These tips are also handy in other no-saying situations – for example, if your partner suggests something that you really don’t want to do.
- Try to be honest about why you don’t want to go out with them – without mentioning any physical reasons, such as their weight or poor fashion sense! For example:
‘I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel the same way.’
‘I appreciate the way you feel, but I don’t think it’ll work out.’
‘I’m very busy at the moment, so I just don’t have time for a relationship.’
If you can’t think of anything, then just say ‘no’. You don’t always have to explain yourself.
- Be firm, so they know you really mean it. But be nice too. Don’t laugh, or say they’re being ridiculous.
- To make the situation less awkward, try to start a conversation after your turndown. Like mention a film you’ve just seen, or something funny that just happened to you. If this doesn’t work, just politely excuse yourself and go talk to someone else.
- If the person is a friend, tell them that you appreciate their friendship and hope the two of you can still hang out. It may be awkward for a while and they may need some space to recover. But as long as you continue to treat them normally and with respect, the friendship may even grow stronger.
By the way, here are some specific tips on saying ‘no’ to sex.
Dealing with a persistent admirer
It can be flattering when someone takes an extra interest in you. But it can also become uncomfortable, especially if you don’t like them in the same way. It can be especially tricky if this person is someone you see around a lot, such as a friend or colleague.
But if they keep following you around and asking you out even after you’ve said ‘no’, you’ll have to take a firmer approach.
- Double-check your feelings. Are you certain you never want to go out with this person? By telling them to back off in a more direct manner, you increase the chances of hurting their feelings.
- If you’re sure you don’t want to go out with them, then gently highlight your differences. For example:
‘We don’t have enough in common and I am just not that interested.’
‘We don’t have the same hobbies or friends.’‘I am a lot younger/older than you and we have very different interests.’
- Keep your distance from the person and try to avoid eye contact or conversations. Try to avoid being alone with them. If the person talks to you, take a step back and stand well away from them. If you do have to work together, be polite but don’t touch them or talk more than is necessary to get the job.
- Tell a friend what’s happening so they’re aware of the situation, and help you out.
- Mention your current partner or crush in a positive way when your admirer is around. Never bring up your partner’s negative qualities as this can give the impression that you might break up with them. For example:
‘I’m so excited to see Jeff after school today. We’re really hitting it off!’
‘Oh, I can’t wait to finish work and spend time with Sally. She’s so gorgeous!’
If you’ve tried everything, and they still haven’t realised that you’re not interested, then it’s time for brutal honesty. Tell them that you are not attracted to them. Make clear that you can never see yourself going out with them. It may be hurtful, but hopefully they will get the picture and leave you alone.