How To Reject Someone Nicely When Dating

Spread the love

Wondering how to reject someone nicely? And if there’s even a way to make rejecting someone when dating… an “okay” experience? Then you’re in luck! Here’s our quick and complete guide to rejecting someone nicely when dating – making it better for both them, and you. So let’s start from the top.

What Exactly Does It Mean To “Reject” Someone When Dating?

So first off, what exactly does it mean to “reject” someone when dating? I mean, we hear it all the time, right?

“She totally rejected me…” “I’m just scared of being rejected….” “But what if he rejects me?” “Yeah, things didn’t work out with this person either. I got rejected again! Same old, same old.”

Now, there’s actually multiple meanings of the word “rejection”, but the most applicable definition when it comes to dating is:

“to not give someone the love and attention they want and are expecting from you.”

This is important to understand when it comes to how to reject someone nicely when dating, because it’s not that you’re disregarding them as a person.

You’re simply “rejecting” them, purely in the fact that – romantically – you can’t give them everything they would have perhaps wanted if they were looking for something serious and saw things progressing with you.

How To Reject Someone Nicely

Are You Sure You Want / Need To Reject Them?

Now before you go about rejecting someone when dating, you need to make sure that it’s the right thing; or at the very least – the right thing for right now (so that you’re not leading them on.)

So it could be helpful to ask yourself:

  • Why are you looking to reject this person?
  • How do you know that things can’t progress romantically with the two of you?
  • Are you sure you’re not just being too picky when dating? Are you definitely and fully, giving them a proper chance here?
  • In what ways aren’t you compatible?
  • What’s missing? Is it that spark; the chemistry, or a deeper connection?
  • Are you sure you’re not sabotaging yourself here, or letting your fears stand in the way?
  • In what ways are they not the kind of person you’re looking for?
  • What “deal breakers” are they breaking? Or what “musts” are they missing?
  • Could things potentially change in the future? Why / why not? And do you need to leave this door open, or is it better to give them the clarity now, that “this is it”?

See it’s not about questioning it to the point that you start doubting your decision to reject someone. It’s just about making sure and being able to do it with complete confidence.

Note: You should usually always trust your gut. After all, your intuition is shaped by your past experiences and the existing knowledge that you gained from them.

That’s why people so often say, “when you know, you know.” But it’s good to know for sure, and double check, so that you don’t go back and forth on the decision!

Understanding The Situation

When it comes to how to reject someone nicely when dating, the “how” part also actually depends on where the two of you are currently at. For example:

Have you just had one or two dates, and have now decided that – actually – this person is probably not the right person for you, and vice versa, so you want to be straight with them?

Or, have you been dating a while, really getting to know each other and building a bond, but you’ve started to realise that you’re better as friends, so – unfortunately (or not), you’re going to have to give some sort of rejection, by friend zoning them?

Review the situation, where you’re at, how long it’s been and what expectations the person might have, based on what you’ve previously spoken about – in order to gage the best way to go about “rejecting” them from there.

After that, simply run through our guidelines for how to reject someone nicely… and how NOT to, and you can’t really go too far wrong!

How NOT To Reject Someone (Avoid, Avoid!)

So before we look at how to turn someone down – how to reject someone nicely, the right way, I want to look at how NOT to… The things that you shouldn’t do.

And I know it’s hard to reject someone. It’s awkward, uncomfortable. It’s also difficult to get the balance right between being honest, and just sounding pretty brutal and harsh.

But here’s three “rules” if you like, when it comes to how to reject someone…

The No-Go’s When Rejecting Someone

See the no-go’s when it comes to rejecting someone, if you want to do it nicely, considerately, and the right way. (Which I know you do. That’s why you’re here.)

1) Don’t Over-Elaborate

So first up, when it comes to how to reject someone nicely, don’t panic and over-elaborate.

I know, I know, it’s easily done. You don’t know what to say, so you end up saying IT ALL… and more. Sound familiar?

You list every reason, you give far too long explanations, you go into too much detail, and even end up making up other reasons or lame excuses… Yikes! 

So remember – keeping it concise is always far better, when it comes to rejecting someone nicely.

You don’t have to say every single thing in order to be honest with them and give them the clarity / closure they need.

how to tell someone you're not into them

I mean, the guy could like you but be playing it cool, so you have to remember that you words can actually have a deeper effect than you first might have thought.

Similarly, if you recognise the signs he’s scared of rejection, you should be even more mindful that this person is likely to be especially sensitive to any form of rejection,.. So tread carefully, and think through what you’ll say before you say it.

2) Don’t Get Too Personal

Our next rule when it comes to how to reject someone nicely, is that you really shouldn’t make it too personal. 

DON’T: pick up on faults or insecurities of theirs – being overly-honest and insulting them… Or do so in a way that you know will make them feel bad about themselves… No, no, no. 

You know this already, but I thought it was worth highlighting in our “rulebook” if you like, as it’s definitely worth the reminder!

3, Don’t Blame Them

Our last essential no-go when it comes to turning someone down nicely, is shifting the blame onto them. After all, in most cases, no-one’s really to blame for the two of you not clicking.

It’s just how it is. It’s not a case of either of you doing anything wrong.

And I get it. You don’t know what to say. You don’t want to insult them with something like:

So instead, you think of something less personal (this is good, this is one of our rules!), but you then BLOW IT it by – potentially – giving them a complex or making them think there’s issues that aren’t really there. 

So for example, you might say something like:

“I didn’t like the way you did [this]. It made me think… [potential issue / insecurity.]” 

And maybe you didn’t like a particular thing that happened, but the truth is – that isn’t the main reason for you now rejecting them, so making it a big deal and blaming it on that because you don’t know what else to say, isn’t actually fair. It can make them overthink.

