We all dread that moment when someone asks for your number and you don't want to give it to them. Not only is turning someone down awkward in general, but it unfortunately means it’s time to put in some serious emotional labor. When a guy asks for your number out of nowhere, you quickly have to decide if it’s safe to just say no outright. How do you soften the rejection so that you don't hurt their feelings or make them upset? What if they won’t take no for an answer? Do you have an exit plan? Bottom line: It's a lot of strategizing in a short amount of time, and it’s not always clear how to say no when someone asks for your number.
But at the end of the day, it’s your right to not give out your number for any reason, including because you simply do not want to. No, that doesn't make you "stuck up" or "rude," it just makes you an autonomous human being who gets to decide who does and does not have contact with you. Period.
While it's not exactly fair (to put it mildly) that you have to spend so much time and effort on politely declining someone who may or may not take it well, here are nine strategies for what to say when a guy asks for your number and you don’t feel comfortable giving it to him.
1. The Direct Approach
“Thanks, but I'm not interested."
Here's the deal: This is actually the best answer and the one most people appreciate. It's short, sweet, and crystal clear. If you are in a situation where it feels safe to use this type of response, go ahead and just keep it real.
2. Tell Them It’s Just Bad Timing
"Thanks, that's nice of you, but I'm actually not in a good place to date right now. So I have to say no."
The reason this answer works is that it's not an outright rejection of them — it turns the situation back on yourself. And it's not a lie, you're not in a good place to date... them. But you can leave that last part out.
3. Stranger Danger
"I'm sorry, but I don’t give out my number to people I just met anymore. I had a really bad experience in the past."
Sadly, this might be true for you. Most of us have had the experience of giving out our number to someone, only to regret it when they acted like a jerk in one of a million different ways. Also, most people understand the concept of stranger danger, and in an increasingly woke era, they (hopefully) will likely not be that surprised you have this policy.
4. Offer An Alternative
"You know what? I don't actually give out my number anymore, but I would be happy to take yours."
This subtle rejection line is one I like to employ when I’m in a situation that feels less safe. It's not an outright no, but you're still protecting your privacy.
5. Keep Your Tone Casual
"Nah, thanks though.”
As strange as it may seem, sometimes, something as simple as keeping your tone and language really casual is enough to defuse a bruised ego. It's friendly, disarming, and still really direct.
6. Give It Up To Google
"Sure, here's my number: [insert your Google Voice number].”
This is the Hail Mary rejection line that should be saved for situations where you feel unsafe or when they are not taking no for an answer. Sign up for a Google Voice account and reserve it for scenarios like this. The reason this is better than giving out a fake number or a rejection hotline number is that, if they decide to test it while you are still there, it will ring to your phone. However, after the fact, it's very easy to block them.
7. Point Them To Your Social Media
“That’s sweet of you to ask, but I’m not dating right now. But you can feel free to follow me on [Twitter/Instagram] if you’d like.”
If this person seems relatively harmless, you might feel more comfortable sharing your social handle(s) with them than your direct phone number (even though of course there’s no obligation to give them any information about yourself if you don’t want to). This way they could ostensibly contact you if they really wanted to, but you don’t have to follow them back and you can easily block them, should that come up down the line.
8. Make It Clear You Just Want To Be Friends
“I’m not looking to date, but I’d be happy to hang out as friends.”
Let’s say this person seems actually fun and interesting and non-threatening — you’re just not attracted to them. You can offer your number as long as they know it’s just a platonic gesture. If you’re uncomfortable sharing your number with strangers, even strangers who seem chill, you could offer to get coffee first some time and then decide whether or not you’d like to keep them in your life. The only caveat with this one is that you’ll have to role-play the 1970s and make plans ahead of time since you won’t be able to communicate day-of. Far out!
9. Tell Them You Already Have A Partner
“Thanks for asking but I already have a partner.”
You shouldn’t have to pretend to “belong” to someone else just to get the message across, but sometimes it is the most effective way to communicate your unavailability and keep yourself safe. Whether you actually do have a partner or not, this option again allows you to deflect and soften the rejection so that they’re less likely to take it personally.
It's never fun to get shot down, but at least this way, you'll be saving this person from as much embarrassment as possible, while still keeping yourself and your privacy safe.
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