How to tell someone you just want to be friends after a date? (11 Tips with examples)

By: Naveen B

You’ve gone on a few dates with someone, and things went well. You like them, they like you, but, something is missing.

Chances are that it could be one of two things: (1) You’re not emotionally ready for anything more serious or (2) There’s no real attraction there between you.

In either case, telling your date that what you really want is just friendship is going to feel unnatural—but it doesn’t have to feel cruel or hurtful. The best way to go about approaching it depends on where you think their feelings lie in relation to yours. 

It can be hard to tell someone they aren’t the one without hurting their feelings. But do you have the right approach? Or will your efforts backfire and ruin your friendship?

Here are some tips on how to tell someone you just want to be friends after a date in an appropriate way that won’t lead to further hurt feelings or awkwardness between the two of you, so you can stay close if it’s what both of you truly want.

How to tell someone you just want to be friends after a date?


The truth is that when people aren’t in love, it’s not necessary to justify why they don’t feel like dating anymore. When two people aren’t physically attracted, intellectually compatible, or emotionally attached, and on track with life goals, there’s no real reason for them to continue spending time together.

If there isn’t enough of a spark between two people to make things interesting and fun, then it’s better for both parties if they move on.

The key here is that being honest about how you feel can save someone from going out with you again and getting their hopes up—only for your relationship status not to change.

In case you’re wondering, it is absolutely okay to go on a first date and know right away that it won’t lead anywhere.

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

In fact, there are a lot of benefits to being upfront about your intentions with regard to future romantic involvement. Namely, it allows you both to avoid any painful confusion or embarrassment later on down the road.

The conversation can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to end on bad terms. Remember that no one owes you anything, so let them know you had a great time together but don’t think it would work out as more than friends.

If they push for more, don’t walk away—it’s okay to set boundaries and stick with them. You can always let things die off naturally instead of shutting things down too quickly or abruptly if that makes you feel better in your situation.

And remember: It doesn’t matter who asked whom out—you’re both responsible for putting an end to something that wasn’t going anywhere.

How to tell someone you just want to be friends after hooking up?


How to tell a girl or guy you just want to be friends after a few dates? Telling a girl or guy you just want to be friends after hooking up is hard enough without making things worse by adding extra drama into the mix.

This is a very hard situation and I would advise you not to rush things. It’s important that you don’t give that person the wrong idea, or else, he/she might get hurt and find it difficult to move on.

As per studies in Psychology Today, most men aren’t bothered by women who make it clear from their actions that they aren’t interested in romance. That said, if things seem to be going well and feelings start developing—and then you decide against getting involved—it can certainly feel unfair to men who’ve been led on.

First of all, avoid any further contact with him/her for a while.

Once you’ve done that, then you can send him/her a text message saying something like “Hey, I know what happened was wrong and I’m sorry for hurting you emotionally. But I hope we can still be friends” and see how he/she responds.

If he/she doesn’t respond or if his/her response is cold or harsh, then it means that he/she is still angry at you and doesn’t want anything more than friendship with you right now.

In this case, just leave it at that and wait until he/she is ready to talk again.

If however he/she does respond positively to your text message then continue talking over text messages until both parties are comfortable enough with each other again before meeting up in person again for another date or whatever else it may be.

So, the best way to tell someone that you only want to be friends after a hook up is to be direct, but not mean. You have no idea how they might take it, so you need to be careful and say it as nicely as possible.

If you’re worried about hurting her/his feelings, then just say that you’re not ready for a relationship right now and let him know that he’s great and all, but you just don’t want anything more than a friendship with him at the moment.

Do guys really want to be friends after a breakup?

Do guys really want to be friends after a breakup How to tell someone you just want to be friends after a date? (11 Tips with examples)

Men are not as emotional as women, so most of the time, they do not have the urge to remain friends with their exes. However, there are some instances where men want to be friends with their exes for several reasons.

