How To Tell A Guy You Don’t Want To Date Him

Letting someone down gently is easier said than done. Having to tell someone you don’t want to date them when they’ve clearly expressed interest in you is a tricky situation to be in. You don’t want to be too direct with them because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, but failing to be straightforward risks prolonging the inevitable, creating an awkward and sometimes painful situation for everyone involved. You shouldn’t feel bad for telling someone you’re not into them romantically, but you should also do it as soon as possible, otherwise, the situation will only get messier.

  1. Tell Him You’re Into Someone Else. Perhaps the easiest way to make it clear you’re not into a person is to direct your attention somewhere else. Be direct in the fact that you have a crush on someone or have been actively playing the field. Download a couple of dating apps and bring up the subject around the guy that you’re not into. Doing so should help him clearly see that he’s not on your radar, at least romantically.
  2. Step Up Your Flirting Game. Another way to make it clear that your interests lie elsewhere is to flirt. If you’re all hanging out in a group, make sure you’re reserving your flirtiest comments for someone else. Whatever you do, just don’t flirt with the person you’re trying to not show interest in.
  3. Watch What You Say. Especially for people that are outgoing, sometimes friendliness can be perceived for flirting. If you have a bubbly personality and will talk up a storm with anyone, it may have given the guy the wrong impression. Therefore, make sure you’re being careful with your words. Don’t say anything around him that could give him false hope or the wrong hint. Words are powerful, so use them wisely.
  4. Throw Around The ‘F’ Word. A very clear way to be direct with your words is to remind him that you’re just friends. Constantly throwing around the ‘f’ word — ‘friends,’ at least in this case – will subtly give him the hint that he’s been friend-zoned. Hopefully, he’ll be able to realize what’s up and you both can avoid having a more direct conversation about your feelings.
  5. Get A Friend To Do The Deed. If you feel extra nervous or uncomfortable about telling him how you feel or if he’s not getting your relentless hints, then consider asking a friend for help. The friend doesn’t need to directly say to him that you don’t have romantic feelings. They can be more subtle by simply mentioning if you went on a date with someone recently or if you have a new crush.
  6. Try Talking To His Friends. If the guy is still not getting it, particularly if you’ve had a direct conversation with him, then it may be useful to try and speak to his friends. This is a good option, especially if you share mutual friends who wouldn’t mind acting as an arbitrator. Explain to them how you feel, emphasizing how frustrated you are that he’s not getting your hints. But, of course, don’t pressure your friend to be in the middle of an awkward situation if they’re hesitant.
  7. Send Him A Long Message. It can be tough telling people how we feel directly to their faces, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to break the news to him. Try writing down your thoughts in a letter. This will allow you to edit in order to make sure you’re saying everything you want to in a clear and considerate way. Send it to him via message or email. He may leave you on read, but it’s a sure-fire way to get the message across.
  8. Make A Not-So-Subtle Social Media Post. Make it clear that you’re not looking to date right now by posting about how much you love the single life on social media. Share a few posts complaining about how much time you’ve wasted on the another sex. If he (and everyone else) can see that you’re single but not looking to mingle, it’ll likely help him realize he needs to move on.
  9. Pull The ‘It’s Me, Not You’ Card. If the guy in question keeps asking you out or pressuring you to know why you don’t want to date him, then make it seem as though you’re just not in a place where you’re ready to date. Tell him you just got out of a bad relationship or are focusing on improving yourself while single. This is the easiest way to let him down gently without directly saying you’re just not that into him.
  10. Tell It To His Face. Of course, if all else fails, the best way to make it clear that you don’t like him is to say it straight to his face. Think about what you want to say beforehand, and make sure you deliver the message in a sensitive way. Put yourself in his shoes. Think about the best thing someone could say to you if they were letting you down. But also make it clear that this is the final time you’ll talk about this and that he needs to accept this is your final decision.
Alexandra is a freelance writer in Montreal, Quebec. She enjoys shopping as a sport, Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-runs, and being a plant mom.