For me, being placed in a situation where I have to reject someone is way worse than being rejected. I have good self-esteem, and I’m logical. So, on those infrequent occasions when I’m rejected (yes, it happens), I can bounce back. Not every guy that I’m attracted to is going to be attracted to me. I get it. But when a man shows a certain level of affection or admiration for me that I don’t have for him, well, I can’t help but feel bad for him. And, of course, there are also those few moments when rejection can result in aggressive and even sinister behavior on his part, and I want to avoid that, too. There is so much to consider when you are in a position to turn a man down. What is a woman to do? It’s not simple, that’s for sure, but here’s my advice on how to tell a man you’re not interested in him.
Understand That It’s Not Your Fault
First, thing first, it’s not your fault. The heart wants what the heart wants. If you don’t feel for him the way he feels for you, that’s not your fault. And frankly, it’s not his either. It’s just the way things work out sometimes. And let’s face it, we women can do all we can to NOT lead him on, but as it turns out, just simple things like being kind, laughing when he makes a joke, or even just a benign “hello” can make a man think you’re interested. It’s an odd situation that I have yet to figure out how to manage. But the simple fact is that if you cannot reciprocate a man’s interest in you, it’s not your fault. That is the first thing I implore you to accept.
Know That You Are Not in Control of the Situation
It’s scary, but it’s true. You cannot completely control the awkward situation of rejecting another human being simply because you cannot control the other person’s reaction to your rejection. So, that’s the next thing you need to accept and understand. There is no one perfect way to handle the situation because you can’t predict how he will react.
Don’t Lie to Him or Yourself
Rejecting a man upon his first initial show of interest is awkward, sure. But rejecting him after a few dates that you never even wanted to go on, to begin with, has got to be worse. Now, that is leading him on. Don’t force yourself to go out on a miserable date with a guy you don’t even like because you’re too afraid to say no. And, don’t let him believe you like him. If you truly care about not hurting his feelings, be honest with him at the very beginning.
You Will Hurt His Feelings (or Ego) No Matter What
You can be sweet, kind, and compassionate about letting him down, but the truth is that his feelings and/or ego will be hurt. He’s human. Rejection sucks. Accept that you will hurt him, but then remind yourself of my first piece of advice: it’s not your fault.
Kindness May Not Be Met with Maturity
You have to read about this horrible story where a young woman kindly rejected an old classmate only to be met with aggression and an unsolicited dick pic. I am a strong believer in being kind and respectful when rejecting a man, but don’t expect him to treat you with the same amount of class. Be as nice and civil as possible, while also being honest, but don’t expect him to return your message with maturity and reason. Just be prepared. It could get ugly. Again… that’s NOT your fault.
It’s Okay to Block and/or Ghost Him
If, for any reason, a man who shows an interest in you has displayed some kind of action that caused you to feel uneasy or raised even the tiniest red flag, it’s okay to not respond to his messages. Whether he’s messaging you on social media or by texting you directly, just block him. Remember, his interest in you is not your fault. His feelings are not your responsibility. You don’t owe him an answer. Just block him.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help Getting Rid of Him
So, what do you do if the man’s interest is shown in public? Nowadays, bar, athletic club, and general security staff are sympathetic to the plight of the single woman trying to ward off unwanted attention. I frequently go out alone. When a man hits on me, it’s commonplace for staff to check on me and see if I’m okay. If someone you have no interest in tries to invade your solo date night and hold your attention hostage, politely let him know you’re not interested. If he just won’t let up, or worse, grabs your arm as you attempt to walk away, don’t hesitate to solicit the assistance of others. Don’t fear embarrassment or causing a scene. Your safety is more important than that. Ask your bartender, server, or nearest security professional for help.
Use Your Words
I’ve had this exact conversation with other single women. And, apparently, most need me to tell them exactly what to say when rejecting a man. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer that expressing rejection comes easily to me. Plus, I’m over 40, with the personality of an 85-year-old, making me pretty unedited. I have examples for you, but keep in mind that I am blunt AF. Note that I NEVER say “I’m sorry,” because I know his interest in me is not my fault, so I’m not sorry. I also never say, “You’re not my type.” For me, personally, and I can’t really explain why, I just think that’s such a demeaning thing to say. Saying that is a lot like saying, “You’re ugly.”
Here are some of the things I’ve said in past rejections (some as recent as last weekend, by the way). They work for both messages and in-person conversations.
- I like being friends with you, but I just don’t feel a romantic connection.
- I care about you, but I don’t have romantic feelings for you.
- I’m looking for something substantial, and I get the feeling you’re just looking for casual sex. We’re not on the same page.
- Thanks for the compliment, but while we’re Facebook friends, we’ve never met in person, which still makes you a stranger, and I don’t make a habit of meeting strangers for coffee or drinks.
- I don’t get involved with men in relationships. That’s just not my thing.
- I’m not interested in you that way.
- I don’t want to give you my number. I just don’t want to.
- Don’t ever message me again.
- Get away from me.
- Fuck off.
I get that those last three rejections are harsh, but sometimes, you just have to be harsh, especially if you get a rapey vibe from the guy. I’m not afraid of being rude or him thinking I’m a bitch. You shouldn’t be either. Again, his feelings are not your responsibility. If he’s being hostile and intimidating, that makes him garbage. Who cares if he thinks you’re mean or rude? Just be glad that you got rid of him.
While you should not feel bad for wanting to avoid confrontation and using a lie like, “I have a boyfriend” when you don’t, just to squash the situation, this blog post was written to empower you to face it head-on. I’m going to say this again and again until you finally get it: it’s not your fault!
You have the right to reject. So do so, honestly, respectfully, and kindly. Don’t let unwanted attention dull your sparkle, either. You do you. You be you. You go ahead and be happy, vibrant, and successful. And if along the way you have men offer their attention, affection, and company when you don’t want it, just know that it’s par for the course. It’s not your fault. You don’t owe anyone anything. Set your boundaries, tell him you’re not interested and keep on being you.