How to Reject Men Safely and Respectfully

October 17th, 2014 by Nick Notas 13 Comments

Girl Walking Away

Being rejected sucks. But rejecting someone can suck just as much.

Contrary to what many men believe, most women don’t enjoy turning someone down. It’s awkward. It’s intense. And it can lead to uncomfortable or even dangerous situations.

Because of this, women try to reject others “gently” to protect themselves. Ironically, this usually ends up hurting men more and causes worse problems for everyone.

I’m here to show you how to reject men in a mature, respectful way that’s in your best interests, too.

Where problems start 

You can’t avoid hurting someone’s feelings 100% of the time. When you’re rejecting someone, the underlying message is, “I don’t like you like that.”

That’s not easy to for anyone to deal with, especially men. We’re full of pride. Being rejected makes us feel emasculated and inferior.

Unfortunately, some men will take their pain out on others through guilt tripping, verbal attacks, and even physical violence.

What women need to do is try and limit the negative impact of their rejection. And this all starts by understanding investment.

The more we invest our emotions or time in something, the more attached we become.

So the longer you wait to tell a man you’re not interested, the harder he will take it.

I know it’s not easy and that you don’t want to hurt anyone. I know that your trying to protect yourself. I also know it feels nice to get that kind of attention sometimes. We all like feeling attractive and desirable.

But by letting a guy keep believing there’s a chance he can get with you, he’s only going to be more frustrated, hurt, or angry when things don’t pan out. It’s not worth it.

Ladies, you need to be crystal clear when you’re not interested in a guy. Cut things off as soon as you know you don’t want to be romantic to reduce the chance of a negative reaction.

The wrong ways to reject men

Here are the four common ways women incorrectly reject men:

  • Avoidance – Maybe you think, “If I just ignore him and his texts, he’ll get the hint.” But this almost always backfires.

    Many guys have a hard time moving on unless they get an explicit rejection. They’ll sit around for months or years wondering, “Does she like me?” I get emails from these guys all the time.

    Some men will keep hounding you until you outright reject them. And they will get progressively more intense with time. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

  • Engagement without commitment. This is when you keep in contact with a guy but never meet up with him. You hope he’ll eventually give up so you don’t have to outright say “no.” Or, as I said earlier, sometimes it just feels good to have a man’s attention.

    When the guy asks you out, you claim to be busy or delay him with, “Maybe next week…” every week.

    That guy won’t stop trying until you actually hang out. And when he realizes you’re just stringing him along, he’ll be justifiably upset.

  • Not being ready yet. You might say, “I’m just not looking to date right now.” “Maybe it could happen in the future.” In truth, you just aren’t that into him. What happens when that guy sees you with a new man, walking around on campus? Or he notices you’re still active on OKCupid? Or he sees your Facebook updates and relationship status?

    He’s going to feel lied to. Many terrible situations stem from a guy feeling slighted and wanting to return that hurt.

  • Turning those guys into friends. Other times, you might suggest
    being “just friends.” You have an easier time separating your failed romantic connection from friendship than men do.

    Men claim they can handle it but deep down think, “Great, I still have time to change her mind.” or “Maybe she’ll come around if we just keep hanging out.” And that’s not a true friendship.

    How am I so sure? Because men ask me about these situations on a weekly basis. There’s always some guy getting friend zoned by a girl who’s begging me to give him some voodoo magic so she’ll fall in love with him.

    These guys will hang around and pretend to be your friend. When you get involved with someone else, they flip out or try to sabotage your connection. They’re angry that you “used” them when in reality, you were just being a friend.

    Next time you want to reject a new guy by being friends, consider if you really want to be his friend. Are you just trying to make him feel better? If so, it’s best just to move on.

The right way to reject men

By now, you can see how indirect methods of rejection are not the way to go.

The smartest way is being honest and direct. Not only for your safety, but out of respect for the men, too.

Of course, you still want to approach the situation with tact. You should be polite and not personally attack them. Saying, “I just don’t find you very attractive or interesting. I could never see myself having sex with you.” is going to enrage quite a few men. 

Instead, try…

“I had a lot of fun on our date but I don’t feel that chemistry with you.”

“You seem like a great guy but I’m just not interested in you like that.”

“Thank you for the wonderful evening! I’m sorry but I don’t see us as compatible. Good luck with your future dates.”

Will every man gracefully accept these rejections? No. But it’s the best shot you have of things ending well.

Here are some important points to remember:

  • Do it over text. When being rejected, a man’s ego is getting bruised. They’re overwhelmed with emotion. They can lash out — especially when alcohol is involved. And you don’t want to be there when that happens.

    So unless you’ve been dating this man for months or years, break the news over text. It’s not mean, it’s smart.

    Ignore him. Some guys will keep messaging you to get a rise or response. They will beg, ask why you don’t want them, or even blame and insult you. You don’t need to justify yourself or prove why you’re not a cold-hearted bitch.

    Don’t indulge their behavior. It never resolves anything, it only escalates the situation to verbal attacks.

    Take a look at Reddit’s Creepy PMs community. Nearly every girl who replies ends by being berated and demeaned. You can’t reason with a man when he’s furious from rejection, so stop trying.

  • Don’t take back your rejection. Even if he keeps messaging you, don’t let that change your mind. Don’t let him make you feel guilty and talk to him because of it. Don’t agree to be friends when you don’t want to be. Don’t change your story and give him false expectations for the future.

    If you have a hard time ignoring him, block him. Delete any online messages you get from him immediately. Don’t even read them. Once you’ve rejected him and don’t engage him, most guys will move on.