Some men want to remain, friends, because they still have feelings for their exes. They don’t want to lose touch with them and may even want a second chance at romance.

It’s not uncommon for men to think this way because it can be difficult for them to let go of someone they once loved or cared about deeply.

Other times, men may feel that they can’t find anyone else and need a friend to get through the breakup.

This is especially true if they were just dumped by their girlfriends without any warning or reason given as to why it happened.

Men who find themselves in such situations often take comfort in knowing that at least one person will listen to them vent about what happened and give them advice on how best to cope with it all.

Can you be just friends after a date?


It depends on how much effort you put into the date itself and whether or not there was any chemistry between both parties

Yes, it’s very rare to be best friends after a date. But there may be some confusion about what exactly “just friends” means in this context.

You should make it clear from the start that your goal is just friendship, not rekindling the romance or getting back together with your date.

If he doesn’t agree with that and wants something more serious than just friendship, then he may end up hurting you again at some point down the road when he gets tired of being just friends and starts seeing other girls behind your back (or worse)

 If he agrees with just being friends but still has lingering feelings for you, then that can also lead to problems later on when those feelings resurface and he starts having second thoughts about being just friends with you.

However, most of the time, the answer is no, you cannot be just friends after a date because it means you went out together and had fun together which means that there were some romantic feelings involved when you went out together on that date.

So, there is always a risk of developing feelings for each other when you try to be friends after a date. The decision is to avoid contacting each other and try to move on, if you want a peaceful life and make your future relationships healthy.

Can you go from lovers to friends back to lovers?


Yes, but it’s tricky and it requires mutual respect, trust, and honesty on both sides. In theory, it is possible because people change over time and grow apart and come together again as they mature.

Moreover, it depends on both people’s feelings and how long it’s been since their break up/the end of their relationship.

It also depends on how much effort they are willing to put into making their friendship work again because sometimes people just want different things and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Just because one person wants something more than another doesn’t mean they are doing something wrong or being selfish by wanting more than what they currently have.

Sometimes people just need some time apart so that they can figure out what they want in life, especially if one person has changed drastically between when they were together and now.

So, can you go from lovers to friends back to lovers? This can absolutely happen. It depends on both people though and what their feelings are like when they decide to become friends again after being lovers.

If one person is still interested in romance, then it could work out well for them because they will be able to reconnect with someone who knows them well on an emotional level as well as an intellectual level (if that’s where things went wrong before).

However, if both people are over each other or neither one wants anything more than friendship now, then it may not work out so well because the closeness from being lovers will make it difficult for them.

Reconnecting with someone you dated briefly


It’s a hard thing to do, but if you’re trying to move on from your last relationship or just want to be single for a while, it can be helpful to have a plan in place for the next time you meet up with an ex.

The first step is being honest with yourself — are you really over them? If not, then you should think twice before pursuing a friendship.

If you’re ready to move on, then decide how far along in the process of getting over them you are.

It might help to write down all of your feelings about them and how they made you feel (especially if they’ve hurt you).

Then, add any advice that friends or family members would give you about the situation.

Once you’ve finished this list, read through it again and see if there’s anything that stands out.

Something like “I need space” or “I’m still hurting” might point out something specific that will help explain why it’s important to be reconnecting with someone you dated briefly or let go of this person right now instead of later down the road when it may be harder for both parties involved.

After analyzing the situation from all the possibilities, then you can come to a particular decision about whether you want to reconnect with someone you dated briefly.

11 Tips on How to tell someone you just want to be friends after a date and How to go back to being friends after sleeping together?


1. Be as compassionate as possible

At its core, rejection is never easy, and even if there are no real feelings involved, your date may feel a little hurt or confused.

So make sure you’re compassionate and empathetic when letting him or her down gently.

Let your date know that it isn’t anything he or she did (or didn’t do), but that it’s simply not something you’re interested in pursuing further at any point in time.

