How To Reject Someone Nicely: 22 Straightforward Tips

It feels horrible to be rejected, but doing the rejecting isn’t fun either!

When you let someone know that you’re not interested in them, it’s going to hurt them no matter how nicely you phrase it.

Yet, putting the effort into rejecting someone as nicely as possible is still worth it.

It makes it a little easier for the person to handle the rejection. It also shows that you’re polite and respectful.

When you don’t want to break someone’s heart, let them down gently, especially if you want to stay friends with them.

Make things easier for both of you by following the tips from this article.

Whether you are rejecting someone you just met, someone you’ve been dating, or a friend, you’ll find the appropriate advice below. And we’ll talk about rejecting someone through text at the end of the article.

9 Ways To Reject Someone You Just Met

Say you get approached by someone at a bar or even on the street. Perhaps you chat for a short while. They may then ask you to dance, for your number, or to go somewhere with them.

If you’re not interested in that person, you’ll be forced to reject them on the spot.

But, of course, that’s not to say you can’t be polite about it.

Here’s how you can do it nicely:

1. Don’t make up excuses.

When you want to reject someone you don’t know that well (or at all), you might be tempted to come up with an excuse not to date them.

You are too busy, you are already in a relationship, or you are moving to another country next week…

Excuses like these aren’t a great way to avoid dating someone, even if you’re not going to see them again.

Be honest instead. Just make sure that you’re also kind and straightforward.

You could say something like:

“You seem like a great person, but I’m not romantically interested in you.”

Or:

“It was a pleasure talking to you, but it might be best to leave it at that.”

There’s always a way to phrase what you mean so that it doesn’t hurt the other person’s feelings more than it has to.

2. Stick to the point.

This new person in your life doesn’t need a long explanation, and you don’t have enough time to come up with it anyway. You don’t want to date them or see them and that’s all you really need to say – you just need to find nicer words.

Try to be honest, concise, and clear. Focus on the things that make you the wrong person for them, not the other way around.

For instance, maybe they are passionate about sports while you prefer art. Things like these might seem minor, but they could be a great way of rejecting someone nicely.

You could say:

“You are very passionate about sports and I admire that, but I think that we’re just too different because my passion is art.”

It’s never a bad idea to focus on things that make you different. Whatever you do, make sure to stick to the point – which is that you’re not right for each other.

3. Don’t joke about it.

Don’t ever turn rejecting someone into a joke, and be cautious with sarcasm. They could easily feel insulted if they don’t get that you’re joking or being sarcastic.

Maybe, under other circumstances, they would get it, but you have to keep in mind that they are being rejected. Their feelings are already hurt, and they will simply assume that you’re just a jerk.

Don’t be a jerk. Reject them nicely without acting silly, being sarcastic, or joking around.

Humor can often help keep things light. However, when you’re rejecting someone, they’re not going to react to it as they normally would. They are going to feel like you’re insulting them or making fun of them.

At the very least, they’re going to think that you’re not taking them and the situation seriously. Telling someone that you’re not interested in them is no time to joke around because it’s no laughing matter.

4. Decide whether to do it in person or through text.

Usually, it’s better to reject someone in person, especially if you want to stay friends with them. Even if you don’t, sometimes you’ll be forced to do it in person.

Saying it out loud to them shows maturity and respect, but in some situations, you can use texts instead.

Not every rejection requires meeting in person and talking for hours. If you barely know the person and they asked you out through text, you are going to reject them through text.

Send them something short. You could text:

“I’m flattered that you’re interested in me, but I don’t think we would be a great match. I’m sure that you’ll find someone who is a better match for you than I am.”

Starting and ending the rejection with something positive is often a good idea, but more on that later.

If you are going to say it in person, find a private and quiet place to do it. This is important so that you would be able to hear each other properly. You don’t want to have to repeat yourself.

That’s why texts are sometimes more efficient and you’ll find more tips on how to send them later on in the article.

5. Don’t apologize.

A lot of people start these devastating sentences with “I’m sorry, but…” when there’s nothing to be sorry about.

You’re not sorry that you’re not interested in the person, you’re just sorry that you have to say it to them.

Apologizing might seem like something that can ease the blow, but it often sounds dishonest. So, it’s better to avoid it. After all, you did nothing wrong so there’s nothing to apologize for.

Instead of saying “I’m sorry but I’m not interested,” say something like “I’m flattered but I’m not interested.”

Saying something positive is always better than apologizing. It also sounds better to the person being rejected.

It’s best not to sound like you’re saying any old thing just to get it over with. Apologizing can seem that way.

Sure, you probably are sorry that you’re hurting the person, but you’re already doing all you can by phrasing it nicely.

6. Don’t turn it into a long conversation.

In situations like these, less is more.

When you’re rejecting someone, you could start digging yourself into a hole with every extra sentence that you say. There could be a lot of uncomfortable silence and hurt feelings. You might even agree to go out with them if the conversation lasts longer than it must.

When you want to reject someone, do it fast and as painlessly as possible. Don’t turn it into a long conversation because you don’t need to explain yourself.

