How to Achieve a Fade-Out Without Being a Total Asshole


big Our Millennial generation of Tinder daters, Facebook stalkers, Emoji users, and Snapchatters is notoriously reticent when it’s time to express emotions in real life. We’d rather have an emotionally-charged conversation over text then call up a person to hash it out. That’s why we’ve become masters of the dreaded "fade-out" — that unfortunate, sneakily common phenomenon when a person decides they’re done with a fling or relationship, yet have zero intention of communicating that with the other person.

You’ve been seeing someone for a short time and one day, completely on your own time, in your own mind, you’ve ended things. You believe that your hopes of him or her getting the hint is surely enough. The other person remains oblivious until slowly, but surely, they realize how cold things have become between you. Case closed. Easy.

What you’ve just pulled may be socially acceptable to some twenty-something, but let’s be real, the fade-out is a dick move. It really is hard not to be pegged an asshole — you are, in fact, deciding to remove yourself from an equation non-mutually. It’s extremely impolite and goes against every dating rule laid down generations before us. Fortunately, there are ways to achieve that simple fade-out with minimal emotional damage to the insignificant other, and we're here to help you do it. After all, karma's a bitch.

1. Stop leading him or her on. This is a mistake that many faders make when beginning to pull a fade-out. If you feel iffy about whether or not you want to continue seeing the person, but you’ve already begun Fade-Out Phase One: Indecisive Communication, you need to stop. When you ignore his or her texts one day, responding in cold, short sentences (with periods), and the next day suddenly begin immediately responding with long and emotion filled text paragraphs, you’re totally leading the person on. Not cool. Just don’t. Cut communication off early on.

2. Remove all Emojis. If you’re still texting with a person after you’ve disconnected emotionally, be careful about what your texts are actually saying. Everyone analyzes their text messages when they’re dating someone and reads between the lines. If your texts are even remotely flirtatious, the recipient will read it as an act of romance. Once you’ve broken things off with this person in your mind, immediately let it reflect through your texts. End Emoji usage and utilize your least sexy text persona. Otherwise you will, once again, lead the person on, asshole.

3. Instead of letting follow-up texts linger, craft a clever and telling response. If your move is to let their texts saying “what a great night” or “I’d love to see you again” linger in your inbox for a few days before responding with a dreaded “K.,” please check yourself. If you want to fade out of something and you don’t want to be an asshole, at least take the extra five minutes (at the most) out of your day to type out a genuine response. Be considerate and tell the person that you also enjoyed your time, but actually follow with a sentence that expresses an honest hint of your true feelings. Try something like, “I had a really great time, too. I’m not sure if it’d make sense to move forward, but I’m glad we tried.” If their next text shows a lack of understanding, then it’s slightly more acceptable to let that one linger. At least later, when they are bitching about it to their friends, they will have others around to tell them why they should’ve caught the hint.

4. Don’t attempt a booty call. This one is tricky. Usually we pull a fade-out on someone who started as a drunken hookup or even a sober booty call, and that could cause difficulties once you’ve decided you’re pretty horny and want to get off. The urge to hit up that person may become so strong, it’s hard to think rationally about the consequences. If you’re about to attempt a booty call, just understand that you will be fading out the asshole way. If you don’t want to be a complete douchebag, just don’t call him or her. Remove the contact, unfollow the person’s social media accounts, have a friend keep an eye on you if you’re in a state of poor decision-making (read: you’re wasted). Do anything you can to avoid this one because it will push you backwards in your fade-out and make it so much more complicated.

5. Let your insignificant other know — in genuine terms — that it’s you, not him or her. The least asshole thing you could do when pulling a fade-out is make the other person feel good (or at least not shitty) about how things ended. Never make the person feel like it’s something about him or her as a human, especially when it comes to techniques in bed. That’s a dangerous route; don’t go down that road. Letting the person think that he or she is the problem is pure douchery, my friend, even if it’s true. If you want to end on a lighter note, put your ego away and stroke theirs a little. Let them know that they are wonderful and that you are the asshole. Because, let’s face it, the best way to not be an asshole is to admit that you’re being one.