How to Tell Someone You’re NOT Interested (Without Hurting Them)
It can be incredibly challenging when you meet a guy who’s not your cup of tea, and you have to let him down gently. You know how much rejection hurts. So, how do you navigate a conversation like this with kindness and respect and make sure you’re both on the same page? In this article, I’ll show you how to tell someone you’re not interested and make the guy in question happy about it.
Should I ghost him instead and save myself the trouble?
If you’re out there on the dating scene right now, chances are high you’ve been ghosted at some point. And I’m willing to bet that didn’t make you feel good.
Ghosting sucks, and it’s the coward’s way out. Even though we know how much it hurts to be ghosted, we’d rather ghost than say, “sorry, I’m just not that into you.” According to a survey by Plenty Of Fish, 78% of people aged 18 to 33 reported being ghosted at some point while using the app. A staggering amount of people left without closure, wondering if their date got incredibly busy, arrested without bail, or literally fell off a cliff somewhere. Can we all act like adults, think about other people’s feelings, and do the right thing?
Ghosting might seem like the best way to signal to someone you’re no longer interested in. But there are much better ways to break the news (without breaking hearts) and not accumulate a sh*t-load of bad dating juju. I’ll admit that mastering the art of letting someone down gently is scary at first, but it won’t be long before you’re a pro.
So, whether it’s after the first date, a couple of dates, or more, once you realize that this guy is not your guy, it’s time to call it quits and move on. Don’t drag this out longer than necessary. Rip that bandaid off.
Should you text him, call him or do it in person?
If you’ve been on less than 3 dates: It’s acceptable to tell him you’re not interested via text. You don’t owe this guy anything.
If you’ve been on 3 to 5 dates: Texts are not okay here. If you don’t want to do it in person, pick up the phone and call him. But it’s preferable just to let someone know at the end of the date if you know you aren’t interested in seeing them again.
I know it’s easy not to want to hurt the guy’s feelings and smile and say, “I’ve had a great time too; I would love to do this again,” when you don’t mean a word of it. Try not to say something you don’t mean. Think of it this way, would you want him to say he wants to see you again when he has no intention of doing so?
If you’ve been on more than 5 dates: It’s important to tell him you’re not interested face to face. This is the grown-up, responsible, and kind thing to do when you’ve spent this much time with someone.
Side note: If the guy in question has scared you, e.g., sent you a barrage of texts confessing his love for you, told you a story about how he wants to murder his ex-wife, or has started stalking you, it’s acceptable to ghost. Get away from him ASAP.
How to tell a guy you are not interested over text
If you’ve only been on one or two dates with a guy, instead of ghosting, send him a short and sweet text message. When you’re dating and dealing with people’s feelings, you have to always be mindful of how you want to be treated.
The great thing about a text is you can plan what you want to say and edit it as many times as you want until you’re happy, instead of accidentally blurting out something you don’t mean, like, “sure, I would love to be friends…”
This is how to tell someone you’re not interested politely. Thank him for his company, tell him why you don’t think he’s a good fit for you, and wish him all the best. Keep it short and simple. No more than a couple of sentences. Oh, and always sign your name at the end. You don’t know how many other women this guy is talking to, and you don’t want to get a text back saying, “sorry, who is this?” or have him confuse you with someone else!
My rule is to be honest. If you’re looking for commitment and it’s clear he’s not ready to give you that, explain that to him. If you feel like the chemistry is just not there, say that. And if you’ve met someone you like more, tell him. The goal is to make sure you give the guy answers so he’s not left wondering what he did wrong or feeling bad.
Examples of how to tell someone you’re not interested over text
A rejection text is simple to write and send (it literally takes minutes), and this is how to tell someone you’re not interested nicely and have them respect you for being honest.
“While I had a ton of fun going out with you, I’m looking for something serious, and I think you’re in a different head-space, which is totally cool. All the best.”
“Thanks so much for last night. I had fun, but I don’t think there’s a connection between us. I know it’s awkward having these conversations, but I don’t want to ghost. Wishing you the best of luck.”
