“A clear rejection is always better than a fake promise.”
So you’ve been asked out, and you’re not interested. Maybe it’s the person, maybe it’s the timing, maybe it’s something else entirely. What’s a girl to do?
You’ve been taught to be nice, so you try being nice and giving the message that you’re not interested, and it doesn’t work.
Maybe you’ve even agreed to a date because you just didn’t know how to say “no”. You don’t want people to think you’re bitchy or rude, and you don’t want other guys to think you don’t want to date them, so it’s easier to be non-comital than to give a clear solid no.
But agreeing to something you don’t want to do isn’t good for you, and it isn’t good for the other person.
Your date will have expectations that you are as interested as he is, and you’re not giving a clear message, so it can easily be misinterpreted and lead you further into a place you never wanted to go. And at a certain point, you feel trapped because it’s too late.
It’s always best to start at the beginning.
When someone is showing interest in you, and you’re not interested, be clear that you aren’t. The attention is nice, but it isn’t worth the misperceptions you’ll have to fix later.
If it continues to the point of being asked out on a date, be polite but firm.
Just let the person know you aren’t interested. You don’t have to be rude or unkind, but you do have to say what you mean.
You don’t owe any explanations, just say what you mean, and mean it.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in dating right now,” will do. Or, “Thank you for asking, but I’m not interested in dating you.”
If you want to stay friendly, make that clear, too, but don’t leave any room for them to think it might be possible later – unless it is. It’s actually kinder to be honest than to let someone believe they have a chance when they don’t.
Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.com
If someone is interested in you, but you’re not, what can you do to reject him nicely and respectfully? You have several options:
The first is to never allow yourself to be alone with him in social situations. In that way, he will not have the opportunity to ask you out.
However, if he should ask you out, you can say the following:
- “You’re a nice guy, but I don’t think we have that much in common.”
- “You seem like a great guy, but I just don’t see the chemistry between us.”
- “You’re really nice, but I don’t like you in that way.”
- “I’m sorry, I’m actually dating someone right now.”
My philosophy is this, however… you should always give a new person a chance before deciding you don’t like him.
My rule of thumb is to go out three times before you decide “that’s it.”
During the first few weeks of getting to know one another, there is awkwardness, insecurity, inhibition, and sometimes fear, if you are trying to make a good impression. That’s why it’s good to slowly find out about his interests, dislikes, pastimes,attraction, etc and if that doesn’t impress you, you can then say some of the statements above.
The important thing is to be frank, honest, direct, but kind.
Try not to be ambiguous and string him on. Try not to let your ego get in the way of letting him know how you honestly feel. In other words, if he sees an inking of hope, he’ll be persistent and keep asking you out.
Chances are that will be more annoying than actually saying “No” to him. Your best bet is to break it off as swiftly as possible, being sure your message was heard, but not in a nasty way.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Many people are very willing to talk about the ways in which they’ve been rejected in love.
Most everyone has known the sting of wanting more than they are wanted, and can most often engender support and sympathy from others. Not many feel supportive of the rejecter, the person who has the power to choose to not choose.
If you are the one who doesn’t want to enter into a new relationship with someone who wants you, or need to get out of an existing one, you aren’t as likely to foster that kind of support. Yet, you may be just as uncomfortable or sad, just in a different way.
In the hundreds of relationships I have been privileged to be part of in my work, I have personally witnessed many of those dilemmas in the people who have had to say “no” to a potential relationship or to leave one that no longer works for them, often at the expense of a partner who would do anything to preserve it.
It is hard enough to bear the guilt when a relationship hasn’t gotten off the ground, but agonizing for most when it was once reciprocal or, at least, existed for a period of time.
So why do these uneven situations happen and how do you graciously end them if they do?
New relationships don’t usually begin unless two people have some reciprocal attraction. It doesn’t always have to be strongly physical for connection to occur but some sexual attraction is usually in order. There are the media exceptions where love hits two friends after a time, but mostly those are unusual at best.
Most people sense early on whether they have any chance to connect with another person.
There are both subtle and obvious signs that the attraction is mutual and moving forward when it is not is much too painful for most people to pursue, and the relationship ends there.
Yet, there are some people who either fantasize that another feels more toward them than he or she does, or blindly continue hoping for some magical shift to occur if they just don’t give up.
But, even then, if effort is authentically put forward over a period of time, and there is no interest on the other’s side, most will retreat and seek acceptance where it is most likely.
If they continue pushing for a response that is not happening, they may be either reaching for people more marketable than they are, suffer from being unable to recognize the obvious signs of ultimate rejection, or are willing to forgo eventual satisfaction for the fun of the hunt, itself.
If those people have a history of being rejected or regularly seen as pushy by many, they may be suffering from low self-esteem or an inability to recognize social cues that would help them avoid the eventual pain of, once again, not being wanted.
Potential partners who don’t want to hurt someone might give these one-sided hopeful people the wrong messages early enough to stop their fantasies of potential connection.
Because they can hold on to almost any sign of possibility, they often build those responses into much more meaningful invitations and fuel their next moves with more intensity.
That makes the eventual rejection harder to pull off and can result in entering an obligatory relationship that is a disaster waiting to happen.
People with more clear boundaries and a stronger sense of self will be kinder up front by making it clear they are not interested.
In established relationships that have once started out at least somewhat even in desirability, many unexpected challenges or personal evolutions can result in one partner losing interest in the other over time, unfortunately way too often.
If the partner who is going to eventually want out doesn’t keep an authentic dialogue going, their rejection can come out of the blue to the other, adding humiliation to their heartbreak.
Unfortunately, this is way too often the case.
