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Trustinglife's avatar

How do you gently but clearly communicate to someone you’re not interested in them?

Asked by Trustinglife (6638points) May 6th, 2010

I had an experience recently where I had inadvertently led a woman to believe that I was interested in getting to know her, when I was simply trying to be nice. She then proceeded to try to find all kinds of activities we had in common, so we could get together beyond that evening.

My question is this: once I’m already in that situation, how can I communicate that I’m not interested in going out with her, in a way that isn’t mean? I found myself simply deflecting all her attempts, and left feeling awful, yet not knowing what I’d do differently. That’s why I’m asking you all for your creative solutions here if I ever find myself in a similar situation again.

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19 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

I think gentle honesty is the best policy. Tell her your sorry for giving her the wrong impression. She won’t be happy but at least then she won’t be wondering either.

tinyfaery's avatar

In my experience, if you don’t say the words unequivocally, you end up having to play games and being untruthful. Just say it.

wonderingwhy's avatar

“Hey look, I’m sorry, I feel bad about this but I think I gave you the wrong impression. You’re a nice person and all but I’m really just not interested.”

Honest, straight forward, no room for interpretation, and says the “get lost, have a nice life” part without being mean. However you chose to say it, just be crystal clear – can’t emphasize that enough.

MrsDufresne's avatar

By saying “I’m not interested in you in a romantic way.” to them with a gentle, sincere, and kind tone to your voice, and expression in your eyes.
This statement is very direct. It leaves no question about your feelings. Honesty with kindness always works best in situations like these.

Jeruba's avatar

“I’ve enjoyed talking to you this evening, but I’m not really interested in starting something.” It doesn’t have to be about her personally. You could leave the impression that you’re not looking for any relationship rather than that you don’t find her attractive.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would just tell them that you’re not interested.People really aren’t that fragile and I think just saying it in a nice tone of voice is enough.until they stalk you and boil your rabbit ;)

xxii's avatar

I’ve encountered this type of situation before, but one difficulty I find with saying “I’m not interested in a romantic way” is that I can’t always tell if he is interested in a romantic way. There’s always the chance that he’ll say “Um… I’m not either, I just wanted to hang out as friends.” Then I would have embarrassed myself and lost the chance for a friendship.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I would just act the way I normally do. I’m mildly autistic (Aspergers Syndrome), my normal behavior and expressions tend to drive others away, with very few exceptions.

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brinkofit's avatar

Just tell her you don’t have feeling for her in that way before it goes on further. If you still want to hang out with her, make sure you communicate that you will hang out just as friends

Seaofclouds's avatar

I agree with everyone else, just be direct and honest. Say it kindly and get straight to the point.

marinelife's avatar

@Trustinglife Great to see you in these environs again.

Because to say you are not interested in a particular person does not leave them any way to save face, I would lean more toward Jeruba’s approach.

“It was great talking to you. I;m not in a position to have a relationship right now.”

lilikoi's avatar

“You’re like a sister to me. Do you think that woman over there is hot?”

the100thmonkey's avatar

“My girlfriend/boyfriend and I….”

Alternatively, you could drop the M-bomb:

“My mother and I…”


Scooby's avatar

Just confide in her as a friend that you’ve decided to take yourself off the market ‘so to speak’ because you just seem to be attracting self obsessed control freaks who want to plan your life around them without leaving you enough space to breath!! :-/
Might just do the trick!? ;-)

stardust's avatar

Honesty is the safest way to go in this situation I think. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a series of headaches. It’s tricky, but I think the less personal you make it, the gentler it’ll come across as @Jeruba said

thriftymaid's avatar

I’m interested in someone else.

XoXoMEXoXo's avatar

Don’t beat around the bush.She’ll just think youre shy or a player.Honesty is really the best, but dont scream in her face ‘I DONT WANT YOU!‘make it nice, like-I’m not really ready for a relashionship, or-I think of you as a sister, and I wouldnt date my sister, hey you think that girl over there is into me?’ Yup, thats the best way to put it.

YARNLADY's avatar

I doubt there is any way to tell someone who is infatuated with you that the feeling is not mutual and never will be. You can only rely on time to solve the issue.

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