Make it quick and keep it simple. Avoid talking about it further, even if they try to persuade you to change your mind.

7. Don’t talk about physical traits.

No one wants to know that you’re not attracted to them or, even worse, that you don’t think that they look attractive. So don’t talk about physical traits.

Focus on how the two of you are different instead of what you don’t like about them, especially if it’s the way they look.

Don’t say:

“I’m sorry, I’m just not attracted to you.”

Instead, say something like:

“You seem like a wonderful person, but I’m not romantically interested in you.”

Saying that you’re not romantically interested in someone is much better than saying that you’re not attracted to them.

Don’t imply that there’s some sort of a physical trait that’s causing you to reject them. After all, you are probably not rejecting them simply because of the way they look.

8. Don’t explain yourself.

While you shouldn’t give someone a fake number and say the job’s done, you don’t need to get into a lot of details either.

Maybe you owe them the truth. However, it doesn’t have to be a list of 30 reasons why you don’t like them or a list of 10 qualities that make them a bad match for you.

Use “I” statements instead and talk more about how you’re feeling than what they are like.

For instance, you could say:

I think you’re great, I just don’t feel a connection with you in a romantic sense.”

You could also simply say:

“I’m flattered, but I’m currently not looking for a serious relationship.”

You should be honest, but it doesn’t mean that you must confess everything, especially if it’s going to hurt them. Phrase what you want to say so that it’s more about you than about them.

9. Accept that they’ll probably feel hurt.

In the end, no matter how nicely you phrase things, you are probably going to hurt their feelings. So, you need to accept this.

The most that you can do is reject them as nicely as possible in hope that it will hurt less. But, let’s face it, no one likes being rejected, especially if they have a crush on the person rejecting them.

This person likes you, so you should definitely be nice to them. However, you shouldn’t hook up with someone just because you feel bad about hurting them.

Don’t let them convince you to give them a chance if you don’t like them. It’s better to accept hurting them than settle just because you were trying to be nice.

Be nice, but think about yourself and know that you don’t have the power to make rejection entirely painless. No one has.

8 Ways To Reject Someone You’ve Been Dating Or A Friend

It’s surely more complicated when you’re rejecting someone that you want to see again.

Rejecting a stranger can end with that, and you’d never have to talk to them again. When it’s someone you’ve been on a few dates with or a friend who wants more, it’s not that simple.

You want things to end on good terms, and by making sure that you’re honest but kind, you can do it.

Here’s how:

1. Plan what you’re going to say.

If you’ve been dating this person for a while or they’re your friend, take some time to prepare.

Be 100% sure that you aren’t interested in them and be ready for the consequences of your rejection. Your friendship might change or even end.

Plan what you’re going to say to them so that you can reject them as nicely as possible and minimize the damage to your friendship.

Think about the words that you’re going to use because your choice of words matters a lot. Your message needs to be clear to them, but you also need to deliver it compassionately.

Be prepared for different reactions because you can’t predict everything. You’ll have to think of some words on the spot, but make sure that you have an idea about what you’re going to say.

2. Do it as soon as possible.

You might feel tempted to put off this unpleasant conversation, but don’t do it.

Maybe you enjoy their attention, or you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Either way, you should do it as soon as possible. The longer you put it off, the more it will hurt them.

The right time to tell someone that you’re not interested in them is as soon as you’re sure that you’re not. If you instead drag things out, the person might assume that everything is going great. In an ideal world, your rejection shouldn’t come as a surprise them, so don’t postpone the unpleasant conversation.

Make sure not to do it on an important day for them. If it’s their birthday or they have a big job interview the morning after, it might be best to wait a bit. However, don’t use these things as an excuse. There’ll always be something else going on in their lives, and you can’t wait forever to tell them the truth.

3. Start with something positive.

When you start the conversation, talk about something pleasant for a short while.

Then transition to the rejection by saying something positive. For instance, you could say:

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, and I’m glad we tried dating, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I think we should stay friends.”

You could also include a compliment like:

“I had a wonderful time with you, but…”

Or:

“I think that you’re amazing, but…”

If you want to stay friends with them, let them know that. Keep in mind that “let’s stay friends” is often just something people stay. So, if you really mean it, make sure to point it out.

For instance, you could say:

“I’m flattered that you like me more than a friend, but I really value our friendship.”

Add:

“I would like to keep you as a friend if that’s still an option.”

You’re again starting with something positive by saying that you’re flattered. This is always good when you’re trying to reject someone nicely.

4. Be honest but keep it short and simple.

Give them the real reasons for rejecting them, but avoid putting the blame on them.

Again, you should stick to “I” statements and talk more about your own feelings than about them.

Talk about the reasons why you don’t think it would work out between the two of you. Focus on the ways you’re too different to be a good match instead of pointing out their shortcomings. Having an “It’s not you, it’s me” approach will hurt less.

Don’t beat around the bush. Go straight to rejecting them after starting with something positive. Try to keep it simple and don’t prolong the conversation.

You could mention a specific thing you’re looking for in a partner (which this person does not have), but don’t rub it in.

For instance, you could say:

“I really like you as a friend, but I’m looking for a partner who shares my passion for art.”

