How can I let this guy down gently?

So this guy that I honestly never paid much attention to has a major crush on me. He has basically admitted that he thinks I'm beautiful, was always nervous to talk to me in fear of saying something dumb, and remembers things that I said/did like five years ago when we first met. I recently went to a bar where his band was playing, and agreed to go to a sports game and bar with him. Whenever we run into people he knows, they always already know who I am or say things like ohhhhh I've heard some stuff about you. Though I have fun hanging out with him, I don't have any feelings for him. I'm 23 years old and have never been in a serious relationship. I kept telling myself to give him a chance. But I just don't like him like that. How do I let him go without hurting him too much?

Updates:
So I did let him down. Thanks for your advice everyone. It was hard for me to do. I'm pretty sure he hates me and hopes I die. But hopefully he'll find someone great and so will I.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Ah jeez.

    Honestly, there'll be no easy way to get around this - you can be gentle as you like but it might still hit home pretty hard for him.

    But! I'd still say you should tell him. Lay your cards out on the table. Tell him he's a brilliant friend to you, but you just aren't looking for a relationship with him and he can't change that. Tell him you'll understand if that means he wants to let go of you and cut his ties to get over you, but make sure he understands what you feel - or rather, what you don't feel.

    Otherwise he's going to torture, and torture, and torture himself because he doesn't know for sure that there's no chance with you. He'll keep trying until he knows otherwise.

    It's quite an awkward line to walk though, if you tell him and he cuts his ties. You might end up missing him more than you know.

    Good luck all the same!

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    • Thanks. I really don't want to hurt him.

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    • No, who would like that kind of news in this case? But better to be recognised as a mate rather than an "I don't like you", I think. Seems to me as though that's what he is - someone the asker's friendly with - phrase it however. Brilliant was probably a pretty poor choice of word though haha. As for the single date, I'd be down about it but I'd appreciate that at least the water was tested with her feelings.

      The "friend-zone" is a joke. If someone can't handle that someone doesn't like you the way you like them, you don't moan about it and stay friendly in the loose hope that one day they'll change their mind; you make a move in the other direction and get out of there. Especially here where he's gone as far as telling all his mates about her. Simple as that. Sure it'll hurt him, but being bitter about it? That's a slippery slope. Other people will come.

      Depends how he handles it really; five years is a long time. The sooner he realises what's going on, though, the better.

    • Yeah I don't want to keep messing with his feelings. I didn't know he liked me all this time until recently.

What Guys Said 6

  • A clean cut would be best. With respect. Respect is one of the most important things for a guy.
    You trying to "let him down gently" because you care about his feelings can send a condescending, patronizing message (even disrespectful if he thinks like me - I'm a man, not a child that needs his feelings taken care of, I don't need a mother).

    So I'd say you tell him something like :
    "Hey, I need to have an honest talk with you, you're not going to like it but I'm telling you because I respect you and don't want to lie to you or to myself. I'm not romantically interested in you. I did have fun hanging out with you, so I'd still like to be friends, but I'd understand if you didn't. "

    I'd really avoid the usual blatantly condescending, dishonest things like :
    - "You're such a great friend, I don't want to ruin it!"

    Good luck

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    • And I would also add, don't be afraid to be cold.

      This guy has apparently been thinking about you since he met you, for 5 years!
      He needs a reality check, that'd be better in the long run, because from what you say he seems very naive. You being completely honest would do that AND still show him respect.

    • Thanks guys! I like how you phrased the conversation. I most likely will use those exact words!

  • Well, since searching for a painless way to reject someone is like searching for El Dorado, you might as well do it quickly.

    I would say, "I'm sorry but I don't feel for you that way, and I never could." and allow him some time to be away from you.

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  • It's cool that you're trying to be nice. Obviously it's gonna suck for him one way or the other, but you can still be polite.

    Tell him that you're flattered and you like him as a person, but that you see him as a friend and it's not going to change. Then distance yourself purposefully, as @Bluemax said.

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  • If you don't like him you don't have to force yourself, there's nothing wrong in this, it's not the fault of anybody. You should tell him as soon as possible rather than let him grow ideas (guys have a REALLY a fertile imagination for such things)

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  • Tell him that you have a boyfriend. If he asks about him, tell that its personal, and you are not comfortable about it. Or you could tell him truth. Your choice.

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    • That's a good idea, but he knows that I'm single. :-(

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    • I know because I've gone through something similar. I just hate being the person to do this. :-(

    • If she says she has a boyfriend he might just wait around waiting for her to break up with the imaginary boyfriend. It has to be a clean, honest cut, the less lies, the better.

  • You cannot.

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    • Like you mean there's no way to tell him nicely? Like I'm completely screwed and he'll be crushed? :-(

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    • Damn it. :-( Thanks for your honesty though.

    • Mhm.

What Girls Said 2

  • Be upfront and honest. Just say, "Hey, we need to talk. It seems that you feel pretty strongly about me and I don't feel the same way. I understand if you don't want to be friends, but if you do, understand it will not go beyond a friendship".

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    • Exactly my point! Most people know that women tend to communicate more emotionally, and that men communicate more logically, but actually so few women get it.
      We don't need our feelings taken care of. Even if this guys does need it now, he must learn not to. Or he's gonna have a bad time in the future.
      One woman once rejected me along these lines, and to this day, I still have deep respect, although no more feelings, for her.

    • I'm learning that the more you "dance" around things the more it hurts. Being honest and to the point avoids more hurt feelings than necessary

  • No matter what it will hurt for him.
    Just explain to him that you only like him as a friend.

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