Or let’s say you blame it on maturity – you say you’re at different places.

Perhaps you pick up on something that they did, which wasn’t the best behaviour, but they end up then kicking themselves for it – even though that wasn’t actually the real reason you two haven’t worked out.

You see? You don’t mean to, but you’re still shifting the blame onto them, thinking it’s better or easier, but it’s certainly not the best way to go about it!

How To Reject Someone When Dating

It’s No-One’s Fault; Especially Not Theirs

So as mentioned, when it comes to how to reject someone nicely, you have to remember that, actually – unless they mistreated you or did something super horrible and wrong – it’s not on them.

You’re not feeling it, fine. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with them, just like when you get rejected, there’s nothing wrong with you. 

It just comes down to compatibility. Not everyone will be for you. You won’t click with everyone. You won’t feel it with everyone. That’s fine.

But you don’t need to knock them down when rejecting them. Remember what it feels like.

When you reject someone nicely and you do it the right way, you’re also less likely for things to unnecessarily be left on bad terms. (So it really is a win-win, to do it properly!)

How To Reject Someone Nicely

So how do you do it? What is the best way to reject someone? How do you reject someone nicely when dating? Well, let’s take a look…

1) Keep It Short But Sweet

When it comes to how to reject someone you want to:

  1. Be as honest as you can be, without being rude or insulting.
  2. Think of the biggest “deal breaker” / reason for why you don’t want things to go further romantically and find a way to summarise it that way.
  3. Tell them enough for it to make sense and for them to understand why you’re not feeling it – without going into too much depth that it really knocks them down.

See in most cases, this doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, it will be less awkward for them if it’s NOT a big deal.

If they have more questions about why you feel the way you feel or what you’ve said – if they’re feeling confused or want to understand anything anymore – they can ask, for sure.

So you just want to leave it at a point where it’s friendly and pleasant and they know that they can still talk to you, should they want / need to.

But unless they press for more clarity, just keep it short, sweet and concise – especially if it’s early days and you’ve only been on a few dates.

If you were dating for longer, you probably want to give more of an explanation, especially if things progressed. Don’t just brush them off. But always keep the rule:

You want to say enough to explain it… But not so much that it will make them feel bad. Also – keep it light, kind and as positive as you can be.

2) Do It Appropriately

Now when it comes to how to reject someone nicely, you may wonder whether it’s better to do it in person or over the phone.

This, however, entirely depends on the situation, like we touched on above. So for example.

  • If it’s early days – this isn’t like a breakup. Just at least give them a chance to meet them. Don’t cancel their date or stand them up… And try not to give them false hope, saying you’ll meet them in person, if you’re not sure if you will or want to. That PREVENTS later rejection, you see?
  • Had one date and weren’t feeling it on the date? Then you can actually tell them there and then. Just say something like… “Thanks for a lovely evening. I’m not sure if I’m feeling it romantically to be honest, but I’m more than happy to keep in touch!” Easy, job done. No false hope. Full transparency. Yes it may sting a little, but it’s better to do it there and then if you already know, rather than keep them hoping and wondering.
  • Was it just a couple of light dates and a no go? Then text is actually okay. Especially if texting is your normal form of communication. What’s better than that? A call. But only call if that’s familiar for you two – you’ve spoken on the phone before. This takes it back to not making it a big deal, to avoid the potential “humiliation” for them, and keep it light.
  • If it’s been a while, and it was heading towards the two of you getting a bit more serious (maybe you even recognised the signs he wants you to be his girlfriend soon), then of course, that’s a little different. You can easily have a mature conversation about it in person and leave it on a nice tone (or so you’d think!)
how to tell someone you're not into them

So, like we said, how to reject someone nicely (and whether that’s face to face or not) depends on the situation between the two of you – what’s been said, where you’re at, how you typically interact and how long you’ve been dating.

Ultimately, you’ll know the best way to do it. And if you’re unsure – put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself what you’d prefer.

3) Tell Them When You Know

The other thing I want to point out, is that – as hard as it is – you should tell them when you know.

Don’t delay being open with them, don’t put it off. (That’s why you’ll also tell them in person, straight after the first date if you know that early on!)

Just certainly – I repeat – certainly, don’t string them along, waiting until you’ve lined someone else up before you break it off with them. That’s a jerk move for sure!

If you are unsure about your feelings, tell them. Be open and honest the whole time. You don’t have to highlight every single doubt when it comes to light or make issues that don’t need to be there, but if you have concerns before making a final decision – raise them.

That way, if you do have to break things off and reject someone, they’ll at least expect it.

What If They Treated Me Badly?

Even if there is bad feeling, even if that person messed up, played you, hurt you perhaps – be the better and bigger person. 

Tell them how you feel, tell them what you liked, then tell them what you didn’t like or respect and walk away, but walk away civilly. 

It doesn’t mean you have to keep in touch, it doesn’t mean you even have to like them… But in a world where you can be anything, always be the best version of yourself, and always be kind.

You can’t expect to live a sweet life if you’re bitter.

Whatever happened, happened. At the end of the day, it’s their loss as you’re walking away now.

But you’ll feel better and come across better (making them kick themselves even more!) if you’re strong, firm, decisive but still kind.

So leave out the insults, and just say what you need to say – no less, no more.

That’s All For This One

So there we have it – you are now fully prepared for how to reject someone when dating… Or, more specifically, how to reject someone nicely. Wonderful!

Got any questions? Be sure to drop them in the comments box below.

Hope this helps. Take care. Don’t give up, or lose faith. The right person is out there somewhere and you’ll find them when you’re meant to.

In the meantime, apply our top dating app tips to date smarter and more effectively, and keep ploughing through!

Wishing you all the best!


How To Reject Someone Nicely
Photo of author
Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

Leave a Comment