How To Let Someone Down Easy (Without Leaving Room For Confusion)

“Women, myself included, constantly try to rationalize and dissect men’s behavior. That process of analyzing and scrutinizing every moment, signal, and text is exhausting and tormenting. Sometimes, our thoughts take over and linger until we are 110 percent sure that they are not interested. It would be so much easier if the guy was straight up and said he was not interested so we could move on and quit with the ‘what if’s.'”

How To Let Someone Down Easy

How to Break Up Respectfully

In the beginning, it’s exciting. You can’t wait to see your BF or GF — and it feels amazing to know that he or she feels the same way. The happiness and excitement of a new relationship can overpower everything else

There are lots of different reasons why people break up. Growing apart is one. You might find that your interests, ideas, values, and feelings aren’t as well matched as you thought they were. Changing your mind or your feelings about the other person is another. Perhaps you just don’t enjoy being together. Maybe you argue or don’t want the same thing. You might have developed feelings for someone else. Or maybe you’ve discovered you’re just not interested in having a serious relationship right now.

Don’t use fake lines.

“Getting closure from a bad date is important. Us guys are needy. Someone needs to create an app like Yelp so we can anonymously leave and read reviews for dates to hear things like, ‘Probably shouldn’t have started talking about your mom after the second beer. 3 stars.’ Online dating has saturated the market. Help us compete, ladies.”

“Dear men: We are not the precious breakable flowers that you think we are. If you don’t want to tell us that you don’t ‘like like’ us because you don’t want to hurt our feelings, get over it! Sometimes you hurt people’s feelings. It’s life. It’s unavoidable. You’re a grown-up now and these things happen. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t hurt to find out someone doesn’t want to hit this on the regular, but what’s worse are the questions that linger when you say nothing at all. Radio silence is for cowards.”

Letting A Guy Down Easy

Letting someone down easy is a mercy for you both: you are both able to keep your dignity firmly intact in an uncomfortable situation, and the person being let down can leave the interaction without feeling attacked, mocked, or further humiliated. It is important to note that no one comes out of a rejection pain-free, even with the best intentions and most effective communication. In letting someone down easy, your goal is to minimize the feelings that often accompany being rejected, not mitigate those feelings altogether. To let a guy down easy:

Honesty is often mistaken for brutal honesty, but the two are not the same. You can be honest and straightforward with someone without involving brutality or coarse language. Letting a guy down easy can be as simple as saying, “I’m not interested in having a relationship with you.” You can give your reasons, or you can leave it at that. But being honest and straightforward simultaneously removes the impulse to wax poetic or further press you and gives you a clear means of removing yourself from the situation.

A part of being honest is saying what you want. If you want to be friends with someone, but don’t want romance, say so! “I would love to have a friendship with you, but I don’t want a physical or romantic relationship.” Suppose the person you are letting down can handle the shift in your relationship; great! If not, he has the opportunity to say so and move on.

Rejection is hard enough without an audience. If you know that you need to have a serious conversation with someone and let them know that you aren’t interested in romance or any relationship, make sure you do it in an environment that is at least somewhat private. Your friends do not need to witness you rejecting someone, and neither does him; set aside a few minutes to speak privately, even if you are within view of friends or family, and make a plan to separate immediately after you speak.

Think about how you’d like to be told that there was no possibility of a relationship and tailor your speech accordingly. Unfortunate though it may be, putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes, rather than the instigator, can help you find a kinder, gentler way to let someone know that you are not interested in pursuing a relationship or you want to leave an existing relationship.

Texting, emailing, or DMing (direct messaging) someone to let them know that you are breaking up with them or halting the progression of your relationship is usually easier for you but can feel humiliating or disrespectful to the person you are rejecting. With a few exceptions, rejecting someone in person is difficult but a necessary aspect of behaving in a mature, respectful manner that leaves room for dignity for both of you.

Make space for the person you are letting down to feel sad, upset, betrayed, or confused. It is not your responsibility to make sure they are managing their feelings effectively, but letting someone down does involve seeing and experiencing the emotional difficulties of others. Provided that you feel safe, and are being treated with respect, make space for the person you are rejected, and allow them to express how they are feeling, as well.

In some cases, you might be nervous at the prospect of rejecting someone because that someone has repeatedly behaved in a way that made you feel unsafe. If this is the case, some of the rules of letting someone down easily should be set aside, such as not speaking in the presence of others and making sure your interaction is done in person. If you feel unsafe, you should always have someone else with you and several people who know where you are and who you are with. Even this can sometimes not offer enough protection, and a rejection delivered over the phone or online is the safest and most effective option.

Letting someone down easy and being a pushover are two very different things, but they are often equated. Letting someone down easy does not mean using language that is confusing, unsure, or vague, as this can perpetuate a relationship you have no interest in being in. Far from making you a doormat, letting someone down easy actually allows both of you to move on from the relationship (or budding relationship) with your health and self-esteem largely intact. Because romantic relationships (and friendships) can leave lasting, gaping wounds when they end in traumatic, overwhelming, or closure-free ways, it is important for both of you that all endings are definitive and clear.

Letting someone down easy can quickly turn into waffling if you are not sure of yourself or easily swayed to others’ opinions. If, for instance, you tell a man you’ve been on two dates with, “Thank you for going out, but I just don’t feel the spark I’m looking for.” He responds with something akin to, “Can you tell after only two dates? C’mon-go out with me again,” and you find yourself leaning into his persuasion; you may have trouble with your self-worth, self-esteem, or self-respect. If you suspect you have difficulty in this area, or you have a history of being in lackluster relationships or changing your mind to make others happy, it might be wise to meet with a counselor or therapist before sitting down and having the “let down” conversation.


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