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How to Reject Men Safely and Respectfully

October 17th, 2014 by Nick Notas 18 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.

      • Yelena on August 19, 2016

        Nick – If a guy asked me to be his girlfriend after being a hook-up for two months over text and I initially said yes… Can I take it back and say no over text as well?

    • 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
    http://jezebel.com/how-to-ignore-a-man-who-is-trying-to-pick-you-up-on-the-1645866585

    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.

  11. Ariel on October 12, 2015

    This is a great article!
    I really was doing some of the things that you talked about, and I can see the error in my ways.
    I am going to try those techniques from now on, but hopefully I won’t have to.

  12. Vee Emm on March 31, 2016

    I think every guy and girl should be REQUIRED to read this before getting into the dating pool haha.

    ——–WARNING LONG STORY ————–

    Anyways, I met this girl last year. After conversing a few times, I asked her if I could give her my number, and she said yes without any apparent hesitation.

    Then a few weeks went by without a call, including a spring break, and I asked why hasn’t she called. She said, on two occasions that she was busy. I almost gave up when, the third time around, she told me she lost my number. I asked her if I could have her. Once again, I got it with no hesitation.

    Then, the part where we ended up falling out was in the summer. Just two days before the fallout, I asked her if we can hang out one day. She says yes. She asked about bringing my friends along. I told her they’re not always available. I asked her if we were going to hang out with her friends or just the two of us (because large groups scare the crap out of me). She told me either way is fine.

    I have to admit, it was probably a mistake of mine to set up the hangout date the next day, but she texted me that she doesn’t like me. I wanted to make sure it really was her by calling her (I really hate getting I like or I don’t like yous by text……AFAIK the phone could be hijacked haha). And it really was her. So to let her know I give up being more than just friends, I told her to let me know if she changes about me (putting the ball in her court now).

    Instead of being able to finally put this behind without losing much sleep, I ended up getting firebombed and she told me to never talk to her again and that we could never be friends.

    My mind: no problem. You make a better “enemy” anyways

    ————-END OF LONG STORY———
    Hence, why we are not friends, and by the looks of it, we’ll probably be hating each other until we both end up with gray hair and wrinkles.

    I now discovered this App that gives me an actual phone number besides my real one. I already give this number out to people I meet online. It’s very sad that I would have to, from now on, hand this number out to potential interests offline as well. At least if it were to happen again, well…..it’s not my real number ……suckas! 😂😂😂

  13. Rachel on August 14, 2016

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for this.

    How do you reject a married man respectfully?

    A colleague has been flirting with me for months. I didn’t realise what was going on until my workload dropped off and I began to have more time to notice. We have never spent time together really, but he walked by my room several times a day, and would deliberately look in and smile at me. If I was having a meeting with colleagues in a public area, he would look over at me and smile.

    At first I didn’t realise what was happening, but it began to dawn on me that feelings were growing and the looks were becoming pretty loaded. There was a fair amount of tension. I came to my senses one day when I realised his wife works in the same company. I had a vague idea he was married, but finding this out made things very real. I knew that this ‘thing’ could not go anywhere positive and could cause immense harm if allowed to continue.

    It was then that I decided to start ignoring him. I stopped meeting his gaze. I didn’t smile back. I chose to work elsewhere a few days a week, as my workload allowed. After a week or two of this, he would still pass by my room and look in. On being ignored, his glances became more direct and deliberate – like he was trying to fathom what I was doing. He began to look pretty uptight.

    I held my nerve and, since then, he no longer walks by my room.

    While I know I did what I did for the right reasons, I do feel pretty awful. I didn’t want to hurt him, but it felt like the only thing I knew to do to deal with the potentially damaging feelings that were growing.

    I’d really like to have some kind of quick, honest chat with him, to check we’re ‘good’, but I don’t know if it’s a good idea, or what to say. I don’t want him to think I thought he was a creep, or harassing me, because that’s not what it was – it was really just my own means of damage-limitation. In all honesty, I find him as incredibly attractive as I did before. I also wonder if I over-reacted. It has been a long time since I was in lust with someone, and I don’t have much experience of the harmless flirting game 🙂

  14. Anonymous Professional Guy on February 1, 2017

    When I was a 23 year old second year law school student, I began dating a beautiful, vivacious gal I met at my church’s post-grad and working singles group. Over the course of three years of dating–the last spanning my first year in the full-time workforce after getting my law degree and passing the bar exam on the first try–our dating frequency intensified. We enjoyed a variety of activities together: dining out, attending plays and concerts, playing Scrabble, playing tennis, going to the beach, picnicking, meeting each other’s parents, etc. I always gladly paid the way for both of us; we never went “dutch-treat” and she never so offered. We both played the piano and were both rather accomplished at that. Our personalities and interests seemed to be–in my view–a perfect match. On our last date while driving a rather long distance to a dinner playhouse and at my initiation, we talked about her vision of future family life including children (her view (and mine)->several) and the kind of house she’d like to live in (her view (and mine)->large suburban home) . In my car back in front of her apartment at the end of the evening, I took her hand and told her I was falling in love with her and asked if she had any feelings for me. To my horror and disbelief, she responded “none whatsoever.” I agonized for months, literally heartbroken and suffering from severe physical symptoms, and finally sent a handwritten note of grief to her. She invited me over to her place and apologized for having hurt me, saying she just wasn’t interested in commitment and wanted to pursue her career as a medical technician. She also suggested that I consider dating a close friend of hers whom she said was interested in entering into a committed relationship. (I interpreted that to mean she could care less if I married someone else). We had both just turned 26. A couple of years after that break-up, I began dating a different gal whom I would eventually marry. Almost exactly three years after the break-up during the Autumn, the first gal–still the unforgettable but melancholy love of my life–mailed me an invitation that invited me and “a friend” to attend an open house at her new, upscale apartment. I decided to go alone. Upon arrival, she said it was nice to see me again but did not say that she had missed me. I made it a point to be the last of the many in attendance to leave. I sat down on a love seat in her living room, leaving ample room for her to sit next to me. She instead chose to sit down on a chair across on the other side of a coffee table from me. She briefly reminisced about a political discussion–taking different sides–we had had over presidential politics/candidates years earlier, saying that my view had proven to be correct. But she said nothing about her rejection of my romantic overture and her decision to pursue her career to the exclusion of romance and commitment. Throwing me a “breadcrumb,” she suggested we might again play tennis–her favorite sport. Caught by surprise at that breadcrumb, I told her that “I’d have to think about that”–because it wasn’t clear to me that she had had a change of heart and was now willing to commit. Moreover, playing tennis with her while we had been dating led to nothing but heartbreak. The holidays came and went and St. Valentine’s Day came and went. Nothing. That Spring, I got engaged to the gal whom I had been dating for over a year. On a hot summer day a month or two before my wedding, the first gal calls me at work out-of-the-blue, saying she had heard a rumor that I was getting married. I confirmed the truth of what she had heard and instantly heard her voice drop–a non-verbal sound expressing deep sadness. I told her–which was all that I, as a man of integrity, could do–that “I would always have a special place in my heart for her.” I’ve now been solidly married to gal #2 for many years and blessed with wonderful children. Meanwhile, it appears that gal #1 didn’t marry until her late 30’s, ended up having only one child in her 40’s, and the public records show she has suffered from serious and ongoing financial stress including being a defendant in many credit card lawsuits. Choices and/or poor/ill-advised communications can have long-lasting consequences! There is so much truth in what Nick Notas has written above.