How to tell someone you can’t be friends because you like them? (13 Tips with examples)

By: Naveen B

Friendship and romantic interest are two entirely different things, and most people treat them as such. This can make it difficult to turn down an offer of friendship when you have romantic feelings for the person making the offer.

If you have feelings for someone that you know aren’t returned or won’t work out, it’s important to be honest about your motives, no matter how much you may want their friendship in return. 

When you’re trying to be just friends with someone, it can be difficult to figure out what the best way to tell them is without hurting their feelings or making them uncomfortable.

A common fear is that telling a friend you’re attracted to them will complicate an otherwise good friendship.

Some people worry that they’ll lose their best friend by telling him or her how they feel, while others are afraid of appearing desperate.

Recommended reading: How to stay friends with someone you have feelings for?

However, as with any difficult conversation in life, you’re better off being honest than not.

A relationship can’t continue if there’s an elephant in the room that needs addressing and it’s easier for a friend to hear something from you than for him or her to think about it alone and wonder what happened.

This article explains the steps you can take to avoid awkwardness and make sure you don’t accidentally lead the other person on.

As long as you stay honest and straightforward, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how to tell someone you can’t be friends because you like them—it just takes some practice and forethought.

How to tell someone you can’t be friends because you like them?

how to tell someone you cant be friends because you like them over How to tell someone you can't be friends because you like them? (13 Tips with examples)

How to tell someone you can’t be friends because you like them? Before ending your friendship with the person you have feelings for, the first thing you need to do is realize that your feelings for that person are real.

Love isn’t an illusion or a substitute. It’s an unmistakable, deep emotion.

If there is any chance at all that your feelings could lead somewhere else—something real—don’t just run away from what’s happening inside of you; face it head-on and confront it with courage.

You can’t take back how you feel, so own up to it.

You will always regret hiding how you feel, but probably not as much as you would regret not saying anything until it was too late. So don’t let fear stop you from taking action.

Instead, find out if what’s happening between the two of you has a future by talking about your feelings. Telling him or her may not only relieve some stress and anxiety, but also open up an opportunity for something new and amazing in your life.

Also read: Can you be friends with someone you love? (Guide)

And remember — no matter how scary things might seem right now, they’re likely less scary than wondering if your attraction is mutual.

That loneliness might seem easier than risking rejection and heartbreak, but nothing positive ever comes from being lonely and scared.

Be brave enough to say what you’re feeling (and remember — silence really does equal death). Tell him or her.

However, due to whatever situation you have made a firm decision to tell someone you can’t be friends just because you like them, they’re likely going to ask why. So prepare yourself with an answer.

There is no right or wrong response. But make sure it comes from your heart — and keep in mind that honesty and communication are crucial. Being honest about your feelings is brave and ultimately strengthens every relationship.

Make eye contact and speak clearly (even if you are scared). Be prepared for things to change—but don’t let that scare you away from being honest with yourself about how you feel.

If he or she asks what’s changed or what’s different between now and before. Maybe try not using the word like at all.

Instead, focus on telling him or her exactly what you feel. This will help create more space for clarity and eliminate the confusion of any kind.

Also read: How to be friends with someone you love? (17 Tips)

Let him or her know there isn’t anything wrong with liking them — unless you both want different things. Honesty really is always better than silence.

And even if nothing ever happens between you two, he or she deserves to know how much they mean to you.

You should know that too. The truth doesn’t always hurt. Sometimes it gives us the strength to move forward and live a life filled with happiness. Sometimes it’s so relieving we actually cry tears of joy when we learn to forgive ourselves for past mistakes.

Sometimes you end up feeling so alive when you finally do something about those pesky thoughts that seem so trivial but weigh down our minds day after day after day.

Remember: Silence makes room for regret while taking action eliminates doubt forever.

Be brave enough to say what you’re feeling (and remember — silence really does equal death). Express them with vulnerability and authenticity.

13 Tips on tell someone you can’t be friends because you like them

you can ever be just friends with someone you once fell in love with How to tell someone you can't be friends because you like them? (13 Tips with examples)

Here are 13 Tips on how to tell someone you can’t be friends because you like them:

1. Don’t start off by telling your crush how you feel right away:

Letting someone know that you have feelings for them is a big deal and you shouldn’t rush it.

It’s okay to let your interest show through in little ways, but don’t make things awkward by revealing everything upfront.

If you want to end your friendship because you have feelings for them, wait until after you talk about it before getting into those feelings so that they know exactly why it is you need to change things.

Also, make sure to stay away from vague language; it isn’t working out between us anymore is pretty open-ended, and could mean just about anything.

You don’t want your friend (or romantic interest) wondering what happened or if something changed between you and their best friend. Be specific in saying why it isn’t working out, so that way there aren’t any misunderstandings.

