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How to Reject Someone? 40 Effective Ways

How to Reject Someone? 40 Effective Ways

Updated on Sep 29, 2023

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

How to Reject Someone 40 Effective Ways

So, you want to know how to reject someone… but don’t wanna seem like a jerk?

Then you are at the right place!

I know you hate this feeling of letting down someone who likes you a lot. It’s a heartbreaking moment for the other person, and if not done correctly, it can even traumatize you.

So, to help you avoid that, let me walk you through this hard way…

How to Reject Someone? – 40 Ways

I know you don’t want to break another person’s heart… and you probably wish to find your way out of this situation without uttering a word.

But, unfortunately, now you’re in it and the only way out is facing it. The sooner it’s done, the less pain for both of you. Just believe in your choices, and get on with it…

1. Prepare yourself, mentally

Rejection hurts… You and I both know it. And even though you can try all you want, the other person will take it badly. So, the best thing to do here is to mentally prepare yourself to face the situation.

Oftentimes, we get so winded and anxious about others’ emotions that we forget to understand our own thoughts.

Understand that you want something different in life and there’s no harm in it.

2. Communicate your thoughts

Sometimes, when someone proposes, it becomes difficult to understand how to react to it.

You know that you don’t have similar feelings for them but still feel bad to reject them upfront… and unknowingly, you might lead them on. But that will only make them more hopeful.

So, be calm and understand what you want to say to them. Honestly, in this case, just be direct that you don’t want this relationship. That’s it!

3. Keep smiling, baby!

It’s a common scene that when most people reject, they carry a frown face with them just like Florence Pugh (You know what I mean). Make sure you are not a part of this crowd and meet them with a neutral face.

When the difficult part comes up, don’t be stressed. Keep a smile on your face and express your feelings. But do not smile too much, or it might make you insensitive and rude.

Talk politely and make them understand that you both have different perspectives and opinions.

4. Don’t say sorry

You can either choose to narrate a big speech or choose to say, “I am not interested,” but please do not apologize for your rejection because you are not wrong.

Never say statements like “I am sorry, but I don’t have time” or “I am extremely sorry, but I am not interested” because the person dealing with rejection will be bound to think that it’s your fault.

You’ll save yourself and them a million painful and sobbing nights, so be proud of yourself for being realistic.

5. You can choose your mode of communicating the rejection

If you are not okay with a physical meet or you know they will make some personal attacks on your character, it’s okay to stick with calls or texts.

Just ensure your message is clear and discreet, and don’t give them any chances to pursue you thereafter.

You can say “I liked the time we spent, but I don’t want to do that anymore”. Or you can call them up, talk about your recent outing, and reject it with “So, that time was fun, but I would not be doing this again, I am not interested.” 

I am sure these sentences will do the trick and save you from some awkward situations.

6.  Don’t give them false hopes

During your rejection speech, smudge all lines that can give them any hope at all.

I know, their sad faces send you on a guilt trip and it feels easy to give them false hopes with “I am sure if we meet 5 years later, this will work” or “When I get promoted, maybe then I can think of dating”.

Your lie might make them feel good for this moment, but when they will realize the truth, it will worsen the situation. So, say what’s on your mind without any filters.

7. Don’t drag the situation

When you drag a situation, you only postpone the days of them getting hurt, not eliminate it.

So, if you already made up your mind to reject them, do it as early as possible. Because if you take time and keep delaying it, you’ll likely feel uncomfortable silence creeping over your thoughts at 3am

I know you don’t want that, so it’s better that you gather all of your courage, call them or ask them to meet, and get done with the uncomfortable talk. Because only when you do this, both of you will be free to focus on things that really matter.

8. Use ‘I’ statements

The person you’ll reject will not be okay when you tell them the truth. No one will ever be. So, kindly don’t use statements like “You are not someone I want” or “You are overly emotional with love, and I cannot deal with that.”

Instead, use “I” statements such as “I am currently more focused on my career” or “I do not have the capacity to handle a serious relationship right now, so it’s better to find someone who would.”

9. Don’t try to explain everything

The person getting rejected might want to know the reason behind the rejection. They might think that if they try to fulfill your demands, you will accept them… and honestly, they have the right to know that.

But this doesn’t mean you must explain every small thing for the rejection. It’s better if you say something like, ‘I don’t have romantic feelings for you’ or ‘ I think we aren’t a good match,’… or any other statements that don’t need any explanation.

10. Keep the blame games away

If someone proposes to you and you have made up your mind to turn it down, try not to blame them.

