Here's How To Turn Someone Down Without Hurting Their Feelings

We've all been there on one side or the other. Getting dumped or turned down is notoriously tough, but at times, we forget that it can be just as difficult being on the other side of things. Rejecting someone can be just as emotionally taxing and confusing as getting dumped. Still, not only is it important to stand up for our needs, but it's also important that we never keep someone out of the dating game due to our own reluctance to let them down. Even so, pretty much no one wants to say "I'm not interested," and that fact can make going the ghosting route all the more appealing. 

We all know that ghosting or "curving" is far from ethical in its own right, but this begs the question: is there actually a fair way to reject someone? We're here to tell you that there is. Of course, ending a long-term relationship or breaking up with someone you live with definitely makes things a bit more complicated. When it comes to the elusive how-to-dump-someone-we've-just-started-dating quandary, though, rest assured: there's a right and a wrong way to do things. Once you know the formula, it'll be much easier to look at letting someone down as a part of life and not a majorly anxiety-inducing prospect. Knowing how to let someone down will make dating easier for not only you, but also for the people you date.

Get to the point

When it's time to tell someone you're not into them, it's tempting to say just about anything but "I'm just not that into you." In reality, though, that might be exactly what needs to be said. In this situation, being direct is actually the best way to go. The trick is knowing how to be direct without being hurtful. When you first start dating someone, the reason you don't want to be with them may be something that would hurt them to hear. 

Find a way to be honest without being too honest (via Relish). For example, if the guy you went on a date with talks way too much about himself and you can tell you two aren't meant to be, you're going to want to let him down easily. Rather than ghosting him or saying "you're too self-absorbed for me," try something like "I had a great time with you, but I don't think we'd make a great couple. I wish you the best!" It's both clear and kind, which is the ideal combination for times like these. Be quick and definitive, so there's no confusion.

Glamour offers advice for turning someone down for a date. If you get a text from someone asking you out on a date, avoid thinking "how do I say this without coming off rude?" Instead, try to just be honest and polite. Something like, "I really appreciate you asking, but I'm not interested in anything romantic" — short and to the point. 

Know that no means no

We've all heard "no means no," and in theory, we get it. Still, remembering this when we're already feeling guilty can be especially difficult. Remember that all you really have to say is "no," and that should be respected (per Relish). As we've said, letting someone down easily can be difficult, and emotions are running high. Keep this in mind if someone doesn't take your 'no' for an answer and continues to pursue you. While we're generally against ghosting, this doesn't apply when you've already been clear with someone. If you've told someone you aren't interested and they continue to try to be with you, it's okay to either be firmer with your rejection or stop responding entirely. 

This may seem obvious now, but at the moment, it can be far more difficult. Remember that there's no need to say you're sorry or continue to entertain someone to who you've already said no to and who isn't respecting your boundaries. There are plenty of reasons why someone may not stop pursuing you even when you feel that you've been clear, as Mangoful notes. No matter the reason, this is both a sign of disrespect and an indication that you should continue to assert your boundaries. Ultimately, you are right to end things when they don't feel right, and even when it's difficult, rest assured that what you feel is valid and that being firm and kind is always the way to go.