why not just keep it real and tell someone why it’s not working out or just tell them them the truth. Why keep someone wondering.

  5. jenmata says:

    Well I don’t get this either. Why would she tell this guy to do this to her friend? What kind of friend is this woman? This is why guys don’t get women and do all the wrong this. This woman should be taken apart and given a “little” talk. Every guy should own up to their end of the deal and straighten things up, via email or otherwise. The “fade” is completely unacceptable.

  6. chelsmarlene says:

    That’s quite a shocker… I’m not a huge fan of the “fade” either. Weird!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree… Let her move on. Don’t give her false hope. We all know how women react, just watch He’s Just Not That into You. So yes, the fade just allows women to become more disillusioned.

  8. LPS says:

    I totally agree, as well! What a cow that woman is telling your friend to the fade to her friend! No, no, no, no, no! If the lady your guy friend dated is overly sensitive and would have preferred the fade (maybe why the female mutual friend suggested it) then it’s time she toughened up. She runs her own business. I’m sure she’s used to getting no’s when pursuing clients. She’s not going to have a meltdown because someone tells her no to dating them.

  9. saucy40mom says:

    I’d never heard that term (“the fade”) before I read this (my dating years are blessedly but a faded memory) but what an apt title for such a cowardly method. I agree with you: honesty is ALWAYS the best policy and for your male friend’s woman friend to encourage him otherwise tells me that A)she is clearly not a woman’s woman (we all know a few of them) and
    B)I would bet my left nut (oh, that’s right…I don’t have a left nut. Or a right one either, but I digress..) that she is interested in being more than friends with your male friend herself, and upon realization of this, regretted setting the two of them up. She was thrilled to find out that he had no feelings for her girlfriend, but wanted to cover all her bases by having him behave in a manner that would cause her girlfriend to feel instant dislike toward him, thereby clearing what could possibly be a future path for herself to his heart. But…I could be wrong.
    To any men wondering if TheFade is a practice they should cultivate in the future? Man up and be honest. I always like to think of it like Tom Cruise in the movie “Mission Impossible II” where he’s about to rouse a former recruit he’s trying to rescue by injecting her with a syringe of adrenaline. He looks her in the face and says very clearly, “this is adrenaline. It WILL hurt”. And it does. But he gave it to her straight and that is what we all deserve to get from one another.

  10. Simone Grant says:

    First things first – saucy40mom and kitttygorgeous than you both for joining the conversation and welcome to the blog.

    I’m glad to hear I’m not way off base here. Like most (all) of you, I’d rather know than not know. And kitttygorgeous, you bring up a great point, the not knowing can leave us feeling so insecure that we screw up our next date. And saucy40mom, you bring up a good point, maybe this “friend” has less than pure motivations. But then why did she suggest the set-up in the first place?

    The only explanation that makes any sense to me is OpinionatedGift’s thought that maybe this women believes her friend would rather not be confronted with the truth. It seems odd to me, though. Though I can’t imagine any grown women who wants to have her emails and calls go unanswered.

  11. aguy says:

    ehh, I feel like quite obviously the polite, mature thing to do in this situation is to do the thing that’s most considerate to the other person’s feelings …. which in this case, according to the only person who really knows her here, would be to fade out. She actually sounds a little desperate if she’s emailing him twice without hearing from him — maybe she does need to “toughen up” but who knows what else is going on in her life…

  12. aguy says:

    Saucymom, do you really think being honest (and potentially hurtful) is the way to go? “Sorry, I thought we had some potential, but I met a girl 15 years younger than you I’m more into.” “Apologies, but ultimately I just didn’t find you all that attractive … you’re kinda fat for me.” I don’t think anyone really wants to hear these things …. honesty is not always the best policy, and sometimes being passive-aggressive is the most polite and sensitive way to go.

  13. Simone Grant says:

    -aguy
    Again, I don’t know a single woman who would prefer to have a guy fade away. You think it’s more polite. Fine. That’s your opinion. Many of us disagree with you.
    Your framing the act of telling truth as rude is kind of funny. There’s a big difference between, “I don’t find you attractive” and “We’re not a good fit”.

  14. alfabeta says:

    I also hat the fade, but it seems to be a typical New York thing. I never experienced it before I moved to NY a couple of years ago. I guess I did it too on some occasions, but now I rather send the nice “not thanks” note. However, it seems that I am more sending out emails that are “fade-breakers”, which means I write emails if I don’t hear from a woman for over a week to find out what’s going on. Mostly it was the fade going on, but my “reminder” email mostly got them to write me a “no thanks” note as response.

    Dating in NYC sucks sometimes.

  15. Simone Grant says:

    -alfabeta
    I agree. It sucks sometimes. Just think how much better it would be if we all lived and dated by the golden rule – to treat others as we wished to be treated.

  16. aguy says:

    SG,
    When you talk about “the fade” — what does that mean? This guy had been on TWO dates with this girl. If you go out on a single date with a guy, do you expect/want him to tell you later he’s not interested?

    I have done that — but in general I don’t; I figure in most cases the girls sense the lack of chemistry and don’t want to date me again either, and those that do will get the message when I don’t call. (Hopefully by the time they realize I’m not going to call, they are on to bigger and better things!)