  • Don’t re-initiate communication unless you’re serious. I don’t care if you’re feeling lonely and want someone to comfort you. I don’t care if you’re feeling bad and want to make sure he’s doing okay. Unless you’ve decided you want to pursue a romantic connection, leave him be.

    Otherwise, you’re going to re-spark his hope. And when it doesn’t work out again, he’s only going to feel shittier.

If you don’t like someone, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. You can’t change who you’re attracted to. So I’m telling you right now…

You have the permission to say no.

Just be smart about it. Be compassionate yet clear. Leave no room for ambiguity.

It’s the most caring way you can reject a man.

In my follow-up article next week, I’m going to teach guys how they can better recognize when they’re being turned down and how to accept those rejections gracefully.

  1. Rob on October 17, 2014

    I talked to this chick for months without getting a date. I wouldn’t even message her! She hit me up all the time and would text me for hours.

    Whenever I said we should do something she always had a reason why she couldn’t. It was the worst feeling ever. I know I should have given up earlier but I really liked her.

    Now when I try to setup a date a couple of times with a girl and it doesn’t happen, I accept she isn’t serious and stop trying.

    • Nick Notas on October 17, 2014

      That’s the best thing you can do in those situations man. Look forward and focus on women who genuinely want to invest in you.

    • Frida on February 28, 2015

      You know what… I used to be that girl. Texting and talking on the phone is much easier. Setting up a date is forcing you to step out of your comfort zone and girls are just as afraid of being rejected as men. Stick with her, give her time and let her come to you. Show her that you’re trustworthy and not only looking for a one time thing. 🙂

      • Lisa on March 18, 2015

        But girls are considered whores if they are looking for a one time thing with guys and guys hate it when girls show interest in them and pick them up because of that. Guys are entitled to pursue, be decisive, be confident, and know what they want while girls cannot. Girls have to be less confident and be more subtle and desirable. Female pick up artists are still seen as whores and guys hate to be seen as sex objects by girls because it hurts their masculinity. Its no wonder guys always want to be in control of dating because they don’t want they don’t want to feel emasculated by being screwed over by a girl. They don’t trust girls to pursue them. Girls who do that are seen as having bad intentions and therefore are expected to be silent, aloof, and mysterious. Males are still entitled to hunt while females are the prize.

  2. Ashley on October 17, 2014

    wow I like this a lot. I have had issues with letting guys know how I really feel because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but this is good to have concrete advice. I’ve never read anything like this before, keep up the advice for girls

  3. Cody on October 19, 2014

    Hi Nick,

    Love your advice on approaching and acknowledging the power of a single moment!

    Just came across this article on Jezebel that seems to contradict your preachings

    Any thoughts?

  4. Alejandro Gomez on October 22, 2014

    Bravo Nick. When a girl is direct rather than evasive, it is more easy to us to get the reality of our situation, thanks also to help girls on how to avoid being in a tornado of anger from a frustrated man. You rock man !

  5. Maxime on November 4, 2014

    Goid article.

    It’s just sad to think about all those men who can’t handle a simple rejection. In an ideal world, women would not have to deal with so much insecurity from men.

    Meh, more power for confident men!

  6. Tyrone on January 3, 2015

    Great article!
    I have been talking to this lady for the passed two weeks through text. I know she’s busy lady. She a teacher and she also coach a softball and basketball teams.But asked her out twice and on both occasions she said she had something plans already etc. which i understand but i really don’t want to initiate the next invitation to hangout. Although she gave me the okay that i could flirt with her. Not smart haha! My question is should i ask her out again like down the road?

  7. jk on January 14, 2015

    Pretty good article. I like promoting the idea that women can just straight-up say “no” and don’t need anyone’s approval for that no.

    That said, in high school, I was good friends with people who I had rejected in the past. They accepted it and got over it and there was never an issue. There are, in fact, men mature enough to think of women as friends, even if they had once wanted more. I just think it’s important to be careful in selecting friends in the first place.

  8. D Clark on February 26, 2015

    All true about doing things to protect their safety, but your assertion that rejecting a guy hurts women is just hogwash. ANY negative feeling a woman has at that point she has not out of consideration for some man’s feeling but for the protection of her own self-image as a “good” person, and yes, regretably, possibly for her own safety.

  9. Julie on May 13, 2015

    This site is amazing, thank you so much Nick this has helped me not only (to say it quite frankly) to break up with guys I am not interrested in. But also to face and conquer my fear of rejecting. Every guy I have rejected in the past has left a ‘scar on my heart’ but now I see a beter future for both me and future rejects. (I am sorry if I might have offended some man, it was not meant that way.) I just really want to thank Nick, thank you!

  10. Anonymous on September 13, 2015

    I don’t agree with all your points, but your general message is good; be direct, be respectful and stop trying to mitigate other people’s experiences. I imagine a number of men lash out because they’ve been strung along one too many times and are frustrated with the lack of direct communication; even when they specifically ask for it.

    Speaking from experience, I feel respected when someone (man or woman) rejects me without mincing words. It saves everyone time, effort and heartache. When you string someone along, you’re wasting their time, which is incredibly disrespectful.

    It sucks to reject someone, but can you imagine how patronizing it feels when others mitigate your experience? It’s like you’re telling the person they can’t handle the intensity of their own emotions. And maybe they’re not used to dealing with them because so many people can’t handle their own feelings when it comes to rejecting others, so they sugar coat the interaction in an effort to reduce said feelings of shame, guilt and anxiety.

    Anyway, my two cents. Be direct, show compassion, reinforce your boundaries.