If you’re single (or have been single at some point, which you definitely have), you may have been set up a few times. You could have even been the one doing the setting up (my friend, Sarah, met her boyfriend at my birthday party, so like, you’re welcome for being born!). Regardless of the situation, setups can be tricky. And, depending on where you’re at or how the date goes, they can be great — or not so much.

Sometimes, you have virtually no choice but to awkwardly shoot your friends down. They were nice to think of you, really, but right now, you’d rather not. In these scenarios, there are a few ways to proceed. 

If you’re not ready to date…

You really don’t feel like getting out of your sweatpants, much less interacting with the human race at this stage of your life. Been there! In this case, say something like, “I’m not really ready to date at the moment. Would it be OK if I reach out when I am ready so you could set us up if they’re still available?” suggests Jennifer Silvershein, LCSW, and founder of Manhattan Wellness Associates. This way, you’re not slamming the door shut should you feel inspired to ditch your jammies.

If you’re not attracted to the setup…

This one’s particularly awkward, but sometimes you find someone unappealing for whatever reason, and that’s OK. Transparency is key here, especially if you want your friend to keep setting you up. “It’s rare for someone to think enough of us to set us up — that’s not happening every day,” says Silvershein. Let your friend know that you’re super flattered to be top of mind, but unfortunately, you’re not attracted to the person for X, Y, or Z reasons. “This way, [your friend] has a bit more clarity surrounding what you are looking for,” Silvershein adds. And in the future, they’ll have a better idea of what type of person to match you with.

If they’re being pushy…

When a friend says, “Come on, I really think you should go!” and you feel bad saying no, well, don’t. Respond, “It feels like you’re kind of cornering me here. If I decide that someone’s not the right fit for me, I hope you respect that. I wouldn’t ask you to do anything you weren’t comfortable with. Please offer me the same in return,” suggests Silvershein. Damn, that’d shut me up.

Now, let’s say you’re down to be set up. Hurrah! You go on the date but, as luck would have it, things don’t really work out. Here’s what to do in those cases. 

If they did something offensive…

OK, this person is a monster — so much so that you’re confused as to why your friend would ever be acquainted with such a sewer rat. “If there’s something that really bothers you, chances are it’s going to bother the next person they go on a date with. It’s a pay-it-forward system,” says Silvershein. Again, come from an appreciative place, but make clear that you want your friend to know who they’re associating with. Start by saying you’re a little nervous to share the information but you feel like you need to. Most of the time, your friend will voice that you can tell them anything. Cue: you sending the hard message.

If you didn’t feel a spark…

This one is probably the easiest to tackle, because no one can fault you or deny that you didn’t have feelings. Plus, you gave it a shot. Whether it’s before or after you tell your date that you don’t see this going anywhere, let your friend know that you were getting more of a friend vibe on your date (or whatever reason that there wasn’t a spark). Oh, and please don’t just ghost the person — it reflects poorly on you and your friend.

You want to feel comfortable enough to be transparent with anyone who is doing something intimate enough to influence a part of your life, and that’s what someone who sets you up is doing, says Silvershein. “At the end of the day, it’s always important to let someone know how much the setup means to you and to be clear about what you’re actually looking for, because our friends are our best advocates. No one’s advertising for us like a friend is.”