July 19, 2024

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How To Let Someone Down Easy With Kindness And Grace — 13 Tips

13 min read

Have you ever wanted to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend and felt guilty about it? Do you wish to end your relationship with your SO but make sure you can still be on talking terms later? Do you respect your beau but feel you should end things as partners? This is a tricky situation that needs to be handled with extreme care. In fact, many people who are fine with dealing with rejection may still be clueless about how to let someone down easy. Well, we too believe rejecting someone’s advances is tougher than dealing with being rejected. 

But how to let someone know you don’t like them, without coming across as a heartless monster? In this article, we’ll help you with some proven tips on the dos and don’ts of letting someone down easy. And trust us, you can do it with grace. So, let’s begin without beating around the bush.

5 Things NOT To Do When Rejecting Someone

Yes, we’ve all been there – rejecting someone’s advances or telling someone we’re not interested in their love-bombing. But how many of us have handled such situations with grace? Rejecting someone directly isn’t easy. And it turns into a more difficult conversation when we attach emotions such as anger or fear to it. 

What if you hurt the other person? What if they don’t take the rejection well and harm themselves? What if they harm you? Well, there’s no rulebook that can address all such issues, simply because all relationships and equations are unique. But what we can tell you for sure is what NOT to do when rejecting someone. After all, it’s easy to reject someone you don’t fancy, right away, that to let someone down easy after leading them on. So, here are 5 things that you definitely should NOT do when you turn someone down:

Related Reading: How To Say No To A Proposal – 12 Polite Ways

1. Avoid or cut off all communication

So, what should you not be doing when you turn down a guy friend you’ve just met or a girl you’ve been seeing for a few months? Never ever avoid or completely dissociate when you’re letting someone know you don’t fancy them. Yes, the person may be annoying or maybe getting on your nerves with their constant game of persuasion. But at the end of the day, avoiding their concerns or shutting them out will either hurt them irreparably or cause them to start pursuing you with renewed vigor. So, don’t:

  • Block all their social media channels
  • Say things such as “I don’t wish to talk about it any longer”
  • Ghost them or disappear, go no-contact
  • Become too formal suddenly

2. Over-explain

The other end of the spectrum, when you’re trying to end things with someone, is to over-explain and come up with a whole list of reasons to justify that your relationship may not work out. Don’t. This doesn’t help but only makes things more complicated. Likewise, it only gives the other person as many ways to counter-argue and prove their point. For instance, if you tell them you don’t feel a romantic connection, they may ask you to wait and watch.

Stand your ground – you don’t need to overexplain yourself out of guilt or sympathy

3. Lie

One of my friends, Chris, was sort of a womanizer. And whenever he had to break things off with someone, he would tell her he already had someone else in his life. And this went on, till one fine day, two of his exes met. It turned out, he had told each of them that he was in a relationship with the other. Funny, right? That’s what happens when lies eventually catch up with us. 

So, remember, don’t lie just to offer a concrete excuse when letting someone down easy. No more “I am not ready for commitment” or “I am seeing someone else,” please. A direct “I don’t think things will work out between us” is a lot better.

4. Play the blame game

You may be tempted to end a relationship by putting all the blame on the other person. But playing games of blaming and shaming while letting someone down isn’t fair. Nobody is flawless, and whether you wish to accept someone’s flaws or not is totally your choice. But that doesn’t mean you can end connections with “It’s all because of you” or “If only you had been a little supportive.” It serves no purpose but only:

  • Ends up agitating the other person
  • Makes them shift the blame on you
  • Hurts the other person
  • Makes the other person argue, defending themselves

Related Reading: Accountability In Relationships – Meaning, Importance, And Ways To Practice

5. Delay the process

Remember, it’s better to end things as soon as you find out things won’t work, than to let someone down easy after leading them on. The worst thing you can do when rejecting someone is delay the process, either because you don’t wish to hurt the other person right away or are waiting for things to get better at their end (for them to get a job or get a scholarship) to drop the bomb. This can have various ramifications. For instance:

  • The other person might be encouraged to pursue you forever
  • You may be putting off other potential partners
  • You may be developing an unhealthy bond with the other person, making rejection difficult later

How To Let Someone Down Easy With Kindness and Grace

Picture this: You had an amazing date with that pretty girl you matched with on Tinder a week back, but you realize she doesn’t share your passion for traveling the world and that your life goals don’t match. And though you want to tell her you don’t wish to take things forward, you are clueless as to how to go about it politely. 