This is because when you go on with sentences like “I do not like how clumsy you are” or “You distract me with a lot of unnecessary gossip, and I cannot have that” might impact them badly.

They might not respond to it instantly and will move on, but it will remain in their heart forever. So, while rejecting them, don’t say anything that affects them in the long run.

11. Say “NO”

Understand that it is just as normal to say “No, I don’t have similar feelings for you” as it is to say “I love you!”

You can’t force the liking on yourself and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, be brutally honest about your feelings and move on with your life peacefully. Just make sure you don’t hurt them in the process.

12. Be respectful

You might be on this side today, but someday you may get rejected too. I am not trying to bring negativity into your love life. All I want to say is that the person on the other side is vulnerable. They have put their hopes on your answer.

So before you reject them, try to put yourself in their shoes. Choose the way you want to reject but construct your words very carefully.

Think of it this way, how would you want to be rejected? I am certain you would want them to be direct but kind and understanding.

So, be that person for this guy or girl. This will not only make you feel less guilty but the other person will respect you more.

13. Appreciate their emotional strength

If you want to play it safe, this small trick can do it all. When a person gets rejected, they feel a blow in their self-worth. Somewhere, they’ll always feel like they were never enough. So, if you reject them, please see that they don’t get caught up in that spiral.

Compliment their emotional strengths with words like, “I know you will understand this, that’s one of your very strong traits” or “You have a high sense of emotional intelligence, and that’s great”. 

When you say things like this in your short speech, it will help them cope with rejection than otherwise.

14. Specify your needs

You don’t want to accept their proposal because you have different needs, right? So, admit to that!

Most of the rejection conversations are painful because the person who rejects doesn’t properly communicate their needs to the other person.

And that’s why they still keep their hopes up. Don’t do this! Clearly state if you want something different.

For example, you can say ‘I would have loved your commitment if I was looking for something serious but right now I really need time for myself and figure my life/career out’.

15. Don’t let the moment get too serious

Maybe your friend or an old acquaintance proposed to you. In this situation, it’s better to not let the moment heat up too badly… otherwise, it’ll get too awkward for future interactions.

Say something like “I have known you for a very long time and I respect the relationship we had all this time. I don’t feel the same way as you do and it’s better if we don’t take things forward”. 

Hopefully, they will get the message and stop the situation from getting too messy.

16. “It’s better that we stay friends”

Listen to Harry Styles when he says “as it was” because some relationships are better the way it was.

While rejecting, explain to them that you value your friendship more than this. Convince them that this rejection doesn’t change your respect towards them and it’s better to continue being good friends.

These lines are important to convey because it gives them hope that it might actually be better to stay friends after all. Otherwise, the person rejected may feel that they have destroyed their relationship with their feelings.

17. Take special care of a friend’s situation

When a friend puts their friendship in line for something more and gets rejected. They feel crushed more than usual. So, do not go all out and ask them to be friends like before.

Remind your friend that you would love to remain friends but you will understand if they need more time. That way, it doesn’t overwhelm them with the future of this relationship now that they are rejected.

18. Don’t dwell on past mistakes

If you have made the decision to reject them, please be sure that it’s dictated by your feelings, not by your past relationship. Because if you don’t know how to get over someone who rejected you, you will likely do the same to this person.

So, while you are at it, do not talk about your past mistakes at all. Refrain from saying things like, “I went too fast in my last relationship, and it led nowhere” or “I was too trusting, and in the end, I was alone”.

You will only end up giving them reasons to stick to their hopes in this relationship.

19. Meet face-to-face

Face-to-face conversations are the best if you want to reject someone politely. It won’t only mean you can handle the situation reasonably, but it also means that you respect them enough to have this conversation in person.

In a world where rejection over texts has become extremely common, you took the effort to talk it out in-person and help each other to look past it.

But if you know that the person might get aggressive or will start showing bad behavior, it’s absolutely okay to stick to texts and avoid meeting them face-to-face.

20. Take a friend

If you know that the person you will reject will start personal attacks on you verbally or physically, it’s better to take a trustworthy friend along in this situation.

If both of you will meet in a cafe, ask your friend to be seated a few seats behind you or wait outside. This will help you to stay alert or call for help if the situation turns aggressive.

21. Talk about your current life

Another way to reject someone honestly is by talking about your current life. Tell them that you aren’t interested in them because you already have eyes for someone else.

