Posted March 26, 2013

I just wondered if there were some good ways to gently tell a guy “No”.


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  1. kitkat

    I sure wish I had a good answer to this question! I’ve had to tell a lot of guys “no” recently, and I haven’t done the greatest job of it.

    I think it really depends on the guy and how well you know him/what your relationship with him is like. Sorry, I know that’s kind of vague. Here are some examples of how I’ve done it and how it worked out:

    Guy #1: (guy from church who is a little younger than me and who I talk to and hang out with in groups with church and other activities) I simply said, “No thanks, I’m not interested.” It was a little awkward because we were in a group of little kids at church and I was trying to be discreet. He took it well and we’re still friends.

    Guy #2: (another guy from church (who, at the time, lived a couple hours away) that was VERY interested. We had talked about the possibility of maybe thinking about possibly pursuing a relationship. 🙂 After a few weeks, I decided “no.”) I asked my brother how to handle this one. I wanted to be completely honest with the guy, while being considerate of his feelings. My brother suggested that, because of this guy’s personality and how open (but appropriate 🙂 ) we had been in our conversations and emails, I should lay it out straight and give the guy specific reasons why I did not want to pursue a relationship. I wrote him an email explaining things. I tried to be very clear and give him a couple specific reasons. He replied to my email saying that he would respect my decision and we emailed back and forth once or twice more. For a couple months, he pretty much avoided me at church and didn’t come to any of the usual get-togethers. He also had some rough stuff going on at work during that time, so that could have been part of it. Anyway, he eventually started talking to me again. It was a little awkward at first, but things are pretty much back to normal now.

    Guy #3: (a young MARRIED guy at church who came back to live with his parents while he was going through a divorce) Well, um, I had a few choice words for this guy! And I had to convince my (laid back, calm, even-tempered, steady) dad not to inflict any bodily harm on the little pipsqueak. He (the pipsqueak, not my dad!) now disappears into a corner or makes a quick exit whenever I enter the room (literally).

    Guy #4: (a friend I’ve known for several months and see at college-age get-togethers a couple times a month) Again, very awkward. I knew he liked me, but definitely didn’t expect him to ask me out. I think I stumbled through something like, “No thanks, I’m not interested. I like you as a friend and it’s nothing personal against you, I’m just not interested…..” It went downhill from there. I tried to change the topic by asking him what he wanted to do when he got out of college. He sighed and said, “Oh, just settle down and start a family.” Um, okay. Awkward! Thankfully, we somehow managed to end the conversation. He sent me an email the next morning apologizing, so I was able to reply and clarify that I wasn’t offended or anything and was just caught off guard. I thought I made things pretty clear, but apparently not, because he asked again a few weeks later. Ugh. I basically told him the same thing again (but more eloquently this time!) and he later wrote me an email apologizing again and said that he was fine with just being friends. I’ve seen him once or twice since then and we pretty much just acted like nothing ever happened, and it didn’t feel awkward, at least for me. (Note: I could have played the “religion card” and told him that I wasn’t interested because he is Catholic. That would have been a lot easier, but I don’t think it’s fair or honest, because, even though that does play into it, I still would not be interested if he were not Catholic.)

    Guys #5…….: (all the dudes at college and other things I’m involved in. These dudes range from slimeballs who probably have STDs to nice, clean-cut, moral guys. Some of them I spend a lot of time with due to classes and clubs, and some of them I’ve only spoken to a few times in passing.) Usually a friendly “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m not interested,” will suffice. Then I try to change the topic to something like, “So are you coming to ______ this Saturday?” or “How do you think you did on that exam?”