What can you possibly have to deal with if you reject a girl after the first date? How will a romantic rejection affect her life? What if you make her feel bad? Should you be dating her for a couple of more weeks , instead of letting her know how you feel right after the first date? Can you let someone down easy and still be friends? Too many questions like these may cloud your mind, but at the end of the day, you know you have to follow your heart. In this section, we’ll help you with 13 tips to reject someone without making a mess of it. So, here it goes:

1. Plan in advance

If you’re still wondering how to let someone down easy or politely decline a date, the simplest answer is that you should plan the whole rejection scenario in advance. Whether you’re planning to reject a girl after the first date or turn down a guy friend you’ve met a few weeks back, remember, planning helps you avoid or mellow down negative outcomes. So, in such cases, you can:

  • Plan an appropriate setting: Decide on a place where the two of you will be comfortable discussing this issue
  • Make sure there aren’t any distractions: Avoid noisy places or workplaces, classrooms, canteens, malls, or cafes, where distractions might take away the seriousness of the issue
  • Make sure they aren’t preoccupied with something: Be sure that they don’t have an important meeting, exam, or a family emergency on that day
  • Prepare for negative emotions: Plan how you would deal with their emotions, be it anger or sadness 

Related Reading: How To Deal With Sexual Rejection From Your Partner – 9 Tips

2. Distance yourself

The moment you decide you’re going to reject someone, make sure you start distancing yourself from them. There’s no point in meeting frequently at lunch hours or going out for more dates. In most cases, the other person will automatically lose interest if you distance yourself.

Infographic on how to turn someone down with kindness
Follow these to turn someone down with kindness

3. Drop subtle hints

You can always reject someone nicely via text and end things for good. But if you are still wondering how to let someone down easy without looking bad? Look for ways to prepare them for the eventual rejection. There’s no need to be obvious, but let them know they aren’t your priority. In this case, you can:

  • Stop answering their texts or calls all the time
  • Post photos of you going on other dates on social media
  • Avoid asking them for favors, such as dropping you home 

4. Do it in private

If you have the option, always opt for a private setting to break the news. It will save you and the other person some embarrassment. If you feel uncomfortable being alone with them, find a semi-private area of a café. Nobody likes being rejected in the middle of a crowd or even among known people.

5. Avoid involving friends

Yes, friends can be of great help when you seek support to deal with a breakup or need advice on your relationship. But don’t reach out to mutual friends, coworkers, or family members to reject someone, especially if you have to let someone down easy after a long relationship. This helps in:

  • Maintaining privacy
  • Avoiding unnecessary gossip
  • Preventing embarrassment

Related Reading: 8 Sensible Ways To Deal With Rejection

6. Be completely honest

As always, honesty is the best policy. So, there’s no point in making excuses or lying randomly to avoid them. In such cases, you need to:

  • Be direct and firm
  • Tell them about your intentions, without any kind of future faking or leading them on
  • Don’t keep beating about the bush

7. Say ‘no’ without guilt

Learn to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty. This is the most important step in rejecting someone. Trust us, you will be doing them a favor and saving their time and yours by doing this.

Rejection

8. Be serious

Are you curious about how to let someone down easy when you’ve become good friends? Yes, you may want to end things on good terms and be pally with your date, but when it comes to breaking up, do maintain some seriousness. Remember, if you joke around or say ‘No’ casually, it might encourage the other person to take your rejection lightly. Maintain a serious tone. Your facial expressions too should match your tone.

9. Set boundaries

Another very important part of rejecting someone is to set clear boundaries about how you wish to go about things afterward. Even if you are not ready to cut ties entirely, there should be some boundaries for being friends with an ex. Your boundaries can look like:

  • I won’t be able to take calls after 10 at night
  • I will not be comfortable going for vacations with you anymore
  • We can remain friends but I might have to unfriend you on Facebook

Related Reading: 12 Perfectly Valid Excuses To Break Up With Someone

10. Choose the right words

Someone once said, “What matters is not what you say but how you say things.” And this is true in this case too. When you reject someone’s proposal or interest in you, be sure to avoid:

  • Sarcasm
  • Sugar-coated words, as you may sound fake
  • Comments about their appearance
  • Phrases such as “You aren’t the right one for me,” to prevent yourself from sounding accusatory. Use “We aren’t right for each other” instead.