You can construct your thoughts like this “I wish I had the same feelings as you but I am already dating someone else. I am committed to them, and that’s where my loyalty lies”.

When the other person gets to know that you like someone else, they’ll refrain from making any other move. But if they aren’t, take it as a red flag and drop the conversation with them as soon as possible.

22. Be firm on your decision

If you want to reject them, do it. Do not let yourself go on a few more dates because that will soften the blow. Because if you start dating, and then you reject them, they’ll build more hope for this relationship… and when that breaks, boy, it hurts!

So, be firm with your decision. Whether you have an in-person conversation or a call, do not do anything that your heart doesn’t give you permission for.

23. Don’t worry too much

Sometimes people just don’t take rejection well, even if you decline them very gently. In that case, remember it’s not your fault how they react.

You did everything you could, reassured them with affirmations, and expressed your emotions without filters. If they cannot handle it sensibly, then it’s on them.

You can only make sure it doesn’t hurt that badly, the way they tackle the hurt depends upon them.

Please keep in mind that if they are being immature with the conversation, you don’t do the same. This can shape the way you will handle conflicts in your future relationships.

24. Talk about the mismatched vibes

Sometimes, it happens that you find someone attractive and start to flirt with them on texts and social media, with the hope of something new. But after a few conversations, you realize that the vibe is kinda meh. That’s okay, it happens to everyone.

To reject them, you can say this “I thought that we could be great, but I am not feeling a romantic connection between us. Let’s not take this any further, or one of us will be hurt”.

This is much better than the vague explanation that can get them confused.

25. Tell them you feel the chemistry is off

This is different from the romantic connection mentioned above. If you feel the chemistry is off, everything will eventually find an end, so why not now? So, if you find yourself on the other end of this unbalanced seesaw, make sure they know that.

You can say “we don’t match emotionally and I don’t see this going anywhere. So, it’s better if we just stop this right there”.

When you express your emotions clearly rather than ghosting them, they will get a definite answer. This will ensure they get the respectful closure they deserve and that you set the boundaries you need.

26. Be blunt

If you constantly acted distant with them, turned down their dates, said no to their gifts, and reverted their proposal with a ‘No’, then it’s time to be the bad person in their story.

I know it is hard, and you aren’t this kind of person, but hey, if they don’t respect your boundaries, it’s time to set the fence really high.

Call them up or text them that you are not interested in them. This way you will make it crystal clear that there is no point to expect anything from you because you won’t change your mind.

27. You can give some details

If you have gone on a few dates, it’s better to state the reasons for your disinterest in them.

Suppose you went on three dates before you want to call it quits. In today’s dating world, the third date is usually when you have hopes of becoming exclusive.

So, it’s better that you tell them the reasons you don’t want that label.

If you have separate goals and aspirations, let them know that. If you see there’s no chemistry going on between both of you, spill that too.

Be kind and compassionate because the third date rejection hurts even more than the rejection on the first date.

28. Focus on your needs

If you’re following your instincts and know that this person is very different from your needs, it’s wise to say this very clearly.

Say, “I am not interested in dating you right now because I identified my needs are different from your efforts. If this continues, both of us will be dissatisfied in some way or another. So, for our mental health, it’s better if we don’t pursue this. I will not change my mind.”

29. Be prepared to adapt

You can always know how to politely reject someone, but you can never know how they will react.

Will the other person feel okay? Will they get mad at you?

You cannot say. So, it’s better to have some lines ready, so you can handle the situation correctly.

If they try to manipulate you, say, “I know what you wish I was, but I cannot be that person, and it’s hurting you… I know but trust me, you are much better without me”.

If they list all the things they did for you, tell them that you didn’t know the “feelings” behind it.

30. Pick the correct time

I know I have told you not to drag the situation but don’t you think it’s better to wait for a good time before you reject them?

Maybe if they have a birthday or promotional event coming up, don’t have a difficult conversation with them at that time. Not even 2- 3 days before.

It will be too harsh on them, and they won’t have the time to figure out a way to get over someone who rejected them.

Again, don’t reject them when you have an upcoming event because I know it will not be easy on you too. So, pick a time that is neutral for both of you and then go ahead with this very wisely.

31. Find a good place

The location of a difficult conversation like rejection really matters!

Imagine you were in the situation, would you like to be rejected in the middle of a crowd? No, right?

So, pick a quiet place and time when you know there will be no crowd. But if you hesitate to do it alone, a place where people are not interested in each other’s lives will be a wise choice.

This will give both of you the chance to speak your mind clearly without getting too anxious about the people around you.

