How to tell someone you don’t like them romantically?(11 Ways)

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By: Naveen B

Being able to initiate a conversation is an important part of maintaining healthy relationships.

It can also be stressful, especially if you are not interested in someone and don’t know how to tell someone you don’t like them romantically.

As much as we’d all like to be diplomatic, there’s something about telling someone they just aren’t your type that just feels awkward. It doesn’t have to be.

Getting rejected is never fun, but knowing how and when to politely bow out of a relationship can help make it less uncomfortable.

Sometimes when things aren’t going well between two people, it helps everyone involved if one person speaks up rather than letting feelings grow or fester in silence.

Recommended reading: Being friends with someone you dated briefly: 7 Do’s & Don’ts

It can be hard to talk to someone when you don’t like them romantically, but it’s better than leading them on because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Here are some tips for how to tell someone you don’t like them romantically without hurting their feelings.

How to tell someone you don’t like them romantically? (without hurting them)

how to tell someone you dont like them romantically without hurting them How to tell someone you don't like them romantically?(11 Ways)

You have a few options when it comes to telling someone you’re not interested in a romantic relationship.

You can either be direct and honest or play hard-to-get. Both are acceptable depending on how comfortable you are with talking about relationships, and with your relationship with that person.

The direct approach means simply being upfront and saying, We’re great friends, but I’m not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship.

It’s low pressure, there aren’t any awkward pauses or long silences, but it can feel awkward if there isn’t anything else said after that statement.

If you don’t follow up with more conversation, then it may come across as uninterested and rude.

The indirect approach is perfect for those who don’t like confrontation or having deep conversations.

This method involves getting close to another person by spending time together, becoming their friend, and sharing about yourself before turning around and announcing that you don’t see yourself dating him or her in a romantic sense.

When using this tactic, avoid giving mixed signals when hanging out together. Most importantly, remain calm when telling someone you don’t see a future with them, even if they become upset. 

Letting your emotions take over during an important situation will do more harm than good. Be respectful, even if they lash out verbally or physically toward you after hearing what you have to say.

Related: How to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them?

Always be mindful of what you say and be persuasive in handling these sorts of sensitive discussions and protect yourself from unnecessary drama.

Hopefully, both methods will help ease the strain of rejection so that you won’t take things personally should your friend decide he or she doesn’t want to pursue a romantic relationship with you at some point down the road.

Here are a few ways on how to tell someone you don’t like them romantically which can help you to express your thoughts and emotions clearly to them without hurting their feelings. Use them tactfully when communicating with your partner.

11 Ways to tell someone you don’t like them romantically

how to tell someone you are not looking for a romantic relationship How to tell someone you don't like them romantically?(11 Ways)

1. Take Your Time and Get Yourself Organized Before You Say Anything:

When you don’t like someone romantically, you need to decide if that’s something that can be fixed, or is a deal-breaker for any future relationship with them.

If it’s a dealbreaker, then I suggest coming up with at least 4 reasons such as lack of attraction, personality issues, lack of chemistry, or because of your personal values or goals, before telling them.

Doing so will help ease your mind when talking about why you’re not interested in a romantic relationship. It’ll also take some pressure off of yourself so you aren’t worried about doing or saying anything wrong while having that conversation.

This way, you’ll know why you’re breaking things off and feel confident in your decision to do so. Also, make sure no one else has dealt with these issues in person before because it might mean they are fixable problems.

The time frame when dating is more flexible, but once when speaking of friendship.

Maybe that would not give others enough time to change your mind and make you reconsider things while they go out of their way to work on those issues too when fixing those problems won’t give back what they’ve already lost.

2. Tell Them in Person or privately:

Make sure to pick the right time where there won’t be distractions. An emotional conversation will likely make things feel more intense than they are. Also, make sure you speak in private, so there’s no possibility of other people overhearing or judging you for it.

Keep your tone firm yet gentle as well so that what you say is taken seriously and isn’t misconstrued as being rude or mean-spirited in any way.

It’s also important not to allow another person’s anger at being rejected to cloud your judgment when speaking with him or her about why it’s necessary to break off any romantic attraction between each other.

And remember to practice what you’re going to say beforehand since words can easily get jumbled up and unclear when under pressure.

Related: How to maintain a friendship with someone you love?

3. Be Direct and State Exactly What You Want To Say in a constructive way:

Although it’s essential to realize that honesty is always best when being direct, you’ll want to make sure that they know exactly what they’re getting into with your statement so it doesn’t come across as harsh or insulting.

Also, unless there are other reasons such as his or her safety being put at risk, then don’t say something along those lines either, since people can have sensitive egos which sometimes need extra consideration during times like these.

Instead of saying, “I don’t feel attracted to you and I’m not interested in dating you anymore.”

Try something like, “It’s clear we’re both heading in different directions in our lives. So, I’m going to ask that we remain friends instead of continuing with any romantic relationships between us.”

4. Do Not Try To Blame Anyone Else for Your Decision:

Although other people or situations may have played a role in why you don’t want to date that person, do not blame others or yourself for your decision and make sure it’s made clear that it is an important decision that is good for you both.

It’s important that he or she feels respected rather than being made to feel like he or she wasn’t good enough since you wouldn’t want to leave things on a bad note between each other either if their relationship status were reversed at any point in time.