    I think it’s important to be considerate of the guy’s feelings. (Well, except in the case of people like dude #3!) It takes guts for them to ask a girl out, or ask if she’d consider a relationship, or approach her dad. It’s only fair to be honest and kind in our response. Obviously, I don’t have this figured out yet! But I’m working on it, and I would love to hear what the other ladies have to say. 🙂

    # March 29, 2013

  2. betsy

    Hi Faith,
    I recently struggled with that very question. I found out through a friend that there was a guy who was going to ask me to go with him to our college junior/senior banquet. I planned out my answer ahead of time and when he did ask me, I told him very nicely that I don’t feel comfortable going with someone who I’m not in a relationship with. I made sure that I said it was nothing against him – I just wasn’t comfortable with that. He seemed to take it ok. I think if I were to do it again, I might have explained my reasoning a little more – explained the principles of courtship and how I don’t want to just go out with anyone, but save my first date for the one I marry. But I think I did it gently and respectfully enough that he was disappointed but not offended.
    I also know, through the same friend, that he is interested in having a relationship with me. At least he was before I told him no about the banquet – I don’t know if he still is or not. So if he does ever ask me about a relationship I have an answer planned out for that too because I have put a lot of thought and prayer into the situation. I would tell him again, that it’s nothing against him and I respect him as a fellow Christian and a friend, but I have fasted and prayed about it and I just don’t feel that we are right for each other. God has another special someone picked out for each of us. I have nothing against him and would like to remain casual friends, but I just don’t feel that God would have us together.
    It is so difficult to be the girl and have to tell a guy no – especially when it’s a good guy and the last thing you want to do is hurt him. But I discovered that dreading it ahead of time was worse than actually doing it.
    I hope some of this helps!

    # March 29, 2013

  3. lizzieteacher

    If you aren’t comfortable talking to him maybe your Dad could?

    # April 5, 2013

  4. faithgrubb9a2faithgirl

    Thank you kitkat! You sure have done it 😛

    I told another guys once (similair to your #5 guys) not interested thing and I’m unsure how he took it. He just ‘disappeared’ really. I’d met him only two days prior to his asking me out. WE had him for dinner instead after I told him I don’t date (we do it more with the family around). And so then after dinner he asked me “Do I like him?” Hard Q to answer! Almost like a proposal except not…

    Anyhow the reason I asked this, for that guy I gently (considerate of his feelings) told him no I don’t see God leading that way and I’m just not interested. He okay (email). But later said it stung. 🙁 I didn’t want it to, but a “no” will always hurt I guess. 🙁 Anyway Thank you!

    # April 11, 2013

    • kitkat

      I agree – “no” will always hurt a little. Honestly, I think it pricks the guy’s pride (which is understandable), so I think it’s only fair that we are as considerate of their feelings as possible in our responses.

      A while back, I told a great guy “no.” When my dad asked me about the situation, I told him that I had turned the guy down and that the guy had said he would respect my decision and yes, we could still be friends. My dad pointed out that things would not be normal between the two of us for a while. He said the guy was obviously hoping for more than “just friends” and it would take a while for him to adjust to that reality. How true. Things were extremely awkward for a while, but eventually we got back to being just good friends. I think the sign of a confident, mature young man is that he can be “just friends” and isn’t crushed by a girl’s rejection. Though I certainly don’t blame a guy for being distant for a while. 🙂

      # April 18, 2013

  5. faithgrubb9a2faithgirl

    Hi Betsy!

    Great answer! I too knew he was a good guy, but he just wasn’t mine. And it was sad to tell him no, but if I don’t be honest now problems will insue later!
    Also let me warn you about the ‘explaining more’. I did that with the guy I knew only a day (and note he was a nice guy but I’m not sure if he was Christian and he was public schooled, and more cityfied for my liking and he had some neat tattoos, but I wouldn’tlike that on my spouse.)

    Ok. But what happened was he agreed dating is only for the intent of marriage and all, so after that conversation I think he took that as ‘oh she likes me for marriage material’. And I didn’t mean that, saddly it was taken the wrong way. :/

    Thank you girls.

    Oh Lizzieteacher, Dad speaking to him would’ve broke his heart I think. I replied his email and so it worked fine.

    # April 11, 2013