“Hanging out yesterday was fun, but I gave myself some time to think about it, and I don’t think there’s a spark between us. Best of luck on all your future dates :).”
“Thank you for a really enjoyable evening. After thinking about it, I’m not getting a romantic vibe between us. I don’t want to waste your time going out again. Take care.”
“I genuinely had a lovely time with you tonight, but I don’t see things working out long-term because we’re at different places in our lives. It was fun getting to know you better—thanks for asking me out!”
“I enjoyed our date, and you made me laugh a lot, but I know we’re not looking for the same things. There’s someone out there much better suited to you, and I know you’ll find her!”
“We’ve had some nice dates, but my intuition tells me we’re not compatible long-term. Thanks for being great company!”
“I think you’ve got a lot to offer someone, but I don’t think we’re a great match. I’m crossing all my fingers that you find your person!”
“Thank you for dinner last night and all the effort you put into planning our date; that meant a lot to me. I need to be honest—I felt more of a friend vibe between us. Good luck on all your future dates :).”
“Thank you for drinks last night; it was fun! Having slept on it, I don’t think I’m ready to date anyone seriously right now, and I don’t want to lead you on.”
“Hey, can I be honest with you (his name)? I didn’t feel much of a connection the other night, and I don’t want to keep you from finding the right woman for you. Wishing you the best.”
“I know we were talking about meeting up again sometime this week. But I’ve had some time to think about it, and I just don’t think there’s any spark here. You’re awesome, though!”
“It was fun meeting up last night, and I think we had a great conversation. I just want to be straight with you—I don’t see this going anywhere. I know you’ll find the one for you!”
“I’ve enjoyed our dates so far, but I’m looking for XYZ, so I don’t think we’re a good match. Good luck out there!”
“Thank you again for dinner the other night and for asking me out again. I need to be honest with you—I’m not feeling anything between us, so I think it’s best if we don’t go out again. Your person is out there; I know it!”
“Our date was fun today, and I think you’re great, but I don’t think we have enough in common to build a relationship. I hope you find someone amazing.”
Although receiving a rejection text might be a blow to a guy’s ego, to begin with, it’s much nicer than being ghosted. You’ve got a ton of examples now, so no excuses for disappearing on anyone.
Most of the time, guys will appreciate receiving a message like this so they know where they stand and can move on. It shows that you’re a mature, kind adult and a high-value woman.
How to tell someone you’re not interested in person
If you’ve been seeing this guy for five or more dates, I strongly encourage you to break the news in person. It doesn’t have to be awkward or painful. Here’s how to tell a guy you’re not interested anymore.
FYI: always do it in a public space where you have just enough privacy that no one can hear your conversation but enough people around that you don’t feel unsafe.
Before you tell him, think about why you’re not interested
Don’t just roll up on this guy and blurt out a load of stuff about how you just don’t think there’s a spark between you without giving it some real thought. Because when you’re telling someone you’re not interested in person, there will undoubtedly be questions. He’ll want to know why he’s not right for you.
Did he have bad breath? Did he talk too much? Or did he always wear the ugliest-ass shoes on your dates, and you just can’t be seen with a guy who wears footwear that bad?
Chances are, if you’ve gone out with him this many times, it’s something deeper than that. Perhaps you’re at different stages in your life, or your values are too different, or you’re just not excited about spending time with him. Whatever it is, there’s a way to communicate it respectfully.
If you’re not interested in this guy, there’s a greater than good chance that he doesn’t meet your love vision (I call this Little Love Step #2), so explain to him that you’re looking for XYZ and you don’t think it’s a match.
Even though you’re going to the effort of meeting up to tell someone you’re not interested in them, you don’t want to drag out the conversation any longer than it needs to be. This just makes everything awkward real fast.
Have somewhere to go or be after you arrange to meet with him. This will force you to cut to the chase and not ramble. Be direct. Remember, you’re not interested in this guy anymore, so don’t waste his time or yours.
I know it’s hard when you’re face to face with someone and there are feelings involved. You don’t want to hurt anyone. But you’re a grown-up. You have a right to date intentionally and only spend time with guys with whom you feel a genuine connection.
