As a strong, independent, beautiful on-the-inside-and-on-the-outside female, it's almost inevitable that at some point you'll be friends with a guy who develops feelings for you. At that time, there's a pretty high likelihood that you will want nothing more than to continue your friendship, and not take things to the next level. And **spoiler alert** that's totally FINE. You are completely within your rights to feel that way and to make sure that he's aware of where you two stand. In a perfect world, your platonic guy friend would respect that and things would just carry on as they were.
Unfortunately, with — shocker — the world being quite imperfect, what's more likely is that you're going to hurt his delicate, precious ego and he's going to avoid you for months or shit-talk you to his friends or worse — your mutuals. So it's a delicate situation to be in, no matter how you play it.
Here's the thing, any 'Nice Guy' who tries to make you feel crappy for rejecting his advances is actually a douchebag and you should probably just drop him. However, we understand that it's not always ~that~ cut and dry. So, here are some possible excuses to give someone you don't want to date — but whose friendship you would still like to keep. (Answers vary depending on how valuable this friendship actually is to you.)
Plan B Entertainment
At our age, saying that you're trying to learn how to be independent and getting to know yourself is not as bad as it sounds on the surface. You're a whole new person all of a sudden! Being a young adult is like puberty for your brain, and there's a lot to process. So this is a good excuse, even if it sounds like it's straight out of a romantic comedy. The downside is that you may feel like you can't date anyone for a while or maybe ever so as not to tip your guy friend off that you lied — but to that, I would submit: who cares? At that point, you can just say that you're head over heels for the person and things just happen, or whatever. The purpose of this list is to get him off your back immediately. Don't think too far ahead here.
”I’m really sorry, I can't go on a date any time soon because Tiberius is going through a rough patch and he really needs my support right now.” If you don't have a cat, that doesn't really matter. Alternately, tell him you're about to get one and it’ll take up too much of your time to even consider dating.
Big Machine Records
Tell him he doesn't want to date you because of your clingy personality, bad genes or terrible taste in fashion. Tell him you talk during movies and hog the sheets. Tell him you have night terrors and text while you drive.
Tell him anything to make him A) not want to date you and be around this flaws all the time, or B) think you're so insecure that dating you would be a chore. Basically if you let him think he's winning or deserves better, his boy-brain will be appeased and he'll be less likely to feel rejected, thus more likely to continue your friendship. Lucky you?
Just ignore it. When he brings up his feelings for you just get up and walk away. Change the subject. Start humming a song and playing on your phone. Offer him food. Just do your best to pretend it’s not happening. Hopefully he’ll be so confused it will discourage him from talking about it for a long time.
If you just keep talking, he won’t be able to. And maybe he’ll learn something about how the friend zone is just a concept that men invented to shame women for not being attracted to any dude who is nice to them. News flash, buddy — kindness doesn’t deserve a date, or sex, or anything other than basic human respect in return. And rejection doesn’t merit shaming someone or ending all contact or whatever other nasty forms of payback you had in mind! So… just tell him that.
One approach would be to, instead of immediately rejecting him, to say ‘yeah, sure, we can give that a shot!’ And then just make sure the date is bad. Show up late, be picky about what movie to see or where to eat, accidentally step on his foot, answer a phone call in the middle, chomp gum all night, don’t tip the waiter (actually don’t do that because that’s rude as hell and that girl is working her butt off). Anything you can think of that would turn him off, do it. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll get the picture and not want to relive whatever horror you manufacture for him.
Typically, you aren’t blindsided by a profession of affection. There are little signs along the way. When you start to notice those signs, you could drop in a few hints about how the two of you are great as friends but would be totally incompatible in a relationship, or how you’d annoy him if you were his girlfriend or something to that effect. Subtle, and it may not work forever, but it can give you some time.
After you get done telling him how bad off the two of you would be as a couple, tell him about who you WOULD be good with. The guy in your economics class, the bartender you flirt with, his brother — it doesn’t really matter honestly, just let him know that you’re interested in other guys who aren’t him, and you are comfortable enough in that decision to tell him about the other guys (or for that matter, women) you do find attractive.
The timing of this matters. If you ask him to set you up with one of his friends when you start seeing the signs, it’ll be a little kinder, and be more likely to end with a date for you and maybe even a continued friendship. If you ask him after he asks you out on a date, that’s very rude and likely to make him mad and not stay friends with you. But either way, it will effectively get across the message that you just want to be friends.
Let him down easy. Tell him it’s nothing he’s done, he’s just not your type! And your type, coincidentally, is his father. You love the salt and pepper hair, the wrinkles around the eyes and the idea that an older man has something to teach you. Not to mention the money to treat you right — who could resist?!
Honestly, even as I write this I don’t like this answer, because I believe that you know what you want and you don’t have to develop feelings for every male friend you have. But if you’re on the fence or open to the idea of going through potentially a few more awkward conversations, you can totally just agree to go on a date and see how it actually goes. If you still aren’t feeling the spark (which we kind of expected), just let him down easy at the end of it and say so. He had to know it was a possibility.
It’s an iconic scene! For those of you who haven’t seen the series 10 times like me, George is Meredith’s friend who always has a thing for her but Meredith doesn’t give him the time of day. Then, when Meredith breaks up with her boyfriend, she sleeps with him and it’s the best time of George’s life. Until Meredith starts sobbing while he’s on top of her, effectively ruining the moment. They do not try that again.
Full disclosure: I got this from Grey’s Anatomy, too. There was a patient at some point who pretended to faint every time her boyfriend asked her to marry him. She ended up falling down some stairs and going to the hospital, so I’m not sure how strongly I would recommend this option. But if you’re desperate and already sitting down, it can’t hurt to try.
Don’t be fooled! This excuse works year round. The holidays are a hectic time for everyone, and there’s a lot of stress and travel involved. It’s really no time for starting new relationships, and you can tell him that. Even if the stressful upcoming holiday is Easter, or Labor Day.
Really any strict religion will do. Pick one that doesn’t believe in premarital sex or birth control or drinking. Just tell him something that’s going to turn him off. Could also work with political parties — tell him you’re going to a rally for something that’s on the opposite end of the spectrum for him. He will not be interested in that. Unfortunately, that could also kill the friendship.
It may be the hardest thing on this list, but it’s the most grown-up thing you can do. Just politely and honestly say that you want to be friends. Don’t tease him or yank him around, don’t drag it out or even apologize. It's not your fault; it's not his. You. Just. Don't. Want. That. And. It's. Okay.
Just look him in the eye, thank him for his candor and interest and reject him. If he’s not a jerk, he will get over the hit to his ego. And if he is a jerk, better to know now than later anyway.
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