Is your friend or coworker always asking for a date? Here are some ways to turn them down, along with scenarios for what might happen afterwards.
When someone you’re crushing on chases you around in the hopes of winning your affections, it’s magic. When someone you’re just not into does the same? It’s torture! You may hope their relentless pursuing will simply stop on its own, but deep down you know you should be constructing a rejection plan.
Rejection sucks, whether you’ve known the person for 2 years or 2 weeks, making it all the more important to approach your rejection with care.
Unfortunately, even if your admirer takes your rejection well, they’re still going to leave your conversation with some hurt feelings. Even worse? So will you. Rejecting someone doesn’t exactly feel good. It’s awkward, it potentially ruins an otherwise great friendship, and it makes your future interactions with that person uncomfortable. That being said: rejection doesn’t make you a bad, or mean person. It makes you an honest one.
What not to do when you’re rejecting someone
Even veterans of the rejection game still commit some of these gaffes. Be considerate, and keep these tips in mind.
#1 DON’T give false hope. It’s downright easy to put off rejecting someone by pretending to be confused about what you want, but it’s important never to give your admirer false hope, either. Acting like you might have a future with this person is not only mean, but will probably result in endless nudges from that person asking if you’ve made your mind up yet. It also prevents your admirer from moving on to someone else who may return their affections.
#2 DON’T reject someone through a friend. Just because you share a mutual friend, doesn’t mean you can use that person as a go-between to reject your secret admirer. It’s rude and downright juvenile to get your friends involved in your dirty work. Put on your big-girl pants and have the courtesy to do it yourself.
#3 DON’T reject someone in public. Giving your message of rejection via social media may seem convenient, but it’s also extremely rude. Just because you couldreject someone via Facebook, still in your PJs while sipping your morning coffee, doesn’t mean you should do it. Not to mention, rejecting someone in front of others is humiliating and degrading. Show this person enough respect to say your “No thank you” in private.
How to reject someone you’re not into
So how do you reject somebody with class, charm, and tact? Here are some methods, from cowardly to downright honest, to reject that persistent somebody.
#1 For the coward: Rejection via text. Technology is the way of the future, right? If that’s true, then surely your secret admirer won’t mind being rejected via text message. A simple “No, thanks,” or “Sorry, I just don’t see you that way” is much easier typed than said. A definite must if you’re going the coward’s route!
Benefits: No one is around to witness the awkwardness. After all, they’re not going to forward your rejection text to all of their buddies! You also won’t have to be there to see the hurt look on their face.
What to expect afterwards: Not only are you not showing this person the respect of talking to them face-to-face, you might just be making things worse. Why? The tone of a text message is left entirely up to interpretation of its reader. What you might think you’re writing as caring and compassionate, the recipient might take as rude and demeaning.
#2 For the procrastinator: avoid them. When your admirer asks you out, simply tell them you aren’t sure how you feel about them yet, and you need more time to think. Or tell them you have a busy week ahead, and you’ll let them know when your schedule clears up. Avoid follow-ups.
Benefits: Odds are, you can come up with a million excuses and keep this going for quite a while, before they finally get the hint.
What to expect afterwards: If false hope was given and then later found out to be a ruse, be ready for them to announce to their friends what a tease you are. Keep this in mind: A clear rejection is always better than a fake promise.
#3 For the mean girl: blatant lying. Ah, the blatant lie. This is one of the easiest ways out of a sticky rejection. For some reason, the sting of rejection is often curbed, when there seems to be an elaborate excuse behind it.
Some ideas: you currently like someone else, you’re not looking to date yet, you just got out of a relationship, you’re traveling a lot for work, or you’re conveniently moving to China to become a celibate monk… and the list goes on.
Benefits: It’s the easiest way out, without hurting their feelings too badly.
What to expect afterwards: Lying usually works just fine while you’re in the moment, but never underestimate the determination behind someone with a crush. Those under the spell of your brilliance are relentless when sniffing out the truth.
If you say you like someone, they’ll ask your friends if it’s true. If you say you’re working too much, they’ll pop into your workplace with a surprise lunch! The bottom line is, they’ll probably find out you’re a big fat liar, and you’ll be stuck trying to explain away your lies.
#4 For the professional: business cards. Have some professional business cards printed. These run super cheap, if done online. Have your card simply read: “No, thank you.” The next time someone asks you out and you’re not interested, simply tell them you’ll give them your card.
Benefits: Straight and to the point. Makes you seem prepared for anything.
What to expect afterwards: The reaction to this method is either going to be a good-humored laugh, or the recipient might think you’re the spawn of Satan. Either way, this rejection is reserved for strangers, jerks at night clubs, and all around people that you don’t know – so who cares what they think of you?
#5 For the brave: honesty. It’s hard to be honest, unfortunately. However, it’s highly suggested that the next time someone asks you out, you nip it in the bud immediately and honestly. If you don’t want to go out with them, tell them that. You don’t have to be mean about it, but you do have to be direct.
Benefits: You didn’t lie to your admirer, or toy with his or her feelings. You were open and honest.
What to expect afterwards: Once rejected, the person who used to be so smitten by you might suddenly disappear from your life. This can happen for a number of reasons: embarrassment, sadness, not being able to stay friends, an attempt to make you see what you’re missing, etc. If this happens to you, it shows that the person you rejected has no intention of keeping you around unless they can date you.
On the other hand, the one you rejected may react favorably by admiring your honesty and choosing to remain on good terms.
It takes courage to say no
It takes real courage to come out and say “no,” when someone asks you out. Temptation is abound to avoid that person, or at least avoid hurting their feelings. The hardest form of rejection? The truth. It’s hard to be honest, and it’s hard to let people down. So the next time you bite the bullet and use the honesty card, give yourself a pat on the back.
When someone asks you out, it might catch you off-guard, or you might even resent the awkward position you’ve been put in. Before you’re ready to let loose on them, just remember that while it takes courage to say no, it also takes a lot of courage to put your feelings out there, so try not to be too soul-crushing with your rejection.