For example, I found out my work schedule had changed and I had less time available for spending time with my friends, including you.

It’s not that we are growing apart as friends – but since we used to hang out all of the time and now I won’t be able to see you as much.

I decided it was better to not be friends anymore. That way it is crystal clear that your decision was based on logistics rather than an erosion of feelings.

Also read: How to make someone fall in love with you? (According to psychology and science)

2. Don’t pretend you don’t have feelings for them, either; it won’t work out:

The worst thing that can happen when trying to break off a friendship due to unrequited love is having your friend try and convince you otherwise or deny their own emotions. It’s not as uncommon as you think.

The minute anyone starts getting defensive, though, is exactly when things go from bad to worse—so avoid it at all costs.

There’s no need to build on denial if you avoid confrontation altogether by starting with an honest statement about how much you respect them but are unfortunately having problems simply being friends.

That way, they know exactly where they stand from the get-go and will hopefully appreciate that honesty more than they ever could have appreciated any effort to drag your feelings kicking and screaming into reality (or back into hiding).

If there’s one good reason why honesty is always the best policy, it’s in cases like these–when platonic friendships really should stay just that.

3. Be real with yourself and with them:

Before you say anything, make sure that what you’re feeling is authentic to your life at that moment in time.

Nothing will tank a friendship faster than a false confession (trust me, I’ve had my fair share of trying to sneak feelings into a platonic relationship).

Honesty goes hand-in-hand with respect, so only share your feelings if they are real—even if they come as a shock.

And keep in mind that people tend to remember being rejected more than they remember when they weren’t wanted in the first place.

If you have feelings for someone it will impact your friendships so it’s better just to get it out on the table early rather than stringing people along or regretting how things ended up down the road.

4. Be honest about your feelings for him or her:

Don’t hide them. Simply to explain that you don’t want a romantic relationship with them, and it’s for their own good or you can’t see a future with him or her.

This will save time in case your feelings aren’t mutual, and when you are honest from the start, there’s no room for confusion or miscommunication.

It’s also important to let someone know why you feel that way about him or her, but if it’s true (and you’re certain about your feelings), then just saying that gives enough explanation.

If your feelings are not returned, it might sting a little, but as long as he or she understands your reasoning (if only in hindsight), then at least there won’t be any doubts or questions in his or her mind.

Also read: How to get someone to like you back? (15 Tips)

5. Don’t get caught up in wishful thinking:

If he or she doesn’t return your feelings, it’s important not to get too caught up in what if or if only. You shouldn’t spend your time thinking about what his or her response would have been if only you’d said something sooner, etc.

Those thoughts are a waste of energy and an unwelcome distraction from moving forward with your life — whether it involves him or her or not.

It may sound harsh, but when we don’t listen to our gut feelings, we often end up wasting time dwelling on could-have-been (and might-have-been). Life is too short for that.

6. Don’t use personal reasons as an excuse:

There will always be an external factor involved when ending a relationship of any kind, whether it’s friendships or romantic relationships.

But stating reasons beyond personal aspects (like they live too far away and you never get to see each other) makes you look incredibly superficial and thoughtless—and gives them zero hope that he/she might one day get back together with you romantically.

Ultimately, when you do decide to let go of a former flame because of distance issues or scheduling conflicts, try to remember that at some point you did care enough about being friends with them to ask them out in the first place.

7. Tell him/her directly instead of through texting or social media:

A lot of times, people avoid breaking up with someone in person because they think it will hurt more than just sending a quick text message or email. Plus, many tend to believe direct conversations require more emotional fortitude.

This couldn’t be further from reality. In fact, having an uncomfortable conversation with someone face-to-face can actually help both parties emotionally adjust quicker since you’re addressing whatever lingering feelings there maybe head on.

When done correctly, both parties walk away feeling respected and even grateful that you ended it.

8. Provide positive closure:

Even though ending a friendship is hard on everyone involved, part of giving closure should involve making sure the person you like knows she/he means a lot to you.

Regardless of where your breakup has occurred or what has led up to it, you should still respect yourself.

And acknowledge that regardless of everything else happening between you two now, during any given period in time she/he may have been important enough to you for you to reach out initially. So, find a positive way to say goodbye.

9. Trust your gut:

Have you ever felt nervous about meeting someone who is important to you because you have yet to tell them about your feelings for them?

Well, that’s because deep down inside of you subconsciously, you already know that they are going to reject your feelings.

Friendships and relationship breakups aren’t easy, especially when it comes to putting yourself out there, so sometimes it’s easier said than done.

However, sometimes in life, we have to take chances. Following your heart is difficult and not guaranteed to work out, so it’s a huge risk you have to be ready for and accept.

Also read: How to get someone to like you? (complete guide)

10. Put yourself in his/her shoes:

Unless you’re coming clean about having feelings for them, chances are good that your friend has no idea what you’re thinking.