11. Listen

The hallmark of good communication is the ability to listen. And you can give the other person a chance to say what they want to for one last time. This is what you should focus on, especially when you let someone down easy after a long relationship, when they are already emotionally invested. But remember:

  • Don’t fall into the trap of emotional blackmail
  • Avoid arguments
  • Avoid further explanations

12. Compliment them

After you’ve made your stand clear, make sure you end on a positive note. Your rejection doesn’t need to be so harsh that the other person wallows in self-pity or sinks into depression after the breakup. So, say a word or two, complimenting them on their positive traits. Tell them you value them and wish them best of luck.

13. Don’t overdo the ‘friend’ game

Lastly, though you may want to end things formally and not continue the connection, you can choose to keep some channels open for future communication. This will help you keep track of their mental health and also offer help in the future. This works especially when you’ve been in a serious relationship with the other person. 

But can you let someone down easy and still be friends? You sure can, but make sure you stick to your boundaries. It’s important not to overdo the ‘friend’ game, as your involvement in their life can make moving on harder. So, be sure you’re not always available to meet or talk, but don’t ghost them either.

Now that we’ve given you a few ideas on how to reject someone you don’t wish to continue a conversation or connection with, let’s look at what you can do when you aren’t comfortable rejecting them in person. 

Related Reading: 8 Tips On What To Say To End A Relationship

How To Let Someone Down Over Text 

So, you’ve decided you don’t wish to go on another date with the guy you met on Tinder last week, or you want to end things with that pretty new intern you met at work a couple of months back. But then, you probably can’t do it in person because of a variety of reasons such as the ones listed below:

let someone down easy after a long relationship
“Hey, the date was perfect. But I somehow feel we don’t share any chemistry. So, let’s be friends for now.”
  • You don’t have the mental capacity to deal with their emotions face-to-face
  • You don’t wish to spend on a ‘last date’
  • You don’t have a private space to reject them
  • You are moving to another place soon and don’t have the time to end things in person

In such cases, the best bet is to break up over text. So, how to let a girl down gently by text or make a guy you’re no longer interested in stop texting you aggressively? Here are some tried and tested text messages that are sure to help you end things with grace without hurting the other person’s feelings:

Related Reading: 18 Sample Letters For Breaking Up With Someone You Love

  • “Hey, the date was perfect. But I somehow feel we don’t share any chemistry. So, let’s be friends for now.”
  • “Hi, you’re an amazing person. But I’m afraid our life goals are very different. So, it’s better we don’t go ahead with this.”
  • “You’re a good human being, but I’m afraid our personalities are too starkly different for us to be anything more than friends.”
  • “You’re an interesting person and I’d love to know you better. But I’m afraid I need to move to a new city for work soon and won’t be able to give you enough time. So, it’s better we end it here.”
  • “I feel honored to be approached by someone so intelligent. But trust me, I feel I may not match up to your standards and expectations in life. I believe it’s best to end it here.”

Key Pointers

  • When you reject someone, you shouldn’t do a few things such as ghost them, lie, or blame them
  • Some tips to reject people gracefully involve distancing yourself, being serious, setting boundaries, and saying ‘no’ without guilt, and keeping the door open just to be friends
  • You may choose to reject someone over text if you have valid reasons for not doing so in person

We hope we’ve been able to give you a comprehensive guide to rejecting unwanted proposals or ending things with someone you don’t fancy anymore. We also hope you now know how to let someone know you don’t like them politely. Remember, attraction has no logic. And people aren’t to be blamed if they pursue you in spite of the fact that you don’t see a future with them. 

But the problem begins when we avoid facing them and breaking the truth to them. After all, honesty is the best policy. To make them aware of what you think of them is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and untoward incidents in future. And as romance author Nicholas Sparks said in his novel At First Sight, “The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it…” So, you might be doing the other person a favor by letting them go and making them open up to other prospective matches. We can all end things by ghosting people, but at the end of the day, a little bit of kindness never harmed anyone. It just goes to show that you’re a good person.

FAQs

1. Can I reject someone without hurting them?  

Of course, you can. Yes, as human beings, nobody feels good after being rejected. But that does not mean it has to end in a toxic manner. You can be kind and end things in a mature manner. Ghosting will only hurt them and make things worse.

2. How do you tell a guy you’re not interested?

There are many ways to tell a guy you’re not interested. Yes, it can turn into a difficult conversation. But you can begin by dropping subtle hints, such as ignoring their calls and messages and not being available to meet. Don’t feel bad to say ‘No’ but do it with care. Don’t blame or argue when you reject them. Be kind and thoughtful. Explain why you can’t be together and end things peacefully.

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