When giving your reason(s) for turning down a romantic relationship, keep them centered on yourself so that he or she doesn’t misinterpret them as some sort of insult to his or her character.

For example, I’ve realized I’m not ready for any sort of romantic relationship right now rather than I think we’d clash too much with each other.

2. Put it out there early enough so they don’t get their hopes up

Waiting too long before saying something can lead people to assume that there is potential for more between you two, which will only cause confusion when you have to let them down later on.

So make sure you’re setting clear boundaries right away by letting your date know exactly what you’re looking for right now and how far you’re willing to go within those confines.

Then tell him or her that should he or she change his or her mind at any point in time, he or she knows where to find you (and vice versa). 

3. Get clear on why

Whenever possible, getting into a relationship with someone who isn’t your ideal match comes with a lot of risks, both emotionally and otherwise.

The more reasons that exist for why you don’t think it would work out between you two, the more effectively and quickly you can point those out when letting him or her down gently so that there’s less chance of misinterpretation.

Also, addressing all potential but what if scenarios upfront helps avoid a great deal of anxiety later on down the road.

For example: What if I change my mind about wanting to go steady in six months? Wouldn’t you hate me then because I went ahead and said yes anyway?

Well, one reason I’m not interested in going steady right now is that I know myself well enough to know that my feelings could very well change at some point down the road.

And as lovely as you are, I’d never want to end up in a situation where we’re together simply because I lost all objectivity about whether we should be together or not.

This is why I want neither of us will get hurt later on by having expected too much from each other.

4. Make sure they understand how much it has nothing to do with them

There’s no way around it; rejection hurts, even when we know it makes sense from an outside perspective.

To ensure that your date doesn’t get defensive about being rejected by you, make sure he or she understands that their worth and value as a person has nothing at all to do with why you’re turning them down now.

And avoid saying anything like I’m not attracted to you (because yes, looks are important) or I have too many other things going on in my life right now (because he or she could take that personally). Instead, focus on communicating clear boundaries.

For example, I’m not trying to hurt your feelings here, but I really need someone who is ready for a serious relationship or someone I can be compatible with.

And while I think you’re really cute and everything, it sounds like what you really want right now is just some fun dating experiences before settling down into something more serious.

So that’s something else I should probably let you know so we don’t keep moving forward with each other until neither of us is happy anymore because our expectations are completely different from one another.

5. Plan a way out (because feelings will get hurt regardless)

Even though your intentions are nothing but positive, people are human and they’re not always good at interpreting body language cues or other indirect forms of communication as easily as we might like.

Sometimes our words may come across differently than intended simply because our date didn’t read into our actions/words as much as he or she should have.

Sometimes his or her perception of us just doesn’t line up with reality so he/she assumes things about us that aren’t true at all.

Whatever it is, if anyone’s feelings get hurt by what you say when letting him or her down gently it’s important that you immediately show that person compassion and understanding instead of getting defensive—even if it wasn’t entirely your fault.

So here’s what I recommend doing: apologize for how uncomfortable whatever it was made him/her feel and try to move forward quickly in a way where both of you can part ways feeling good about yourselves.

For example: Sorry, I’m really sorry! I’m sure I probably would’ve felt exactly the same way had something similar happened to me.

So, I don’t want the past repeats itself. I know you are a good person. Hopefully, you understand what I wanted to convey.

6. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep

Sometimes, we say things when turning down a date because we feel like we should say something.

One thing you definitely don’t want to say is, It’s not you, it’s me. Though technically true (it is), it’s one of those things that your date will remember if/when he or she hears it again and it might come across as a bit condescending.

This is why I strongly advise against using that particular turn-down phrase unless you actually mean it! If you’re still interested in dating around after saying no, try not to make any false promises that you have no intention of keeping.

This may seem like common sense (and most people are probably trustworthy enough not to take anything too seriously), but some people may actually expect something serious at first even though they never considered it before meeting up with you.

