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Forget Friendzoning - Just Reject and Be Done With It

There are lots of topics on GaG about friend-zoning and questions about whether or not someone may find them attractive, or have an interest to start a relationship. This is partly because the person who is on the receiving end of the attention may not know how to say something with honesty to politely end things before they start.

If you have someone in your life who is attracted to you, and you are fearful about breaking their heart or not knowing the right words to say, consider some of my examples. This way, you’re out of the woods, and the other person quickly knows where they stand.

Forget Friendzoning - Just Reject and Be Done With It

Auntie Ozanne’s Guide to Rejecting

1. Don’t mislead with false hope. “You’re so great and really attractive. If I wasn’t in the screwed up place I’m in right now, I’d probably date you.” This is terrible. This just feeds anticipation that when you’re out of your bad situation that you’ll come around. If you don’t intend to, then say words that are more definite. “You’re great, but I know I’m not great for you, and since I can’t put 100% in to this, that’s not fair to you. You need to find someone who can.”

2. Don’t turn them down only to flirt with them right after. Again, what a way to confuse a person! People who usually do this, thinking that once they say that they’re unavailable, they’re in a position to freely flirt with the person without abandon because the actual verbal message should have made it clear. It isn't. It’s also a way that people unwittingly use as power to continue the attention without having to answer for it. If that doesn't sound like you, then great - but that's how it can be perceived. Non-verbal communication is just as effective, and if you say one thing, but do another, you just put yourself right back at the beginning of trying to get them off your back.

3. Don’t feel so responsible for their feelings. They’ll get over you. Let them react as they see fit to their rejection without you feeling as though your honeyed tone and words of sensitivity toward them are needed. You’re not a horrible person for rejecting someone, and though you don’t need to be outright insensitive, you don’t have to pussyfoot around and invite late-night phone calls if they’re feeling bad because it’s "the least you can do". We shouldn’t be as egotistical as we think, that someone’s interest in us means we hold their heart in our hands. There’s no worse way to let someone get on with their life than to make them think they can’t even move on from you. They deserve to find that other person who will love them, so let them go, and let them grieve you in their own way. It’s out of your control.

4. Don’t avoid them unnecessarily. If someone who has a crush on you sees you unexpectedly, no need to run away and avoid. Still be the friendly person you are and say hi, and if inclined make your small talk and be on your way. This person is going to be analyzing your every move. So if you’re curt with the person, they’ll think it’s their fault they even liked you in the first place, and just because someone liked you and you didn’t like them doesn’t mean you have to start being a jerk toward them to leave you alone. If your nature is to be nice, then be nice. But if you’re overly nice, they go back to their friends and say, “He/she was so nice to me today, it’s mixed signals, what does it mean?”

5. Don’t feel the need to compensate the rejection with friendship. You don’t have to take on someone in your life as a friend to make up for things. You might feel badly that you don’t feel for them what they do for you, but being “friends” takes work and having someone in your life as a friend when you really don’t want them to be will feel more like you’re giving them a friendship out of pity. Imagine: friendship as a consulation prize. Why do this? It’s one more friend that might complicate things for you, and they will have to feel as though friendship was a runner-up position in your life that neither of you wanted. You both deserve better friends than what you can give each other. There is no rule that the saying, “Let’s just be friends” has to be literal. You don’t have to be friends. You don’t even have to talk to the person again. In fact, the whole "let's be friends" term is insincere and really shouldn't be said whatsoever if no friendship is to be had. If you don’t want the person in your life, you’re not being horrible, you’re doing both of you a favour.

You don’t have to be critical toward the person, getting in to the you’re-not-my-type excuses, which may be true. You can just get to the point.

What to say upon rejecting so there is no confusion how you feel:

  • “I’m flattered, but I know we’re not right for each other.”
  • “I can’t accept your gift, it wouldn’t be right. If I did, I run the risk of appearing as though I’m using you. As generous as you’re being, I have to ask you to take it back.”
  • “I’m not going to say ‘it’s me, not you’.. it’s us. I’m sorry, but we won’t work out, and I'm not interested in trying to make it work out.”
  • “You want this more than I’m willing to give you, and I’m not prepared for that.”
  • “I don’t need time. I need you to respect that I’m not interested.”
  • “I’m not being mean, saying no to you is not being rude, it’s being honest.”
  • “I don’t think it’s best we stay just friends, given the circumstance of learning how each of us feels. I think it’s best that each of us go our own ways for now.”
  • “No. I’m not going to answer whether or not I find you attractive because it would be futile.”
  • “I’m not ignoring you, I’m just back to the way I was before I knew you were interested."
  • “I didn’t mean to waste your time. I thought we were just having fun as friends. Now that I know that I've crossed the line, I’ll have to stop so there is no more confusion about it.”

Forget Friendzoning - Just Reject and Be Done With It

(I found this photo and thought it was interesting... Who of these two do you think got rejected here?)

Forget Friendzoning - Just Reject and Be Done With It
Add Opinion

Most Helpful Guy

  • ObscuredBeyond
    You should be concerned for their feelings. But you should also remain firm in your position. Instead direct their energy toward something else to which they may feel impassioned. And do so in a caring way, because you feel they're better off without you and you want them to see that for themselves. Not in a shallow or dismissive way like your sole purpose is to get rid of them. The rejected party will always see through that, it will ring as dishonest.

