Saying no shouldn’t be so complicated, but you can learn how to reject someone nicely. This will allow you to both move on instead of staying stuck.
Rejection is never easy. It doesn’t just hurt when you’re being rejected, but doing the rejecting is also hard. You want to get your point across without being too harsh. You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings but also want to be firm. There is a balance that needs to happen when you want to know how to reject someone nicely.
The problem is a lot of people will be so worried about hurting someone’s feelings or getting a bad reaction that instead of doing the rejecting, they don’t do anything.
That would be ghosting. It is the absolute worst way to reject anyone, no matter your reasoning. So, it is time to learn how to reject someone nicely.
How not to reject someone nicely
Whether it is a friend, stranger, or someone you’ve been chatting to on a dating app, rejection is never easy. You want to let them down as easily as possible, but there is no surefire way to do that. Everyone reacts to rejection differently.
But, with that, there are certainly ways to reject someone that you should never do.
#1 Ghost them. Ghosting might be easier for you because you won’t have to deal with their reaction but disappearing and hoping they get the message is not nice at all.
#2 Put it off. If you know it won’t work out and you’re not interested, do not put it off. Do not think about how you can seem like the good guy. Do not overthink it. Rip the bandage off. If you were being rejected, would you want someone to slowly ease away leaving you with hope only to let you get attached and then pull the rug out from under you? No.
#3 Be mean so they reject you. It is a game. If you aren’t interested in someone, don’t behave badly so they reject you. Just be straight with them. Games only make rejection worse.
#4 Over explain. Unless you are breaking up with someone after a serious relationship, don’t over explain your reasoning. They don’t need to know your entire past or that you met someone you like more. Don’t offer them details they don’t need. This will lead to them overthinking. Rejecting someone nicely is about truth, not making yourself feel better. A brief explanation is enough.
#5 Comfort them. This is always a bad move. Whether it is a breakup or just letting them know you don’t want to meet up, do not try to comfort them. This is so confusing. You are essentially the one hurting them and making them feel better all at once.
First of all, it is not your responsibility how they react. Secondly, you just confuse them. When you are letting someone down, be firm. Tell the truth and step away.
How to reject someone nicely
I’d like to tell you that as long as you avoid those five no-no’s that you’re good, but there are actually some ways to reject someone nicely. There are things you can do or say that will make things easier for them and you.
When you’re rejecting someone nicely, you want them to understand exactly what you’re saying without being too hurt. This may sound impossible. And rejecting someone will not always go as planned, but you can do your best.
#1 Be honest. Yes, honesty is the best policy. Don’t lead them on or beat around the bush. If you aren’t interested, just say that.
#2 Don’t waste time. If you know after the first date that you don’t want to see them again, don’t hug them goodbye and say “we should do this again” just to be polite. The more you put it off, the more you’ll get their hopes up.
#3 Be clear. Don’t just say something like I’m not available. They could take that to mean you’re busy. Say that you are not interested. There is a difference, and some people will twist your kindness for hesitancy.
#4 Be respectful. You can be straightforward without being cruel or disrespectful. If you went on a first date and they shared something that made you uncomfortable or disinterested, you don’t have to insult them. You can simply say you don’t think you’re compatible, and leave it there.
#5 Remain calm. The place a lot of people go wrong with rejection is making sure they come off like the good guy instead of just making a clean break. Defensiveness will make the entire experience worse for everyone. If you turn someone down and they react poorly, don’t interact.
Past dates have claimed I led them on by going on a date when I barely knew them before. The date clued me in to the fact that we wouldn’t work as a couple. I responded with, “Sorry you feel that way, best of luck in the future” and shut it down. Reacting to their reaction will never go well.
#6 Don’t offer friendship right away. Whether you think this will soften the blow or you actually want to remain friends, don’t offer that in the same sentence as a rejection. All that does is confuse them. Be clear and considerate. If you reach out down the line about a local concert or reboot of a TV show you both liked, you can talk platonically but leave some space between there.
#7 Forget the apology. You do not have to apologize. You have the right to say no at any point. Even if you feel bad for rejecting them, apologizing says you did something wrong when you didn’t.
#8 Stick to the point. Don’t get off topic. I’ve had people reject me and talk in circles. They’ll say things like I had a great time and then talk about how they aren’t ready for more. Then they give me a compliment and pull back. And it is drawn out and confusing.
Just say what you want to say in order to get your point across and leave it there.
#9 Add a compliment. It never hurts to soften the blow with a compliment, but keep it brief. Something like, “you’re really funny, but I just didn’t feel a connection,” or “I’m attracted to you but didn’t feel anything deeper,” will do.
#10 Wish them the best. Although a simple “no, thank you” to a date invite is good, it can be nice to wish them the best. My go-to has always been, “I’m flattered but not interested. Best of luck in the future.” I know it sounds professional, but it keeps it calm and clean.
#11 Close the door. Rejection is not an open door for something to happen in the future. This can be very confusing to the person you are turning down. Leaving the door open for something in the future prevents them from moving on and strings them along.
Don’t say “I’m busy right now but if things change I’ll let you know” unless you’re going away for work for a month and want to see them when you get back. Keeping someone on the back burner so you can try things with someone else is not cool.
#12 Accept they will be hurt. No matter how nice and considerate you are, you are rejecting someone. If you’ve been rejected, you know the feeling. Whether it is a job or a date, even the kindest no’s are still no’s. Accept that they will be hurt, shocked, or at least feel a minor sting. That is okay.
Learning how to reject someone nicely is about telling the truth and leaving it there. There should be no more drawn out or confusing rejections.