Wendy Newman

How to Let a Guy Down Easy

Ask Wendy: Dating, Sex & Relationship Advice for the Bold

Hey Wendy,

I don’t like getting stuck saying, “Thank you, and no thank you” when a guy is really into me, and I’m not into him. I would love some feedback on how to let them down gently.

Eileen S. — Sacramento, CA

Hey Eileen,

Nobody likes this part — nobody.

And I commend you for wanting to address this head-on because there are women out there who manage this apprehension by not dating.

So let’s see if I can help. Say you’ve met him, Mr. Notyourguy. Maybe you know on sight — right before the initial greeting hug, or maybe you’re just not that into him after another date or three — he’s not the man for you, but he’s asking you out again.

Break it off quickly — Band-Aid style.

Don’t be that girl who tells him “yes” when you mean “never again”. Dodge Call is a dreadful game for all players. You’re a grown woman who can speak her truth, and he’s a grown man who can handle your “no”.

Trying to avoid hurt feelings and disappointment is natural, but it’s important to be a good dating citizen and let him know as soon as possible.

If you don’t have a game plan for sliding out of a date, you run the risk of accidentally doing or saying something you’d rather not in order to not disappoint. The pressure to not displease him can be intense, and you might feel cornered.

Since saying “nope” is harder than it looks, pick one or two of these one-liners and take them for a spin with a friend playing the role of your date:

  • “We’re not (quite) a match.”
  • “I had a lovely time, but I don’t see a fit here.”
  • “I don’t see a matching future for the two of us.”
  • “I don’t feel enough of a connection.”

If he persists, try:

  • “I’m looking for something different.”

If he persists still:

  • “That’s all I have to say.”

Don’t worry, you probably won’t have to get that far. Once they’ve heard “we’re not a match,” most guys aren’t interested to know why. They just want to get the hell out of there when they like you and learn you don’t feel the same way.

If he does end up being one of the dudes who’s looking for the ‘what’s wrong with me?’ type of answer, repeat, kindly but firmly: “That’s all I have to say.”

The men I’ve talked to about this say they don’t care if you think he’s a nice guy. Telling him how fantastic he is doesn’t make the pill easier to swallow.

One man said, “Hearing I’m great or understanding why I’m not the one does nothing for me. I’d rather just move on.”

Another man said, “Hearing I’m amazing when you don’t want me is a booby prize.”

So be quick, rip the Band-Aid off, and be as kind as possible because as you know, this part isn’t fun for anyone.

Happy dating!

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Dating, Sex & Relationship Expert and Author of 121 First Dates (Simon & Schuster). Over 70,000 women trust Wendy’s advice, tools, & experience. WendySpeaks.com