We all dread that moment when someone asks for your number, and you don't want to give it to them. Not only is it awkward in general to turn someone down, but it unfortunately means it’s time to put in some serious emotional labor. We quickly have to decide if it’s safe to just say no outright. If the answer to that question is "no" or "unclear,” well then, how do I soften the rejection so that I don't hurt their feelings? What if they don’t take no for an answer? Do I have an exit plan? Yeah, bottom line, it's a lot of strategizing in a short amount of time.
But at the end of the day, it’s your right not to 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, I am happy to help ease the burden a bit by offering six strategies for saying no to someone asking for your number.
“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.
"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.
"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, it's 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.
"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.
"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.
"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. Plus, it maintains your privacy because people can discover a shocking amount of your personal information simply with your actual phone number.
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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