Hey kids, tell me if this sounds familiar.
"Hi there. Sorry I haven't been able to get back to you this week but I've been really busy. Hope you're doing well."
Ah yes, the infamous casual brush-off. Translation: "Yo, I got tired of you, so I'm moving on. I'm only writing this e-mail so you don't tell your friends that I'm an asshole."
As the Lowcountry queen of the brush-off, you gotta love them, even when you're the one being brushed off, like I was earlier this week. Now I know you're probably expecting me to come off as bitter, but I'm not. Brush-offs are the most humane way to break it off with someone without really having anything to officially break. They're used in the early stages of a relationship, before any sort of bond has been made. The "talk" is still pretty far off, and at any moment, it's fair game for either party involved to jump ship.
As a serial user of the brush-off, it indicates that I respect you, but I don't want to hurt your feelings. As the recipient of the brush-off, it really doesn't sting too badly because I haven't gotten attached yet, but it gives me the obvious hint to move on. Especially since I can never read a person well during the first few dates, it's convenient when they make the decision for me. Back to the grind, I always say.
When I was in my 20s, this sort of brush-off would cause countless sleepless nights and the disappearance of many donuts from the office kitchen. "What's wrong with me?" I would whine. "Was I too aggressive or not enough? Did I talk to much or too little?" Every stupid little move I made during the failed dates would be over-analyzed and shared repetitively with girlfriends. "Jesus Christ," a friend once said, "three dates and you're acting like you're pregnant with his baby. Abort, Jessica, ABORT!"
No one ever gets used to rejection, but once you start inching toward 30, you become more accepting of it. Sure, for some people there's an element of panic, but I've grown more comfortable with the idea of being by myself. It took me a long time to realize that "being alone" doesn't equal "being lonely." As much as I bitch about the single life, it's a pretty sweet deal — you can come and go as you please, sleep with whoever you want, and never have to do someone else's dishes.
One thing that brush-offs have taught me is that I don't need to waste my time, energy, and tears over someone who isn't interested. If a dude can't appreciate me, enjoy my company, find me beautiful, and want to spend his limited time learning about my silly little quirks, then the feeling is mutual. My wonderful friends fill in the void for all of the above, and I've got a big pillow at home to cuddle with. Sometimes it takes a last-minute date cancellation to make everything so clear.