What is a polite way of declining someone when they ask for your phone number? It takes a lot of guts to walk up to a stranger and put yourself out there – but what does one say, especially when their pretext for approaching you isn’t explicitly for a date…
“Maybe you email me next time you come to this coffee shop, and I’ll help you with Chinese and Chinese culture?”
The unfortunate thing is not just that I don’t plan on emailing him, but what happens when I show up at this coffee shop again (and dang it, it was just what I’d been looking for – a decent place to do a little studying) and he happens to be there – somewhat along the lines of,
“You didn’t email. But how lucky we meet again!”
Am I to relinquish my newfound study spot as well?
Of course, the obvious course is to just politely let him know I’m not available. “Thank you for your offer to help me with my Chinese characters (they are so homely looking, I know), but I have a boyfriend”. One is given the impression of an abrupt and unfair change in the conversation, explicitly for the sake of hurting his feelings.
It is simply providential that as I write this, I receive an email from him (yes, I gave him my real email – I wouldn’t give my phone number, even if I had one. At least this way I can keep my coffee shop, and prevent further awkward moments).
“Today is too lucky for me to meet you. You are so beautiful that I am
attracted by you deeply. But, you know, it is hard for Chinese people
to say hello to one stranger. Today I make it. @-@.”
At least now I can legitimately tell him (as he puts it clearly as being in pursuit of more than just a little language tutoring) that I appreciate his kindness, (and salute his bravery), but I am indefinitely otherwise engaged.
Back to practicing my characters.