Doing some soul-searching before you sit down with him or her; will help put things into perspective.

Remember, there’s a decent chance they had absolutely no inkling that their actions had left you feeling anything but friendly toward them—which is why it’s important to speak up early and often so they have plenty of opportunities to make amends.

If after all is said and done (and nothing but apologies are offered), then by all means end your friendship as gracefully as possible and move on from there.

11. Try writing down what you want to say ahead of time:

Unless you truly haven’t developed strong feelings for your friend, chances are at least one detail slipped out during a conversation that indicates maybe things weren’t entirely platonic between you two.

And unfortunately, once people become aware there might be more going on behind closed doors, it’s hard for everyone involved to forget about it.

Asking someone to read a simple statement before they start having their own ideas and jumping to conclusions will put them in a better position (or frame of mind) to take responsibility and make things right. If not, maybe consider finding another friend.

12. Be prepared for an awkward conversation, but end things mutually:

Even if it doesn’t seem fair, there are some friendships that are simply doomed from the start.

But unlike unrequited love in a romance novel, giving up on a friendship isn’t always simple and oftentimes it isn’t particularly easy either—particularly if you’re not entirely sure how your friend will react when they realize their feelings aren’t mutual.

There’s never any guarantee that dropping emotional bombshells won’t get anyone hurt.

Even so, endings will always come more easily and cleanly if both parties have some preparation time leading up to what should hopefully be a civil—if somewhat painful–conversation with closure as its goal. How do you prepare?

The same way you would approach breaking off a real-life relationship with another person: Think through all of your options, take advice from people who’ve been there before, understand everyone’s rights before saying or doing anything rash or irreversible.

And above all else make sure everything is just about as amicable as it can possibly be between two people who maybe don’t feel quite so amicable about each other anymore.

After all, at least one of you deserves to leave that room still being able to consider themselves your friend! (At least until you delete them from social media.)

13. Know that it might take some time to get over them but you will get there:

The biggest tragedy in every failed friendship isn’t that feelings change, it’s not even necessarily a bad breakup.

It’s in remembering fondly what was good about your relationship at one point and only being able to feel sadness or regret instead of hope or joy.

But those emotions aren’t permanent! So please don’t let any sense of loss keep you from moving on.

If anything, consider your failed friendship another lesson learned and make sure your next one is just as worthwhile as it should have been when things were different between you two and someday soon, maybe even is.

How to end a friendship over a letter? (Use these example phrases)

How to end a friendship over letter because you like them How to tell someone you can't be friends because you like them? (13 Tips with examples)

Here is your guide on how to end a friendship letter. Use this reference to send them over text or through email or via letter. Hope that helps.

Also read: How to get someone to like you over text?

I hope all is well. Lately, I’ve been feeling as if we are more than just ‘friends’ and that’s something I’m not comfortable with anymore.

I feel as if our closeness is turning into something more than it should be and that makes me feel uncomfortable.

The other day when we were talking about our friendship it felt as if you realized where my feelings for you had headed.

So why didn’t you say anything?? Why did it take me bringing these feelings up for us to talk about what was going on between us?

It makes me think that maybe deep down inside you have been feeling similar things towards me too but didn’t want to say anything until I said something first.

All of those times you seemed confused about your emotions or moods were probably because of your thoughts towards me (if those times even exist).

No matter how much time we spent together it never felt right unless one of us wasn’t around. We always used each other as an escape from whatever problems we were having in life, whether they were ours or others.

I guess now that I have opened up about my feelings there isn’t a reason for us to hang out any longer. Don’t get me wrong — I still care a lot about you, but I don’t see a future together with you.

Let’s agree to part ways amicably; no hard feelings — no regrets! As friends, we both need space to learn new things and meet new people.

So let’s call it quits before either of us fall into another set of bad habits that could ruin our lives forever. Sometimes being alone isn’t as scary as being in the company of someone who will never love you back, despite their best intentions. Best wishes.

Recommended reading: 25 Psychological facts about crushes and love

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Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry. His expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in medium and substack to name a few. To be updated with his latest work, connect with him by following his social media accounts.

1 thought on “How to tell someone you can’t be friends because you like them? (13 Tips with examples)”

  1. Yes I’ve had to end the friendship with a guy he figured out I had feelings for him and he just wanted to be friends and I wasn’t too happy being just friends I felt like I deserved better and I do plus he wasn’t really a very good friend anyway he never made time for me so that made the choice easy although I had to be a bit rough when I ended the friendship so he knew I wasn’t joking that I was not going to change my mind I’m not going to he acted weird after I ended the friendship too he stalked me he tried talking to me to try to be friends again when I said we never would because I know we never will be friends again I did what I had too for my sanity


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