So keep your answers general at first rather than specific as far as future plans are concerned, and be sure to emphasize that nothing has changed as far as what he or she wants from you today rather than tomorrow.

7. Know that no is still a complete sentence

A common mistake people make when trying to let someone down gently is overexplaining themselves for fear that their reasons won’t come across as believable enough.

What I’m about to say may sound controversial, but here goes: Over-explaining yourself makes your date more likely to question your intentions instead of believing your explanation.

For example, One time a friend tried telling me why she couldn’t go out with me.

After which she apologized several times and kept telling me how uncomfortable it was making her feel by her own inability to find better words than those.

I stopped listening at some point because all I could think about was how obviously guilty she felt—as if there was something wrong with her for not being able to say no.

So, my advice is never to apologize for saying no or explain yourself unless it’s completely necessary.

8. Be courteous but firm

If your date isn’t receptive to hearing what you have to say (e.g., getting upset and storming off), then it’s probably best not to try following after him or her with a speech about why he or she is wrong and how your reasons are good ones.

In fact, if you do continue pursuing a conversation under these circumstances, chances are excellent that things will only escalate in an unpleasant way.

In other words: Let your rejection speak for itself. Do that, and chances are good no further explanation will be necessary.

Whether or not your feelings align with theirs doesn’t matter much anymore once you’ve made it clear what yours are.

Anything else is beyond the scope of being merely polite because well-mannered behavior dictates that we respect others’ feelings even if we disagree with them or feel differently ourselves.

9. Apologize for a missed connection if necessary

Occasionally, it may seem like something went wrong when trying to turn down a date but that isn’t actually true; you and your date simply had different expectations.

If that happens, go ahead and apologize anyway—after all, giving an apology doesn’t mean much unless it’s authentic.

The reason I say apologize here is that not doing so can make it appear as though you’re unwilling to accept any responsibility for your actions or words which can leave things on bad terms pretty quickly.

Since most people try avoiding conflict whenever possible, saying sorry might still help smooth things over even if you don’t think you’re entirely at fault.

On top of everything else, showing regret when turning down a date does show that you care about how your date feels about what happened.

After all: he or she might end up being someone worth dating after all in the future.

As such, making sure that particular person leaves with good feelings regardless of what happened between both of you is still good practice until/unless they change their mind someday and give you another chance.

10. Remember that it takes two to tango

And, at least on an emotional level, that means your date has as much of a right to his or her own feelings as you do.

Put another way: You can’t control how your date feels—nor should you ever try in any case.

It doesn’t matter what sort of explanation or apology (if any) was given; if your date doesn’t feel like pursuing things further with either of those for whatever reason, then it’s not up to him or her to change his or her mind about anything and/or explain why he or she is upset in addition to what he or she already said no for.

That being said, however, there are still some things worth keeping in mind before giving a rejection speech or otherwise turning down a date once it becomes clear that one or both of you is interested but not quite enough to move forward:

11. Be yourself and tell him/her you just want to be friends

The easiest way to go wrong here would be putting on airs in order to hide uncomfortable thoughts and feelings behind unfamiliar words which probably won’t come out naturally anyway. 

Just be sure to think about what you’re going to say beforehand and make sure that everything comes across as sincere and tell you just want to be friends with them.

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time beforehand so long as your intentions remain good throughout.

Final thoughts

When it comes to turning down a date, sometimes it’s helpful to think about how we’d feel if we were on either side of that coin.

I don’t mean that we should treat both sides equally or take one for granted because it would never happen to us—that sort of attitude can often come across as condescending.

Instead, it’s a good idea to ask ourselves how we’d feel if our own feelings weren’t being taken into account at all; chances are excellent that most of us wouldn’t like that.

As such, make sure you really think things through before going ahead with your rejection speech or otherwise rejecting a date—if only for your sake and not theirs.

After all: There’s always someone made for another.


  • Naveen B

    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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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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