How to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them? (10 Tips)

By: Naveen B

In-love relationships are tested by time, distance, and various other circumstances.

When someone loves you or you love them, but due to various personal reasons you don’t want to continue the romantic relationship with them. So, how to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them?

It may feel terrible to share your thoughts with them because you don’t want to hurt their feelings and also don’t want to lose them forever. This is really a tricky and tragic situation.

The memories of good times spent together can be a distant memory for both you and your partner and end suddenly and the hurt or regret remains forever if you both don’t come to a mutual conclusion.

These feelings can be extremely painful but there is hope for repairing friendships in every situation. First and foremost understand that not every relationship is meant to last forever.

It’s ok to go into relationships with the intention of just having fun or experimenting with new experiences in life that result in a high level of intimacy.

Sometimes people become an important part of our lives, but it’s not necessarily a romantic relationship. It can develop into something more if both people share that sentiment.

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

On occasions, however, we have to let go because one person wants more while the other is not ready for such commitment.

In cases like these, our only option is to move on and try new things in life. While letting go might be hard at first, with time it will get easier if we don’t keep thinking about the other person and avoid making phone calls or emails.

Communicating with someone you just want friendship and nothing more is one of those things we often dread doing.

But in fact, it can actually be much easier when done right.

Below are some simple tips on how to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them that will help make that conversation a little less painful for everyone involved.

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

how to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them after a date How to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them? (10 Tips)

The best to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them is by speaking your mind and being honest. Remember, honesty really is the key here. There’s no point in hiding behind lies or half-truths.

If they are a good friend they will understand why you feel it’s necessary that things go back to being platonic and they will respect your wishes.

To begin with, it’s probably best that you have a conversation with them when things aren’t so tense and emotions are at their lowest or situations are not in your favor.

Try not too long after something has happened that isn’t related to anything too emotionally charged or hurtful. When having the talk be sure to have some alone time; where there won’t be any distractions.

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

Try not to bring up too many events in one conversation, but definitely give a few examples of times where you felt uncomfortable or felt like there was more going on than what was said.

It’s important that your friend knows how you feel about certain subjects; because feelings can come out in ways that may not show what you truly mean. Give your reasons for telling them you want to be friends; not all friendships start out romantic.

Be upfront, respectful, honest, and sincere.

Let them know how much you care for them as a person; regardless, if everything doesn’t work out between you two romantically.

Once again – trust me – everything will work itself out with time. Just remember – whatever happens, keep your true feelings at heart, and don’t let anyone push you around even if it means upsetting them.

Your sanity’s more important than trying to make someone happy who has basically fallen out of love with you and no matter what people say about you afterward,

Things will get better. If nothing else, then getting used to being alone again.

You’ll have time to focus on yourself once again instead of trying to please someone else or change who they are. Here are some practical tips to stay friends with someone you love.

Related: Can you be friends with someone you love?

10 Tips to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them.

ways to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them How to tell someone you just want to be friends without hurting them? (10 Tips)

1. Don’t wait too long:

It is very important that when you finally decide that a friendship would work for both of you, that it not be years and years down the road after you have both invested a lot of time in each other. 

If things have progressed between now and then and your feelings are still strong, then it could get very complicated at some point. Waiting too long will make it more difficult for everyone involved (especially yourself).

Time heals all wounds but doesn’t make those wounds disappear completely. Take action now before the wound gets deeper and harder to heal later on down the road. Take care of yourself first.

Be honest with your friend or relative – Remember, honesty is always best.

Tell them how much they mean to you as a friend, how much you care about them, but let them know as much as possible that while they mean so much to you.

They also mean something else – which makes being intimate more difficult on one side or another. This conversation should never hurt anyone; including yourself.

2. Be prepared for what to say:

You should never feel nervous about telling someone something important that could change their life for the better or worse. Make sure your wording is firm but respectful and loving in nature.

Don’t go into it saying things like I love you or we have a connection because if it doesn’t go as planned, then they will really hurt, and so will you.

This can also create more misunderstanding than necessary in some cases, so do not get too attached – keep emotions out of it and stick with facts.

Try using terms such as the relationship feels different now, or I don’t know how else to explain it other than to say I have changed.

Things like that are very simple but effective ways of getting your point across while making sure you avoid all pitfalls associated with those three dangerous words – I love you.

Once again, keep emotions out of it and use factual statements instead (if you try practicing ahead of time before actually doing it live).

Related: 17 Tips on how to be friends with someone you love

3. Think about their feelings:

If a friend is being rejected in any way, shape, or form, hurt and pain are inevitable. It doesn’t have to end badly, however – so try your best not to make it feel like it will for either party (unless of course, that is what they have come).

In a situation like this where rejection is involved, we tend to think only of ourselves and how uncomfortable things might get for us because it can be an awkward situation.

But don’t forget that every time you reject another person – whether it is a platonic relationship, romantic interest, or love interest – there is also another person’s heart is broken as well.

I know it isn’t easy considering emotions are running high when talking about relationships/romance, but do whatever you can to put yourself in their shoes first.

Try thinking and saying phrases such as: “I’m sure you’ll find somebody else who makes you happy” or “You are such a great blessing in my life.

Thank you for being you.” It must’ve been hard to hear those words. He/she is probably going through some serious stuff right now.

These simple phrases may help take some of your guilt away.

