Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Reject a Guy

If you aren't swooping up dudes by the dozens you might not give too much thought to this topic, but at some point it will become relevant. Whether you are getting asked by a guy for your phone number, or asked out on a date, or pressured for sex - or even if you are proposed to, if you don't want to say yes, remember the following:

1. He can handle it. At least, he should be able to. Any man who wants to stand even a modest chance of success in the dating world needs to learn how to handle rejection, so don't shy from the task. Your concern for his feelings should never stop you from being up-front with him.

2. He wants to know the truth. He wants to be with you, but only if you reciprocate that feeling. You wouldn't want to be with a guy who was apathetic about you. Likewise, he'd rather know your true feelings than have your insincere acceptance.

3. He doesn't want his time wasted. If you aren't interested, he wants to start looking elsewhere as soon as possible (just as you should).

4. His primary emotion will be anger if you've only just met him or haven't been dating very long. Men take longer than women to get emotionally involved, so in the early stages of a relationship, his pride will be hurt far more than his heart or soul. While women will usually respond to this kind of rejection with sadness, men much more likely to be offended and angered, regardless of how well they hide it. So say what you have to quickly, and get the fuck out of there to let him cool off.

5. There is no way to soften the blow. This is what women (and probably men, too) forget the most when they reject a guy. You're telling him he isn't good enough for you, and that salient point will break through any bullshit you try to pad it with, so don't try. Additions like "I really like you, but..." are unnecessary and only make you sound insincere. The best way to deal with the inevitable is to plow through it as quickly as possible.

6. Most guys will persist at least a little. Don't be surprised or act indignant if he tries to convince you to go out with him, or to give you his number, or to stay with him. Men are rational by nature, and this kind of reasoning works on us, so we assume it will work on you too. Humor his reasoning by politely repeating your reasons (if it is a break up) or simply your refusal (if he is asking for a date or your number).

With that background, you should be able to appreciate the general strategy for rejecting a man, which is to be clear, direct and brief. That is to say, make sure he knows you are rejecting him, suppress the urge to make excuses for why you don't want him, and reject him quickly.

To state the same things in negative terms:
  • Don't be vague in an attempt to soften the blow. Make sure he knows that you are saying "no" or breaking up with him.
  • Don't make excuses about why you can't give him your number, or go out with him, or date him anymore.
  • Don't try to soften the rejection by adding all kinds of caveats or compliments or by "talking it through." If you are ending a relationship there is a good chance he will want to talk about it, probably in attempt to reason with you (see #6 above), but I suggest you avoid this as much as possible. You can always talk to him later after he's had time to think about it.
When it comes to being asked out or called, you do have the option of ignoring his text or call, but this is fairly rude. I do it to girls sometimes, but it is a better all-around policy to answer and follow the guidelines above. If you don't give your number to a guy or lead him on when you don't like him, this probably won't be an issue anyway, since you will be looking forward to hearing from him.

Related Posts
1. How to Reject a Guy at a Bar - Part 1
2. What it Is Like to Be Rejected By Girls
3. Get Used to Rejection
4. Why Rejection Is a Good Thing


  1. When you say "he wants to know the truth", do you recommend giving him actual feedback?
    I was asked out by this guy, we went for a drink and spent hours chatting - he's a great guy and we had a lot of fun, but I don't feel enough sexual attraction to him. I also met another guy I'm a lot more interested in.
    He texted me twice and wants to meet up again. Thing is, I am not sure if I should reach for an easy solution to call it off and just say that I am not interested enough?
    There are some things he does which puts me off, and I imagine they are off putting to other girls as well. For example, he keeps apologizing for EVERYTHING, even for asking me out and for being forward enough to kiss me. If I told him this, it might be very helpful for him in the future. What do you think - is it going to be troublesome to explain it to him?

    1. No. It will absolutely be appreciated, whether he shows it now or doesn't.

      The fact that you are contemplating giving him feedback, rather than just saying no, gtfo, is a big plus in my book, and it indicates you're a generally kind, and thoughtful person.

      1) You won't regret the experience.
      2) It will be as satisfying to tell him, as much as it will be beneficial for him.
      3) Even if he flips out, or gets depressed, it is better for him in the long run.
      4) What you're really "afraid" of is the discomfort you will have to yourself when you confront him. There may definitely be a genuine discomfort of seeing him continue to stumble because of this, (in which case you're a really nice person), but I think you wouldn't say there is absolutely NO part of you that is holding back because of discomfort to yourself. If you realize this, you can bring it into focus and do the deed.

      Plus, think of all the benefits of #1-#3. I bet you you won't regret doing it.

      5) Oh, I just remembered another one: you will be better at it in the future, and be more forthright in matters in general.

  2. @Anonymous - I suggest keeping it short and sweet. Just straight up tell the guy you aren't interested. DON'T give him "helpful" avcie or tips, here is why:
    1. If the guy is delusional, he will think by changing these things he has a chance with you.
    2. There is plenty of accessible relationship advice and psychotherapy available for people to 'fix' themselves.
    3. There is someone for everyone. Maybe there is some woman out there who likes being apologized to constantly, and can't find a guy to do it. Dont ruin this guy for her.