If you rushed into dating again too soon after your last breakup, explain that. If you’re still hung up on your ex, be honest. And if you kept seeing him even though you weren’t feeling it but were bored and craving company, tell him that in the nicest way possible. For example, you might say, “I think my intuition was telling me there wasn’t a spark between us early on, and I should have called it a day sooner than I did, and I’m sorry for that.”
And remember, it is okay to keep dating someone even though you didn’t feel a spark because you hoped it would develop. So if this is what happened, be upfront about it.
If you’ve been on more than three dates with a guy, it’s no longer acceptable to say, “I’m not interested.”
Wondering how to tell someone you’re not interested in a relationship? The key here is to be specific. If you can tell him exactly why you’re no longer interested (and it’s legit), he’ll completely understand.
If there was something he was doing that turned you off (like checking his phone at dinner, bragging too much, or putting his ex down), voice it. Most guys will find it helpful to know what they’re doing wrong so they can fix it.
I believe in dating karma. If you treat people like they don’t matter, it will come back to bite you in the ass. So whatever you plan on saying to this guy, make sure you practice kindness. Put yourself in his shoes. Think about what you would want to hear and how you would want to feel.
Emphasize what you did like about him and that you think he’s a nice guy (if he is). Remember that there are real feelings involved here. He might’ve already fallen hard for you or had a string of rejections. He might be feeling insecure or running low on confidence. So while you’re practicing honesty, make sure you couple it with kindness.
Don’t offer friendship as an alternative
It can be tempting when you tell someone you’re not interested in pursuing a connection anymore to offer friendship as a consolation prize.
“I don’t think the chemistry is there… I’m getting more of a brother vibe from you! We can still be friends?”
You both ended up dating because you’re looking for love, not friendship. If you genuinely love his company and can see the two of you becoming great friends, you have my permission to throw down the friends card. But if you’re only saying it to be nice, don’t offer friendship as an alternative. It will only reinforce to the guy that he’s being rejected.
Give him a compliment
Here’s how to tell someone you’re not interested in dating them anymore: be honest, be specific, and throw in a genuine compliment.
If you’ve gone out with this guy several times, there must be something that was drawing you to him and kept you returning for more. When you’re delivering bad news to anyone, adding a positive note can help soften the blow. Even if you feel like there aren’t many positives here, it’s easy to turn a negative into a positive.
Did he talk too much and not let you get a word in?
Tell him you loved learning about him.
Did you feel like he was too immature and not ready for a serious relationship?
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Tell him you had a lot of fun with him and that he made you feel younger.
Did he come on way too strong?
Tell him you love that he put himself out there and was willing to be vulnerable with you.
And if there are some endearing qualities you like about him, tell him. Share a specific moment from one of the dates that you loved or something he did that you appreciated.
End on a high note
Make sure you’re both on the same page at the end of your conversation and end things positively. Wish him well on his journey to find love. If you live in the same town, there’s always the chance you might bump into each other again at some point. Try and leave things in a good place.
What if he freaks out when you tell him?
If you text to tell someone you’re not interested politely, and they freak out by sending you a barrage of texts back that are abusive, hit that block button.
If you tell someone you’re not interested in person, and they say something disrespectful or try more than once to get you to change your mind, stay firm in your decision, and exit the situation as quickly as you can.
It’s not your responsibility to console him or continue to date him because you feel sorry for him. He’s a grown man. Let him deal with it.
Back in the day when I was dating, every time I was upfront with a woman about not feeling a connection or thinking it was not the right match, I always got a positive response. And every time a woman was upfront with me in this way, I felt the same. I admired and respected her more for her honesty and letting me move on without wondering what I did wrong.
The moral of the story? It’s pretty simple to tell someone you’re not interested in seeing them anymore, so don’t ghost. I know I sound like one of those commercials for tequila here but date responsibly, okay?
Do you prefer it when a guy lets you know he’s not interested in pursuing things further? Or when he ghosts and hopes you get the message? Let me know in the comments below!