5. Stick to your decision.

Don’t sugarcoat it to the point that you give this person false hope. Stick to your decision and make it clear to them.

Don’t say “Yeah, we can hang out next week” if you don’t intend to see them again. Leaving things open-ended will just mean that you’re leading them on.

Be kind but firm and stick to your decision. Don’t let them convince you into giving them a chance or going on more dates with them. If you are sure that you’re not interested in them, end things.

When you reject someone, you might be tempted to take it back at some point in the conversation. Don’t do this. Don’t give anyone false hope if you know what you want and don’t want.

6. Try to end the conversation with something positive.

Being kind also means encouraging the person you rejected at the end of the conversation.

Try to end it with something positive, like saying that they are a great person. Reassure them that they’ll find someone who is a much better match for them than you are.

Let them know that you’re grateful for getting the chance to date them and get to know them. Offer your best wishes and say something kind. It won’t hurt to say that you’re flattered because they’re interested in you.

7. Let them know that you’d like to stay friends if you were already friends.

If you are rejecting a friend who wants to be more than friends, there are three possible reactions:

They will say that they’re fine with it and stay your friend, or they’ll be upset and end the friendship. Or, and this often happens, they’ll say that they’re okay with being friends and keep pursuing you as a romantic interest.

Whatever their first reaction may be, make sure to give them some time and space to deal with their hurt feelings. However, don’t ignore them for too long because they might assume that you don’t want to be friends anymore.

Think about how long was the longest that you and your friend stayed out of touch. Take that long to reach out to them again after rejecting them. This will give them enough time to think about things and decide on their final reaction to the rejection.

8. Accept that you might lose them even if they were your friend before.

When you reject a friend, you must accept that they might not be a part of your life anymore.

Don’t feel guilty about this though. Your friendship changed the moment they started having romantic feelings for you, not the moment you rejected them.

If they’re into you that much, they’ll need to be away from you to move on. So, they won’t be able to be just a friend to you, at least for some time.

If they try, you might realize that they’re still trying to pursue a relationship with you. And when their feelings for you changed, you stopped being friends.

Whether you’ll be friends again or not depends on their feelings, not anything that you could say or do. So, accept that it might be over and don’t force them to stay friends with you.

5 Tips For Rejecting Someone Via Text

While most of the time it’s better to reject someone in person, sometimes it’s even better to do it over text.

After all, if a person asks you out over text, it would be weird to agree to meet them just to reject them.

A text might be easier to handle for the other person as well.

If you’ve been friends or have been dating for a while, it might be best to do it in person.

However, if this is someone you could reject through text, here’s how to do it as painlessly as possible:

1. Compliment them but don’t give them false hope.

If you boost their confidence, they are less likely to take your rejection personally. It will be easier for them to move on, and things will be less awkward between you.

Mention that you had a great time with them, that they’re great, or that you’re flattered. Starting the message with something like this will ease the blow.

However, don’t compliment them so much that they think they might still have a chance with you. Make it clear that you’re not right for each other, and don’t give them false hope.

2. Point out your differences.

Being too different is a valid excuse to reject someone. So, if you are different, focus on those differences in your message. They’ll be more likely to understand your reasons, and it will be easier for them to move on.

If they’re just not your type, that should be perfectly understandable even to them. Mention that you don’t have enough in common or that they’re great but not your type.

You could also simply say that you’re too different to be a good match.

3. Let them know that you’d like to be friends.

Maybe this person is not your perfect match but they could be a friend to you. If you want to try being friends with them, mention that when you reject them.

You could text something like:

“Can we just hang out as friends instead?”

Let them know that you’re not romantically interested in them but that you’d like to get to know them better as a friend. Mention that you don’t feel a romantic connection but you like them as a person.

It might not be what they want to hear, but they’ll appreciate that you’re not stringing them along.

4. Use “I” statements.

Again, emphasize your perspective instead of pointing out their flaws or blaming them. Let them know that it’s not anyone’s fault.

You could text something like:

I think you’re amazing, but I see you as a friend.”

You could instead text simply:

“You’re cool, but I’m looking for something different right now.”

Focus on your wants and needs – make it about you and not about them. This will help them handle the rejection with less hurt feelings as a consequence.

5. Don’t ghost them.

You might be tempted to just ghost someone that you want to reject, but don’t do this. Don’t just disappear into thin air and leave them guessing. It can hurt even more than a rejection.

So, let them in on what’s going on inside your head. Let them down gently. You can ignore them if they are persistent in pursuing you after the rejection. However, make sure you officially rejected them first.

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In the end, there’s no painless way to break someone’s heart. Although, if you phrase your rejection nicely and politely, it will be easier for the person to move on and handle it.

Also, wanting to minimize someone’s hurt is simply a part of being a nice person. When you reject someone, make sure to have a clean conscious afterward, even if they don’t react the way you expected.

Still not sure of the best way to reject this person? Perhaps you care about them and want to still be friends with them but fear things might get really awkward between you. If that’s the case, you might benefit from talking things through with a relationship expert first. They can guide you toward the best approach so that you get the best outcome. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.