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How to tell someone you don’t want to date them?

How to tell someone you don’t want to date them?

Honestly, it’s never easy to tell someone you don’t want to date them. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, especially if you care about this person and think you could be good friends. However, romantic feelings are not there for you and that’s not something you can fake. 

Though it’s difficult to tell someone you don’t want a relationship, that’s always the right thing to do. Stringing someone along is never okay; it will just make things worse for them and it will hurt a lot more when you finally come clean. 

To help you break the news, here’s how to tell someone you don’t want to date them in a kind way. 

How to kindly tell someone you don’t want to date them:

1. Meet in person:

This is not the kind of news you should say over text or in a 2-minute phone call. Meet in person and talk to them; face to face. Put yourself in their shoes and give them the respect they deserve. Especially if they’ve been nothing but good to you.  

Having an actual conversation about it is one of the kindest things you can do. Otherwise, they will be left wondering what they did wrong and trying but failing to understand why it didn’t work out. 

2. Don’t sugarcoat it:

Being kind when letting someone know you don’t want to date them is not about sugarcoating things. It might be uncomfortable, but you need to let them know exactly why you don’t want a relationship. This will give them the closure they need to move on more easily. 

Don’t dance around the subject and don’t use excuses like “it’s not you, it’s me”. Though that could be literally true, you must use your own words to explain yourself. Be clear, concise, and firm enough to let them know your mind is made up without being cruel or rude. 

3. Avoid small talk:

If you’ve asked to meet for a chat, it’s likely they already sense something’s not right. Don’t drag it along by making awkward small talk or trying to distract the other person with silly things. It won’t soften the blow, so tell them what the conversation is about right at the start. 

Whatever the reason may be, let them know right away. Perhaps you only want to be friends or you’re still not over your last relationship or you’re just not ready. They will appreciate your honesty and your respect for their time. 

4. Make it clear you can still be friends:

This is particularly important if you started as close friends and you don’t want to ruin that. Make it clear that you’re open to still being friends if that’s something they’d like to do. 

They may need some time apart from you to fully heal, but let them know that the door will be open when and if they’re ever ready to continue the friendship. It might be a bit awkward at first, but you’ll fall right back to being friends in no time. 

5. Consider writing them a letter:

If you’re not great with words or having difficult conversations is not your strong suit, writing them a letter could help. If they already know how hard it is for you to express yourself in person, they won’t be offended by a letter. Writing will help you process your feelings and find the right words. 

Then, you can read it to them or hand it over when you’re together so they can read it themselves. If you’re rejecting someone you don’t know very well; maybe someone introduced you or you met on a dating app, you can just turn the letter into an email or small text and send it over. It can be better than a face-to-face confrontation.

6. Remind them how great they are:

Last but not least, try to end the conversation on a positive note. Don’t make it sound like you pity them, just be honest and encouraging. They’re a great catch; just because it didn’t work out between you doesn’t mean they won’t find the right person. 

They have a lot to offer and you love many things about them, but they deserve someone who’s head over heel for them. People appreciate hearing good things about themselves, so make sure you say something nice. As long as it’s genuine, it will work well!


Telling someone you don’t want to date them in a kind way takes a little bit of preparation! You should think through what you want to say to avoid being blunt, confusing, or saying the wrong thing.

Try to see things from their perspective and talk to them the way you’d like to be talked to; that will help you be respectful and gentle. 

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