How to end a relationship before it begins?

I met this really nice and cute guy. We exchanged numbers and after a few weeks of talking he asked me to dinner. I was taking summer classes and very busy and he was half an hour away working so we never saw each other. I cancelled at the last minute because I didn't feel anything-when we talked all he did was ask questions-there was no conversation whatsoever. And he texted all the time. I ended up ghosting him but what would have been a better way to tell him I wasn't interested when he never officially said he was or called dinner a date? Basically, I felt he would have tried to save face if I had said I wasn't interested by saying "oh I just wanted to be friends anyway" so that's why I ghosted.
How to end a relationship before it begins?
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