But above all else, remember to focus on making your friend/acquaintance feel understood as well as supported through what could be a difficult experience.

5. Give An Explanation For Your Actions/Decision (Not Necessary But It Can Help if They Ask): 

Although it isn’t required that you say something along these lines, it can be a good idea that they know exactly why they’re being left out of your romantic life.

So even though giving an explanation might feel uncomfortable at first, it’s possible it could help both of you resolve any issues between each other.

And at least once things are on solid ground again, then hopefully everything will turn out for the best for both of you in time as well.

Even though breaking up with someone is never easy, keep in mind that there’s no reason why everyone needs to suffer from a negative experience, and remaining professional throughout is essential to making sure things end on a positive note for everyone involved.

Related: Can you be friends with someone you have feelings for?

6. Be Open to Any Questions or Concerns That They May Have:

By being upfront and honest with your feelings, it’s possible that they’ll have questions or concerns about what transpired between you.

If they ask you anything along with the conversation which makes sense and doesn’t make things awkward for either of you, then by all means answer those inquiries honestly.

It can help him or her accept your decision easier if he or she knows exactly what is going on in your mind and that there are no unanswered questions lingering from their perspective.

Also, it never hurts to remember that if he or she wants advice about how he/she could handle a situation like yours in a different way, then feel free to offer suggestions as an added bonus.

7. Listen Carefully and Answer As Best As You Can Without Getting Angry or Defensive:

 It’s important that any concerns he or she may have been handled in a mature and amicable manner.

Make sure that your answers come from a genuine place and that they don’t leave him or her feeling hurt, angry, confused, or scared in any way.

It doesn’t matter if things don’t seem fair from his/her perspective since everyone has different feelings about matters of love and relationships as well as what makes people happy which is why it’s impossible for one person’s ideas about romance to work for all people.

It can also help if he/she is reminded of why you guys are such good friends and how much you care about each other even though romantic intentions aren’t there at present.

8. Maintain a Positive Attitude and Be Prepared for Any Outcomes:

Just because you’ve made it clear that he or she will only be your friend doesn’t mean there can’t be other opportunities in terms of dating in your future together, since people’s interests, personalities, and levels of maturity can change over time.

It’s important to realize that by taking things slow, showing empathy, and always displaying him or her respect for who they are as a person, their feelings about not being romantically involved with each other may also change as well over time.

So although ending things right now might seem permanent, keep an open mind and know that everyone changes in different ways so never completely close yourself off from any possibilities down the road when times have changed.

You’ll be glad you kept an open mind if things turn out more positively than expected and both parties get what they wanted from each other over time.

Also read: How to stop loving someone but stay friends?

9. Keep Things Amicable and End Things With Mutual Consensus:

Don’t burn any bridges that could keep either of you from feeling confused or hurt when thinking about what your relationship used to be.

It’s important that if he/she is able to say goodbye with peace in their mind and that if they need help or support from time to time, then know that you’re still there for him/her no matter what.

Know too, that things can change as people mature which means possibly getting back together at some point in time.

When one person sees how good it can feel to open up their heart again and share their love with a more compatible partner than themselves based on who they are now versus who they were before they met you and realized your relationship wouldn’t work out romantically anymore.

10. Do Not Settle For Feeling Bad About How Things Went; Learn From It And Move On:  

What’s important is that you understand and take into consideration what happened in your relationship so that if it ever happens again with someone else, then you can avoid making a similar mistake.

If he/she didn’t handle it correctly or he/she wasn’t mature enough to come to terms with having different romantic intentions than yours, then think about how or what could have been done differently which would’ve allowed him/her to cope with how things ended better.

Don’t feel bad for deciding not to be romantically involved anymore since in some cases, it’s necessary in order for both people involved to grow up and realize they aren’t compatible as a couple at present.

11. Be Willing To Reconnect Down The Road As Friends Once You Feel Comfortable:

In some situations, one person was left broken-hearted by things ending between you guys instead of simply growing apart due to differing thoughts on romance and relationships.

It might help after time has passed for both parties involved to reconnect as close friends when one person feels emotionally ready to start your relationship again with a fresh perspective.

Since chances are pretty good that person will find someone more suitable than himself/herself.

Right now when looking back in hindsight on past mistakes made based on past partner’s ideas of love versus their own ideas today after going through changes in maturity over time that brought awareness of self and others down new paths of thinking versus before they met. 

Final thoughts:

You both may have a lot of soul searching and growing up to do in order for one person or both people involved to realize that maybe things wouldn’t work out romantically even if they gave it another try.

If one person wasn’t able to get over feelings he/she still had for his/her ex-partner that got into your relationship, then there’s a good chance some other traits might not align perfectly with your own.

You can always remain friends with him/her but only when they’re ready as well and vice versa so that everyone feels comfortable and respected at all times by being honest about how they feel.

The bottom line is that life isn’t over for either of you regardless of where things stand now and you’ll always have much left to offer each other even though romance may not be possible right now.

But never completely rule it out down the road after all opportunities are considered including those involving new relationships brought into your lives by coincidence later on. Take care and good luck!

Recommended reading:

10 Questions to ask yourself before breaking up or ending a relationship

Should we break up: 10 Things to consider before ending a long-term relationship

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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.

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