    People don't really change. They don't change in relationships (ask the countless women who pick a partner that they want to do a major overhaul/remodel job on) so why on earth would you think the guy is going to change for you when you clearly don't want a relationship?

    The guy just wants to know the truth or whether or not you are going to date him, he doesn't want or need excess information. Keep this about *you* not about pickig his personality apart and giving advice to him. Just say "I'm not interested". If he persists to know why say "I don't feel sexual chemistry for you, and I'm seeing someone else". He won't persist beyond that.

  3. Good topic to discuss, Andrew.
    We women have to do a lot of rejecting simply because of biology...yes, we sometimes face rejection too but not nearly as much as men do.

    So to know how to do it right is valuable.

    Hooking Up Smart has a post up right now on how NOT to do it...

  4. What about rejecting black men? They are so persistent and feel because I am a curvy latino that I must be into them

    1. Good question. One of my favorite things to observe in nightclubs is the difference in how black and white men approach women.

      You are definitely right that there is a difference. I am not entirely sure that you need a different approach to rejecting them, but in general the way I have seen women do it successfully with them is to simply walk away right from the start. Their approach is usually more abrupt so your departure can be also. Black men tend to expect that this will happen a good deal of the time, just like white guys know that their conversation will sometimes (or more) end in a polite exit.

    2. As a black woman Latino men bother all the time, I'd be interested in what advice you're given so I can reverse it. To me there is nothing worse than a Latino guy. I date white and Asian guys.

    3. You are probably a really nice woman, but the way you worded your post is crass and crude. Get a grip on your self. If you were able to write this, you should be able to reject the "...there is nothing worse than a Latino guy."


    4. People have their preferences.

      I can say the same about my preferences directly, abruptly, and with a straight face too. And it isn't necessarily bigoted, but is a cumulation of past experienced, repeated confirmation with new samples, and simply being aware of what you do like and don't like.

      If you're offended by the wording, then that's a different issue altogether.

  5. There is what I call the necessary breakup. I was dating a man who although we hit it ff and we had a real connection, he wasn't really ready to pursue a relationship. He was just months out of hurtful marriage. I finally sent him a loving email, stating all the reasons I enjoyed being with him; but it wasn't going to work out until he was further along in his healing. I let him know the door was always open. It was the hardest thing I had to do, but he was still depressed and confused about his breakup. I often wondered if I should have just backed off and not sent the note. He never responded to it or called. I did my best not to have it seem like a rejection, but it wasn't the right time. I do miss him and now wonder whether he will ever call again. I really felt he needed to focus on himself. He was emotionally drained and although I didn't need/want a lot, I just felt it would have been worse for any potentional relationship to continue under the circumstances. I'd be interested in a man's input.

  6. Whenever I reject a guy and honestly tell him that I'm not attracted to him, they always demand for specific reasons why I am not attracted and they become quite aggressive and demanding.

    The best tactic I have is to lie that Im in a relationship and they immediately move on.

    There are very few I know that would handle honesty.

    1. so is it the specific reasons that you're objecting to, or the "demanding" attitude?

      If they became demanding/angry/hostile without asking for specifics would you be equally turned off and not be straight up with him?

      If he was polite and sweet about asking for specific reasons, would you oblige him?

    2. Nina, I know EXACTLY what you mean. And Gwho, I can't speak for Nina, but it doesn't bother me if a man asks for specific reasons--sometimes I ask for specifics and want real feedback, and they might genuinely want to know. But I have a serious problem with the demanding/aggressive/hostile nature guys turn on when they are asking those questions---it makes a man seem immature and insecure, and always confirms my decision to walk away.

  7. What about rejecting a man for making a move on me sexually? We have been dating for a little over a month, talking every day and meeting up 2-3x a week. We have made out heavily but I'm not ready for sexual intercourse (I'd like to establish exclusivity first). I'd like to keep seeing him and explore where this could go, but he's been giving me the cold shoulder after I turned him down 3x in a row for sex... Please help!

  8. I don't know about other women but as I have increased my dating I realized that I would much rather be rejected than reject another person. Telling a guy that I am seeing that I no longer want to continue is nerve racking for me. Its actually surprising because I can be quite curt (though I curb it as much as possible) but I an extremely delicate when it comes to this. Part of it is I know what it feels like to be rejected (especially ignored) and I hate it! I don't want to inflict that on another person. However, the longer you continue on knowing your being insincere the harder it is to break things off.

    One thing that helps is remembering this: If the man I'm seeing found a better woman he wouldn't think twice about leaving me to pursue her. Likewise I shouldn't feel bad for doing what's best for me and pursue different, more fruitful options. You really don't owe a man anything until he has proven (through actions i.e. commitment) that he is worthy of your undivided attention.

  9. "Men take longer than women to get emotionally involved" - Didn't you say in another post that men are usually quicker to fall in love than women are?

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