Most of my readers are mature, intelligent and kind. I’m sure you don’t take pleasure in making guys feel horrible just for asking you out. What do you say when you don’t want to say yes?
If you’re like a lot of women, you say no . . . with an apology. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really help the situation. A recent study found that trying to soften a rejection by saying you’re sorry only makes the other person feel worse.
And that’s the thing about saying no that sucks. It’s hard to say no without sounding heartless.
But as hard as it can be to say no tactfully, boundaries are good.
They’re good for you. You shouldn’t have to suffer through dates you don’t want to be on. AND, boundaries are for the guys you turn down. As trite as it may sound, it really is better if you don’t lead him on.
So here’s the dilemma. If you’re in dating mode, you’re going to end up rejecting guys. There’s no way to avoid that . . . unless you say yes to everyone. And trust me, THAT’S a bad idea.
Thankfully, there are kind, effective ways to let a guy down. Saying no doesn’t have to be cruel.
If you want to learn how to gracefully decline a date, keep reading. I have three ideas that will make the process easier for you and those unfortunate guys who just don’t spark your interest.
Root yourself in respect.
There’s this myth that saying no is always a bad thing. It’s not. In fact, telling someone no is actually rooted in respect—for yourself and for them.
Think of it this way. When you respect your own time, effort and energy, you’re selective with how you spend it. Why would you waste it on something that isn’t going anywhere? And why would you let that well-meaning (but not-your-type) guy waste his?
When you tell a guy no, you’re respecting yourself and respecting him.
Don’t make up excuses.
There are a bunch of classic rejection excuses. But no matter how clever you think you’re being, guys can see right through made-up excuses.
Besides, if he buys a fake excuse, he’ll just ask you out again later! Either way, that’s not the outcome you’re looking for.
Instead of getting creative, just keep things brief. Say no thank you. And only share as much as you need to for context. Which leads us to my next tip.
Give him a reason.
Shoot straight with him.
If he used to date one of your friends and you think it would be weird to go out, tell him that. If you genuinely aren’t looking for a relationship, fess up. And if you don’t find him attractive, say you don’t feel any chemistry with him.
Be polite about it, of course, but be frank, too.
Say thank you.
He’s the most powerful secret of all. Thank him for the offer. But don’t just say thank you. Mean it.
Give him the clear impression that you are flattered and impressed that he asked you out. This makes it a positive experience for everyone involved. You set a clear boundary but he leaves with his self-esteem intact.
Even if you find the guy repulsive, he’s paying you a compliment. He’s asking you out. He’s telling you that you’re attractive. Of all the women he could be interested in, he’s interested in YOU.
Tell him you sincerely appreciate the invitation. That will end the interaction on a positive note, even though he didn’t get the answer he was hoping for.
Guilt-free rejection is difficult for a lot of women. It’s easy to sympathize with the guy, even if you don’t want to go out with him. Instead of hemming and hawing or accepting dates you don’t want, master the art of the quick-but-kind rejection.
Respect yourself enough to value your time—and his. Don’t clamor for excuses. Just tell it like it is and say thanks.
Do that and you’ll be able to walk away from a potentially awkward situation guilt-free, ready to receive someone who’s a better match.