  17. Simone Grant says:

    -aguy
    In general, I think the fade means unreturned calls/emails.

    After a single date, no, I don’t feel there’s a need to say no thank you. Unless one person makes multiple attempts to reach out (sure, that might be desperate, but why let the desperate person twist?). But after a couple of/few dates, if one party contacts the other, I think it’s a simple kindness to respond and say, “no thank you”. And, as I said, I know that most women feel similarly. Many men, too, based on the comments.

  18. Still Single says:

    I must admit, I do the fade myself sometimes…but, only if it’s some guy I just met and never went out with or talked to besides him saying, “Can I call you sometime?” and me reluctantly saying, “Yes.” I was just trying to be nice.

    On the other hand…if you go out with someone on a couple dates, then I believe that person is entitled to a polite response. I don’t think I’d be too upset about a guy I only went out with a couple of times doing the fade thing though; a few MONTHS on the other hand…DEFINITELY need some kind of explanation..just for closure’s sake.

  19. BetterNow says:

    I for one, am certainly not a fan of the fade…my best friend dated a guy for more than 6 months and while he was on a business trip he said, “I’ll call you tomorrow” and that was the end of that. 6 months of wasted time spent dating a tool.
    Let me add that months later he found me on a dating site and thought we should get to know each other…he didn’t know his ex was my best friend. But because of his occupation, location and height (extremely tall) I knew it was him. I called him out on it and told him I was not interested in men who have such awful habits, his reply e-mail stated that the account was not in fact his, it was an account made up by co-workers. Imagine that!!! The fade will come back to haunt you.

  20. aguy says:

    SG — yeah but 99% of the time — at least in my experience — women just don’t initiate contact with a guy until they’ve already been on a couple of dates. They want the guy to chase them and so wait for his call. But as for why you’d ignore a desperate person who falls into that other 1% of the population who leaves you multiple emails after just two dates, the answer is not to be mean or let them “twist” but to avoid DRAMA.

    Of course if you’ve been out with someone more than a handful of times, you owe them some kind of breakup (an email is fine if it’s been less than a month or two, IMHO). I’d hesitate to put a specific number on “a handful” but think in general the third date is an important marker.

  21. AA80 says:

    Everybody here hates “the fade” yet still it is the rule in this city…

  22. Simone Grant says:

    -AA80
    Welcome – I’d challenge that. I’d say that everyone hates it but because it’s so common, some people feel justified in doing it to other people. And that’s just sad. No, not sad – pathetic. Because adults should not do things that they feel are wrong. And yet so many do, and then use the excuse “but everyone else is doing it”.
    -BetterNow
    That’s just a horrifying story and yet totally believable. People do treat each other like disposable objects.
    -Still Single
    Someone you’ve never met is different. That’s just deciding not to go out with someone. What I’m talking about here, and what I think most everyone else is, is people choosing to not communicate what’s going on (“I don’t think we’re a good match, but I enjoyed meeting you. Good luck.”) because it’s uncomfortable and awkward. They’re choosing their own personal comfort over doing the mature, polite thing. And then they say, “everyone else is doing it”. I don’t have kids, but if I ever do I plan on teaching them better manners than that.

  23. KB_in_NYC says:

    Kudos to men (and women) who just tell it like it is. The ‘fade’ is such a cowardly route to take. I went on a date with this guy and I was definitely not interested but he was. And he texted me right after the date and then first thing the next morning and then again the next afternoon. I was like, Ugh. And I really wanted to just ignore him but I didn’t. I politely said that I wasn’t interested & I think that made me a much better dater. After all, I would like the same courtesy extended to me.

    By the way is your friend available to date? He sounds like a real stand up kind of guy.

  24. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles says:

    Have to agree with everyone who’s said “the fade” is no fun! It’s happened to me more than once (yes, it DOES seem particularly predominant in NYC, doesn’t it?), and there’s nothing worse than the feelings of abandonment, embarrassment, and self-doubt that result, especially if the man in question initially came on strong and filled your head with compliments and talk of the future. A few times, I took matters into my own hands and called or wrote for an explanation, and it was such a relief to get one, even if it was just “I’ve had fun with you, but I don’t see this going any further.”

    I’m kind of shocked that your friend’s friend advised him to be such a wuss! Then again, I wonder if she did it because she was afraid whatever excuse he offered might cause tension between her and her dumped friend because she was the one who set them up. Knowing that her disappointed friend would probably turn to her for an explanation, maybe she thought it would be easier to mediate if he said nothing than if he actually said some version of “I’m just not that into you.” Maybe she intended to lie and say something like, “Oh, he liked you, but he realized he doesn’t have time for anything serious.” I still think that’s lame, but it’s the only possibility I can think of that would account for why someone would do such a thing to her own friend unless she had a heart of stone.

  25. KatharineMTHW says:

    Ahh, I think I might ‘fade’ people

  26. Simone Grant says:

    -KatharineMTHW
    Welcome to the blog. I’ll try not to hold that against you. TRY :-)
    -KB_in_NYC
    I’d set you two up for a date but I think he’s too old for you. We need to find you a nice guy in his 30s.
    -Singletude
    He and I have spoken more about it and his take is that the mutual friend must know best, know something about this woman that makes her believe that this is the most appropriate strategy. But I totally agree with you.