3 Ways To Gracefully Reject Someone, So No One Ends Up With Hurt Feelings
Being rejected can be a tough pill to swallow. It hurts and it can be really embarrassing for some. But here’s the thing: Doing the rejecting is actually not so great either. It can feel painfully awkward, high-pressure, and you’re probably worried about hurting the other person's feelings. Not to mention, sometimes people don't take rejection well — and that could put you in an even more difficult position. It's tough all around, but here’s the good news: There are actually ways to gracefully reject someone if you're not interested but want to pass on their advances politely, and firmly at the same time. Sounds great, right?
To help with this, I reached out to relationship experts and asked how to best go about letting someone know you’re not interested in them. "The two keys are tact and honesty when letting someone down," Erika Ettin, dating coach and founder of A Little Nudge, tells Elite Daily. "While someone might be disappointed that you don't want to go out again, he or she can't really be angry at you for feeling, or not feeling, how you do," she says. Great, but how do you put that advice into practice? Here's what the experts recommend when you want to let someone down easily.
1. Be direct, yet tactful.
When you're letting someone down, it can be hard to just come out and say it, but the experts say it's actually better to be straightforward because being unclear to preserve their feelings, though well-intentioned, may actually have the opposite effect in the long run.
“We hate hurting people’s feelings, so a lot of times we try to avoid or be vague,” Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, previously told Elite Daily. “It's just not the way to go. You need to close that door so you don't string them along. For example, if you say, ‘I have other plans,’ they might ask again. While it seems caring, it's just delaying the inevitable and making them feel like a fool which will cause more hurt feelings.”
Ettin agrees that the best policy is to just be direct. She suggests something simple like: "Thanks again for a nice time! Unfortunately, I didn't feel the connection I was looking for, but I wish you nothing but the best." Beyond that, Ettin says no explanation is required. “If someone is not mature enough to handle this, that is on the other person," she explains. "You can only control what you put out there, not how people react to it. But, if someone is not gracious when you've expressed that you're not — or no longer — interested, don't let that impact how you deal with similar situations in the future.”
2. Turn them down with a compliment.
If just being direct feels too blunt, Dr. Susan Edelman, board-certified psychiatrist, previously told Elite Daily that you can soften the message a little by having a more positive approach and building up their confidence a bit in the process. “If you can include some kind of compliment, it can soften the blow,” she said. “For example, ‘You seem like a nice guy, but I just don't feel a connection.’" The key here is to just to be thoughtful about their feelings. “It is very important to turn down a date respectfully,” said Dr. Edelman. “Ideally, you want to treat others the way you want to be treated. It's one way we can all make the world a better place.”
3. Offer some context.
While you certainly do not owe someone an explanation for why you don't want to go out with or be with them, if they ask for one it can be helpful to offer some context for the rejection to help soothe their feelings, said Dr. Edelman. Say, for instance, in the case that the person being rejected works with you, she suggested saying, “You seem great, but I’d rather not compromise our working relationship.” This works because it makes the rejection feel less personal and more situational.
Ultimately, it's impossible to take all the sting out of rejection, but all the experts agree that discomfort and pain can be reduced by simply being direct, tactful, and firm. “We all know rejection is part of the game, but self-esteem and confidence shouldn't take a hard hit when you turn someone down,” said Dr. Edelman. Follow the experts' advice and it should be fairly easy to maintain your boundaries and speak your truth, while protecting everyone’s dignity and feelings as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be so hard after all.