When saying no to a man, the least you can do is to not make him feel worse than he is already.
It’s easy to daydream about your crush asking you out on a date — but it’s also totally normal to freak out over the idea of someone you’re not into asking you the same thing. In the name of all that is sensitive and unsubtle in this world (because no one wants to wonder if “I’m busy this weekend” actually means “ask me later” or “ask me never“) we’re telling you how to say “no,” sans snoot, snark, and sour feelings.
1. The problem: There’s zero chemistry. You’ve been suspecting that your best guy friend has had a thing for you for quite some time now. And while you do love him, that love is 100 percent platonic. He’s a great date—for some other gal. As for kissing him? Yecccch! You don’t even want to imagine it.
The solution: Be straightforward. Here’s what you need to say: “I’ve been feeling lately that you might want something more than friendship with me. I feel kind of awkward notsaying anything, so I’m just gonna get it out there: I don’t have those feelings for you. OK, awkwardness over! What were you saying about the anatomy lab?”
2. The problem: Your friendship is on the line. Sometimes, there is chemistry&but you’re so invested in your relationship that you’re not willing to explore romance with your partner in crime. That’s totally cool, but you do need to be clear about your boundaries and why you’re setting them.
The solution: Emphasize what’s already good. Say something like: “I am such a goof at relationships that I don’t want to try something different with you and then screw it up. Can we please just be friends?”
3. The problem: Wrong team. It doesn’t matter who does the asking, getting a “wanna go out sometime?” is always a confidence boost. Still, when it comes down to the essentials, sometimes the person in question just doesn’t jive with your type.
The Solution: Clear things up. Whether you’re gay, straight, asexual, questioning, trans, or feeling something else entirely, just be honest: “I think you’re an awesome person, but I’m not ____.” And it’s totally fine to ask them to keep this information to themselves.
4. The problem: “Who are you again?” Listen, we’ve all had crushes on people who have no clue we exist, but you never thought the show would be on the other foot. Until today, apparently.
The solution: Deflect to friendship. Instead of raising your eyebrows and letting that question sink, unspoken, into his desperate soul, try this: “I’m so flattered. I’d love to get to know you better, as a friend. Want to join us for a slice after school?”
5. The problem: You’re colleagues. Repeat after us: Workplace relationships are a bad idea. Workplace relationships are a bad, bad, very bad idea. Not only is it quite possibly against your boss’ rules, but if you break up—and heck, even if you don’t—it can create major tension for everyone.
The solution: Draw the line. Drill the fact that this isn’t a good plan into your own head, and then drill it into his by saying this: “Oh, I don’t date people I work with. Nothing personal.”
6. The problem: Enemy #1 wants your digits. So Jerkface does have a heart&and it turns out he wants yours, too. You’re tempted to treat this sucker just as meanly as he’s treated you since the dawn of time, but alas, that conscience of yours is holding you back.
The solution: Rise above the bitterness. Say something like: “Wow, I didn’t see that coming. I don’t feel the same way, but I’d definitely like to put the past behind us and be friends.”
7. The problem: Hello, crazy age difference. The older you get, the less age matters. But when you’re in highschool, it does matter. A freshman going steady with a senior? Eh, that’s a little odd but certainly not unheard of. But dating somebody in college (or older, yikes) can get you in serious trouble, and not just with your parents.
The solution: Find your comfort zone. Check your state’s laws to make sure you’re not running afoul of some statute or other. And you can always say this: “If I was a few years older or you were my age, I’d say yes. But I don’t think it’d work right now. Sorry!”
8. The problem: Red flags. Lots of ’em. Maybe he gets drunk at parties every weekend. Maybe he has a reputation as a player. Maybe he’s a stage-four clinger. Maybe his hair looks like he hasn’t washed it since winter break. Maybe he’s never smiled in your presence. Ever.
The solution: Go with your gut.Whatever it is that makes you wrinkle your nose in distaste, listen to it! To turn him down, a simple “no, thanks” and a subject change (“Are you going to the lacrosse game this afternoon?”) will do nicely.
9. The problem: You’re too close for comfort. He’s your big brother’s best friend, or your best friend’s ex, or your neighbor’s cousin. Whatever the relationship, there’s something icky about changing that status. And your relationship with that other person, the brother, the friend, the neighbor? Yeah, that will never be the same again, either.
The solution: Opt out. Say this: “No, sorry, but it would make things weird between me and Sam. Speaking of, have you seen him lately?”