As one partner tries to give the signals that he or she is losing the desire to stay connected, the other works harder to keep the relationship going. If a more serious breach of trust occurs in the process, the eventual break-up can be anguishing for both.
It is crucial to remember that patronization is neither healthy nor loving.
At best, it can leave the other partner feeling more embarrassed once he or she realizes that the assumed security they’ve been basking in has been false. The eventual let-down leaves them bruised and self-doubting, experiences that the partner who needs to leave rarely wished to have caused.
If you are the person who doesn’t initially want to get involved, the most gracious way of rejecting anyone who wants to start a relationship that you do not want is fourfold:
- Firstly, thank them sincerely and authentically for the gift of desiring to know you better.
- Then tell them that you don’t have the same feelings and practice honesty in your relationships.
- Finally tell them, (only if it is true), if there is any other kind of relationship you might be interested in with him or her that is not intimate.
- Lastly, wish them well in the future.
People, who are genuinely appreciative of honesty delivered with compassion, will be grateful and thank you. Those who don’t care how you feel as long as you do what they want, are highly unlikely to be gracious and you’re smart to stop that early.
If you’re the previously committed partner who now feels it is time to go, ask yourself how you would like to be told were it you who was the one to be dropped.
There are so many variables in these established relationships behind this question, that I can’t do them justice in a short article. I have, however, written a great deal on Psychology Today Blogs on this subject and I invite you to read some of my contributions.
“When a Partner Gives More than you can Return.”
“Are you Falling out of Love?”
“When it’s Time to let a Relationship go.”
“How Relationships Fail”
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
This is about establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.
This would not be a sustainable relationship. It would also mean compromising your integrity because you are not being honest.
- How would you feel if it were the other way around?
- Would you want him to be with you because he could not be honest with you and turn you down?
- What will you do when it is time to be intimate and you are just not that into him?
What are some of the issues that keep you from being direct and telling him that you are just not interested?
Is it difficult to break up because you are conflict avoidant?
Don’t back yourself into a corner by being nice. Set your boundaries.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you continue with the relationship, the expectation of a future with him will only increase. He might be upset if you try and end it later and he could accuse you of leading him on.
If you are concerned about hurting his feelings and decide to stay with him because of this, you are enabling him.
You are leading him to believe that there is more to the relationship than there actually is. You have a right to choose who you want to be with. You have a right to be happy. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated or let someone guilt trip you into a situation that does not serve you.
When you let him know that you are not interested, be clear and direct.
Do not continue to “just be friends.” Do not go out with him and lead him to believe that he might still have a chance. Do not call him or text him. When you end it, keep it that way.
Do not send mixed messages.
Stay in your integrity and be honest with yourself. If you are just not interested, there is nothing wrong with that. There is no reason to sacrifice yourself. Don’t obligate yourself and enter a relationship where someone else gets the best of you at your expense.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
I don’t think I have ever heard anyone, friend or client, say after a relationship break-up, “Oh boy! I get to start dating again!”
Dating is pretty universally hated. We date because it is worse to face the prospect of living our lives alone, and so far nobody has come up with another way to meet and get to know a prospective partner.
I try to tell my clients that when a date doesn’t work out, it’s usually not personal.
I say this in the sense that it’s not your role in life to please everybody. Nobody can do that. It stands to reason that there are going to be dates that don’t work either for you or the man.
You are dating to get this information so you don’t spend your life with the wrong partner. It’s a mistake to turn over your self-definition to random men with whom you might find yourself. Unsuccessful dating is just as much about him as it is about you. It’s usually just a bad match.
You need to approach any date as an opportunity to get to know someone and to evaluate that person’s potential to be a positive part of your life.
Too many women approach dating from a one-down position, wondering if they will meet some man’s expectations. This position only engenders anxiety and fear of rejection. This woman is abdicating her own worth and power to a man hoping that he will validate her.
Why would she assume that living up to this man’s expectations is even desirable? He might not be a respectable or worthy person. It is the wrong viewpoint. How he feels about you isn’t the question. It’s how you feel about him that matters.
What’s really important to look for when you date is whether the man meets your criteria.
Criteria are based on a good understanding of who you are and what you want in your life. Everyone needs criteria. How else will you know whether or not to invest more time and effort into a relationship?
Once you stop worrying about pleasing him, and begin to focus on whether or not he pleases you, your anxiety will go way down.
You could still kiss some frogs, but it’s you who will be saying, “Yuck”. You still have to get out there and meet men, but you can stop worrying about how they feel about you and put the focus on how you feel about them, which is where it really belongs.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
Most of us at some time or another have been asked out and we just didn’t feel it was a good fit for whatever the reason and didn’t know how to handle this delicate scenario.
We don’t want the person doing the asking to feel rejected or hurt, on the other hand, we don’t want to make excuses and lead the person to believe that another time you might accept. I have seen too many situations where this is a waste of time for you both.
An appropriate way to handle turning down a guy nicely is to simply be honest. Be direct with saying something like,
“I am flattered, however I don’t feel that we are a match,” or, “Thank you for thinking of me, however I don’t think we are quite a fit.”
This keeps it short and sweet. You don’t want to find yourself beating around the bush giving excuses or trying to lead the person on. If you are face to face, look him straight in the eye, and say what you need to say kindly and with a sincere smile.
Your body language will reveal you are in alignment with what you say.
Then don’t stay around and linger. It’s good to move on and that way you are not wasting anyone’s time and energy. If it is over the phone or e-mail,he just won’t see you, yet you can convey the same direct message. Most important, be respectful and direct.
When in doubt, turn into your inner guidance and reverse it.
How would you like to be treated if you asked someone out? This will help you to handle these situations with grace and you can feel good about your decision.
Constance Clancy, Ed.D. – www.drconstanceclancy.com
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