4. Don’t be surprised if they become too emotional or even cry:

Whether you’re ending something with a relative or significant other, don’t expect them to take it too well. There’s usually always an emotional response of some kind, so if crying happens, that is perfectly okay.

After all, it could have been avoided had you handled things differently up until now.

Let them cry and get everything out – once again though try not to feel guilty because in time they will feel better about themselves and their situation (again as long as it was handled right on your end). 

When there are feelings involved between two people, emotions can run high very quickly.

If they do break down into tears or begin trembling while talking, then it may help to comfort them by saying things like: You did nothing wrong or That’s okay.

Take your lead from what they say when trying to console them. If one phrase doesn’t work for either of you – change up your approach.

Related: 10 Steps to stop loving someone but stay friends.

5. Be direct and open:

They may not want to hear it at first, but they will eventually understand what you’re trying to say.

You are being rejected because of something that happened in your life, or because you have become a different person in some way (and so now things feel awkward).

When ending a relationship/interest with someone else, it’s always best to go ahead and get right down to business – don’t be afraid of hurting their feelings, and don’t beat around the bush when telling them how things really are.

If done correctly, it can save both parties from many uncomfortable moments going forward. Try practicing saying phrases such as I’m sorry, but I think we should just remain friends.

We aren’t a good match, I think I need more time before we become natural again. Think about what each phrase means then rehearse those words out loud until they come out naturally! Practice makes perfect after all.

6. Give yourself credit for having enough strength to tell them:

Chances are if you’ve put off, ending things with somebody due to emotions, there was likely another reason(s) holding you back.

Maybe fear of confrontation, failure, or sadness made it difficult for you to truly communicate your needs clearly. If that is how things were before now, don’t worry.

If you did have a hard time articulating what’s really going on between you and whomever else, chances are once words get said – those feelings will no longer exist within you.

After all, even though saying goodbye might feel bittersweet at first, goodbyes can be bittersweet too.

As mentioned before they may take it hard initially but in time they will feel better about themselves and life will go on. The bottom line is always to remember: You’re doing what’s best for everybody involved.

7. Stick with your decision:

Once again: Make sure they know that it’s not anything they did and that their personality is still a wonderful thing.

After all, you’re doing what’s best for both of you in your present situation. 

People can always rebuild themselves later on, but only if they know they are loved – even if not romantically by another person (which most times isn’t an issue at all).

If done right, once word gets out about how responsible/mature you were with ending things; others may begin looking up to and respecting you more than ever before.

For now, though don’t beat yourself up over having to end things prematurely and quickly move forward into healthier endeavors that await you out there in life. Remember : Everything happens for a reason,

8. Offer friendship right away:

Unless, of course, they show a lot of hostility toward you, are no longer wanting things to work between you two – in which case don’t push it.

Instead, give them some space and keep your promise not to bother them anymore.

Understand that once we have somebody in our heads as it were, being separated from the said person for an extended period of time can be hard on us.

For that reason try making sure they’re comfortable before leaving their side – if at all possible, bring over food (or order takeout).

So they can eat something nice, play the music that makes them feel good, or even see a movie together. With time others may begin looking up to/respecting you more than ever before.

Also read: 21 Psychological tricks to get someone to like you

9. Ask if they’re doing okay:

Even if a relationship ends over something that is sad or that leaves one person feeling hurt, still make sure to end things on a positive note. Tell them you care about them and are there for support if needed.

Keep in mind: If your friendship has lasted through many good times as well as bad, parting on good terms doesn’t mean it will never happen again; things can always change.

What’s important is that now there’s closure and sometimes that’s what matters most. Just remember not to pressure anybody else into hanging out more than once every blue moon.

Life happens after all. If done right, once word gets out about how responsible/mature you were with ending things, others may begin looking up to and respecting you more than ever before. 

For now, though, don’t beat yourself up over having to end things prematurely and quickly move forward into healthier endeavors that await you out there in life.

10. Be sure to end on a good note:

Even though you have had a hard conversation do not rush off feeling as though all hope is lost with that person.

Rather, maintain some degree of positivity during your final remarks. Mention how much fun you had in time with your friend/lover or make some statement regarding keeping in touch via email/phone calls etc.

Having done all these things correctly will mean: You did not sound rude. Your tone was warm and non-confrontational.

You were direct and open. You did not apologize. You offered friendship right away. You gave future directions for communication. You asked if they’re doing okay.

Any negative feelings between yourself and said person should now feel like water under the bridge. There is no reason to dwell upon bad feelings any longer.

Instead, focus on what positives can still come out of their separation from you. For example, maybe now they can meet somebody else who’s better suited to them or something like that. After all, everything happens for a reason.

Now it’s time to move forward into other areas of life (where hopefully new challenges/relationships await!).

Do so responsibly knowing full well others may be looking up at you now more than ever before. Remember: Everything happens for a reason.

Final thoughts

Trust your guts, if handled correctly, your friend will not hold it against you. There is no need to second guess yourself after doing everything above.

If there truly isn’t a romantic interest left, most people won’t put forth an effort in trying to turn it around.

Plus now you get to keep and enjoy friendships with people who appreciate you just as much as before. Good luck.

Recommended reading:

How to say goodbye to someone you don’t want to leave?

How to let go of someone you can’t be with?

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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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