Declining someone’s romantic interest is never easy. In fact some research shows that it may even be harder than getting declined, since it can cause a lot of guilt.
Many of us – guys and girls – try to be nice and end up going on unwanted dates, or awkwardly making a series of excuses, hoping the person will just give up.
But you know what’s quicker, simpler and in fact, much kinder? Just saying no – honestly and politely – right in the beginning.
Don’t String Them Along — Be Honest Upfront
You know what sucks more than getting shot down? Being strung along. Imagining the hurt in someone’s face when you tell them “no” might make you cringe.
But if you want to be nice to them, do them the favor of being honest about how you feel.
It would be cruel to let them believe that you’re interested, only to pull the rug out from under them later.
Give Friendly Compliments as You Politely Decline
Keep it light. Keep it friendly. They’re not a bad person, and neither are you! Not feeling romance or chemistry with someone is totally normal. Every day you interact with friends, neighbors and café baristas – people you may like just fine, but probably don’t have feelings for.
If the person asking you out is a stranger, let them know you’re flattered, but not looking for anything at the moment – nothing personal. If it’s someone you’ve known for a while it probably feels a little more awkward, but it doesn’t have to be.
Tell them what you do like about them, but that you’re not interested in a romance with them.
This may sound easier said than done – especially when you’re put on the spot. Just remember, honesty up front will save you a ton of awkwardness and difficulty later. Be kind, ask if they’re okay and let them know it’s just your personal feeling, certainly not anyone else’s.
Don’t Make Excuses
The honesty approach won’t always go over like a bucket of sunshine. Sometimes people are going to get sad (or angry). They might start asking a bunch of questions:
“What don’t you like about me?” “Why won’t you at least give it a try?”
Remember, you don’t need to justify your feelings or make excuses.
Tell them you’re sorry, but that they really shouldn’t feel bad. Of course, only they can decide how they feel, and if that’s sad or angry, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Don’t Feel Guilty
The moral of this story is: don’t let guilt drag you into an uncomfortable situation.
It doesn’t make you cold or mean.
If you’re reading this you’re probably an adult, being asked out by adults – and babying them isn’t going to help them learn about romance in the real world. Some people need to learn to take no for an answer.
There are going to be lots of times people are going to get pushy with you. If they refuse to drop it after you’ve been polite about not being interested, then they’re being disrespectful. And there is no reason to feel guilty about hurting their feelings at that point.
Be cold if it’ll get them to leave you alone. And if that doesn’t work either don’t hesitate to get some help (guy friend, club staff, police, etc.).
Don’t Get Discouraged
Feel like you’re never into the people that are into you? Don’t give up. You’re going to meet a lot of people in your travels, and some are going to be more compatible than others.
The trick is to keep trying!
If you think you might be interested, try a date – it’s not a commitment to anything serious. Not every date is going to blossom into a wonderful romance, some are going to be awkward – but don’t let that stop you from going on them!
Maybe Take a Chance and Try a First Date
At the very least you’re getting out of the house and trying new things. Use dates as opportunities to try new restaurants or activities in your area. That way even if the date is a bust, maybe you’ll find a new fun place to hang out.
If at the end of the night you don’t think you’re interested in a second date, thank them for coming out with you and wish them luck on their future dates. Of course, it can be hard to discourage someone to their face like that.
Don’t feel comfortable answering on the spot when asked about future dates? Ask for some time to think about it. You’re not obligated to anything, it’s just a date. Give it a day or so, and if you’re not excited about seeing them again, you can call (or text or email) to say thanks again but that you don’t feel a strong connection.
You’re not doing anything wrong by being (kindly and respectfully) honest, and it will save them a lot of confusion and breath-holding. They deserve to be with a person that desires them, and you deserve to be with a person you desire!
Don’t let discouragement or low self-esteem keep you from meeting someone that’s actually right for you, not just “close enough.”
And if you’re still struggling to figure out the romance world, or finding Mr. or Ms. Right, give us a call.
We want to see you live your perfect love life.