32. Start with a general conversation

I know it’s tempting to get over it once and for all. But you must make sure the air is not already tense before the conversation.

It’s always a great tip to loosen the heat with some casual conversation, so you aren’t nervous before the big deed.

You can talk casually and gradually glide with “So, listen I have been thinking about us and…” or “I was looking for a chance like this to tell you that I…”

A smooth transition like this helps both of you prep-up. They take the conversation more sensibly, and that’s the goal, right?

33. Shift your focus on them

After you are done with the hard part, don’t just say goodbye and leave them there. Allow them to react appropriately. Be kind and empathetic if they get sad or even annoyed.

You don’t have to show support if they are outright angry at you. But if they aren’t, tell them that it just wasn’t meant for you and appreciate your journey with them.

Console them that they will find someone they desire and wish them good luck. This helps both of you avoid any sour memories of the conversation and move on properly.

34. Skip the fake BF-GF call

I know that it sounds easy to ask a friend to be a fake love interest and call them up to reject them. But please abstain from doing such childish activities.

You might be successful in getting out of this awkward situation, but you will still hurt them more than an honest conversation would.

So, be mature and face these situations because not every time you will get to pick up the easy way. Take the high road and approach them wisely.

If they keep pestering you even after you show disinterest, only then can you pull up this act. So, make sure you trust the person enough to act as your fake bf/gf and reject them.

35. Don’t joke around

There’s a reason why nobody searches “how to reject someone in a funny way” because you don’t. That’s it.

Don’t make a joke during this conversation because when you say things like “You and I, you know we wouldn’t have worked out” or “You and I, we are like cheese on ice cream”, they would take it as an insult.

There’s no point in making the air less intense with sarcasm, as that makes you a jerk. So, be a nice pal and hold your sarcastic thoughts inside your gut and lock it.

36. Lie if you need to

If you are dealing with a person who keeps pushing for a romantic connection even after your kind rejection, then just lie. You owe yourself good mental health, and if they respected that, they would have stepped back.

So, if you are done with all of these tricks, and yet they act creepy towards you, it’s okay to lie to get out of that situation.

Tell them that “I will move to another city after a month” or “My parents don’t allow me to date” or “You look like my ex” (it’s my personal fav).

These sentences make the situation very awkward, and that’s just what you need to get out of it.

37. You can simply send “Thank You” and “No” texts

If you have decided to reject them over texts, then use this way. First, start with a simple thank you. This genuinely shows that you respect their efforts.

After the appreciation, keep your message short and tell them that you are not interested in another date or an invitation or you can say “I am flattered with your plan, but I am afraid I can’t move forward” or “I had a good time with you, but that is not going to work out tbh”. 

Do not try to write too much, especially on texts. You don’t want to give any false hope to them.

38. Say you aren’t ready. That’s it.

Most people use this to get out of a relationship they don’t want to be in. So don’t feel guilty if you want to choose this option in your speech.

They might persuade you or try to change your thoughts on this but stay firm and let them know you aren’t ready to cross that boundary right now.

You can say something like, “I know what you are saying, but I am just not ready. Please do not try to change my mind”.

A sentence like this clearly tells them that it’s worthless to change your mind and accept your rejection with time.

39. Say no again, if you need to

A lot of persuasions, convincing, and manipulation goes around once you reject them. So, if needed, end the conversation with a “no” yet again.

You can be straightforward if your kindness wasn’t well received by them before.

Say something like “I know what you are trying to say, but it’s a no from my side” or “I have already made up my mind, and it’s still a no”. Let them hear it properly, process it, and then you can leave.

40. Do a little self-introspection

I spent the entire list to make sure you know the right way to reject them but here I want to talk about you.

I know it’s a daunting task, and you already feel the guilt in your heart. But understand that what you feel is normal.

We all experience situations when we are not attracted to someone, and that’s why it’s better to end it right there than to give them false hopes and break their heart bit by bit, every single day.

No one wants to hurt another person, but if it’s for good, then you can just relax a bit and stop the negative self-talk you have given yourself all these times.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

Listen, rejection can never be easy. No matter how kind or thoughtful you are. You can never control a person’s way of absorbing hard emotions.

So, be the greater person here and find the kindest way possible to turn them down for their own good. Do not feel guilty, and trust your decision.

Don’t feel bad about it… you’ll only save them a worse heartbreak!

Are you interested to know more about ‘Signs You Shouldn’t Give Up On Him’ then click here?