How To Tell A Guy You Don’t Like Him Without Crushing Him

Is there anything more awkward than accidentally falling for a person in your friendship group? Particularly when you always used to say that girls and guys could be friends without it turning into something more. Well, if you think that’s bad, what about being on the other end of it? When you start to read the signs and know that the worst has happened. Your friend has fallen for you and you don’t feel the same in return. One of you has to pluck up the courage to address the situation before it gets awkward. It’s going to be messy otherwise. Use these tips on how to tell a guy you don’t like him.

  1. Read the signs. This isn’t the time to be naive. We all know how this goes. They catch feelings and get hurt and the friendship falls away. No one wants that. Friendship should always come first. But for that to be the case, someone has to acknowledge that things are changing. Maybe you grew older or went away to university a different person. It’s a classic ‘want what you can’t have’ situation. It’s no one’s fault, but you have to take responsibility. Don’t turn a blind eye to him when he’s confessing his darkest secrets to you and confiding in you with his friends.
  2. Don’t ignore his gooey eyes. Once you’ve confirmed that he’s caught feelings or got wind from his friends that he’s interested, one of you has to act. It’s unfair that it has to be you, the object of his affection, to make the first move. However, it’s less painful in the long term this way. This means that he doesn’t get excited, forget himself, and lean in for the kiss when he knows you have a boyfriend. Not that that’s the only reason you wouldn’t be interested, of course. But this is the cleaner option. Be clear in what you want. But also reflect on your own feelings. Don’t just assume that you aren’t interested because you haven’t been before now. Give him a chance, but remember that you don’t owe him anything.
  3. Be kind. This isn’t a story of vengeance. Be kind and compassionate when you tell him how you feel. Let him down gently and send him back to his friends to vent. While it’s important to be clear and not make him think there’s any room to change your mind, that doesn’t mean you should be cruel about it.
  4. Be firm. Don’t put his feelings above your own. If this is a gesture towards self-preservation, don’t let a degree of mercy for him put you in a difficult position. You want a clean break. Don’t promise him that things might change, or suggest that you have a future together if you don’t see one. Be honest. Tell him the truth and what he needs to hear. This isn’t the time for ambiguity.
  5. Do it in public. This is just a matter of logistical sense. There’s no point getting his hopes up by meeting at either of your apartments. It’s best to keep these things clean and without emotional attachments., If you’re in public, you will both be on your best behavior. motions won’t get out of hand.
  6. Don’t lead him on. I know we all love attention, but you have to respect him. He’s a person too. Just because you aren’t interested in him, doesn’t mean that you can bask in his attention without any intention of going any further with it. Be a better person than that. We aren’t teenagers anymore. You can get the ego boost elsewhere.
  7. Tell people what you’re about to do. It’s always helpful to hear people’s feedback when you’re about to leave a guy behind who doesn’t serve you. Particularly with emotionally fraught situations. It’s like drafting a breakup text or asking someone out. Worth a second pair of eyes.
  8. Have a few excuses lined up. Not to presume that men are the worst or anything, but it’s good to have an escape route planned. Have a few reasons why you aren’t interested or facts for him to cling to. That makes it easier for him to get closure and it feels less personal and more factual. I wouldn’t lead with things like “you’re ugly and unsuccessful.” (And really, who would? That’s just rude.) Tell him he loves the idea of you or that he’s still in love with his ex. It means he can grow from it. Tell him from the start you have somewhere to go to so the process doesn’t drag out.
  9. Stick to your guns. He might be upset. Emotions are involved, after all. But that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your instincts to pander to him. He’s an adult, so are you. You can deal with a difficult situation with grace and respect.

If not, you clearly weren’t right for each other in the first place. That’s something he will thank you for identifying now, rather than later.

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.