    But whatever you do, don't entertain an idea in their head, then go behind their back and cut them off without explanation. If you mislead someone, you owe them an apology, if not an explanation. My one former prospect couldn't even be bothered with an apology for the confusion she caused. Instead, she started spreading ugly false rumors to turn my own mom against me. It didn't work. And it turns out, it was all because of a video game. I didn't want to play it all day every day like she did, and I wasn't interested in her dictating to me how to play it when I did feel like playing. So what she did was petty revenge - taken way too far. That, and I caught her in a few lies.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Ozanne

      Wow.. almost this exact thing happened to me when I played World of Warcraft. I was in a long-distance relationship with a paladin and I got sick of him and the game and didn't want to log in anymore. He went bananas and did the same thing -- called my mom to try and get to her with nothing but lies, all because I wasn't interested in being with him anymore, long distance or otherwise. (I had to vanish and sprint.) Talk about not being able to take it. I really did try for a long time up to that point to get rid of him, and nothing worked, except a good clean break. No matter what I did, no break up was good enough, or good timing. I hate this when the rejected just manipulates the person in to keeping them around because of these guilt trips. That's why I learned, better to just cut and run because you just never know what kind of psychopath you're going to have on your hands if you don't.

    • I still wanted the gal, until she started lying to my mom. I was even willing to forgive the other lies. However, she entertained the idea of a relationship then decided that she didn't want a meaningful friendship even, just to use me as a game buddy to raise her XP faster - and so someone would listen to her.

      She ditched me when I made it clear I wanted more than a shallow gaming buddy, and that her dictating to me how to play was wrong. When she did leave, I expressed to her in a message I was heartbroken, but willing to move on. But I wanted to be certain it was her choice, and that she wasn't hacked.

      It was the real her. And then she lied to my mom about things to cover her own tracks. Senseless and heartless. Claimed I was interrupting her at school, when I didn't have a vehicle to do that with and was working during those hours. She also hated me for getting a job at the store her mom likes to shop at. Weird bitch.

    • Bluemax

      That's interesting. My friend developed a crush on a guy she played WoW with. She had never meet the guy in person; never even so much as seen what he looked like, but she got a crush on him. Then she found out he was seventeen...

    • Show All

Most Helpful Girl

  • RainbowFanGirl
    This is a mistake that I made. I didn't want to completely reject my ex because I felt bad for the guy, which lead him on because I wasn't straight forward with rejecting him. It just lead to me getting depressed because he was so angry with me giving him false hope. I don't know if what I did was absolutely horrible, but I was naive and stupid with the execution. After a while, I rejected him the right way and ended it. The relationship was toxic anyways..
    Is this still revelant?
    • Ozanne

      There's no pleasant way to break it off or end it before it starts. You have to look out for YOU, not anyone else. This is why those who put us in guilt trips when they're being rejected are in a weird way trying to get power over the person to stay or to eventually find them worth being with. They start to bawl their brains out or beg and plead - I'm talking about the really insecure types who don't get the meaning of the word "no". You never know what you're in for when you have to reject, so best to look after you and they will deal with it the way that suits them best. We can't help that. And sometimes, no matter if we're nice about it or not, we're still going to be the bad guys, so may as well cut it off and not feel so inclined to play nice-nice about it.

    • That's true. I was as nice to the guy as I possibly could be, and I still ended up being the bad guy. He wrote a song about me and posted it to YouTube, and he talked about me to my friends, trying to get them to hate me. I was depressed for the longest time because of what he did. I never did any of those things to him.

    • Ozanne

      That's manipulation. I knew a girl who was so badly harassed by a guy after saying no all the time, but publicly he did sweet things to make himself look like he was just too nice and not deserving of getting shafted so badly. During a public karaoke night, she was singing and he went up to the stage and bent down on one knee and gave her a rose, holding it out. She was IN THE MIDDLE OF SINGING, and what a girl - never missed a note. She was backing up and finally when her song was done, left the stage really fast with people booing at her. You could hear everyone saying "Awww" and booing because the people in the audience didn't understand the whole story. She was a victim of harassment after repeatedly telling him she wasn't interested. The ploy was intended to make her look bad and him look like a prince. Total control trip, and just knowing that, looking back on it - can you imagine their breakup had she gotten together with him? He would have been a nightmare to get rid of!!!

    • Show All

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • Bluemax
    Very well put.

    I would argue that searching for a painless or gentle way to let someone down is like searching for El Dorado. It doesn't exist.

    In letting someone know quickly and decisively you aren't interested in someone, you are in fact being compassionate and gentle, even if it seems counterintuitive.

    Oh, I almost forgot!
    (insert obligatory remark about how the friend zone doesn't exist)
    • Ozanne

      I noticed this coincides with your recent myTake:
      And yes, making it clear you aren't interested right away is better to be made up front immediately rather than letting feelings drag out to the point where they actually develop more than they should.

    • Bluemax

      Thanks. As counterintuitive as it seems, letting someone down quickly and decisively is actually compassionate.

    • Bluemax

      So as not to inundate Rainbowfangirl's box, I'll answer your question here.

      I asked because you don't often see people our age making gestures like that to people who don't particularly like them. I would also wonder about the average age and gender of the people booing. As to your second question, I would say that it isn't a matter of acceptance so much as there is an age at which I would think it's a forgivable mistake, though at the ages you mentioned I think they have surpassed that age.

      I think what the crowd did was uncalled for at any age. If I were there, I might (please note I said "might") have let an "Aww..." (as in, sorry you embarrassed yourself, guy), but never a boo. If the girl feels bad that I said, "Aww," then she should know I feel sympathy for both parties.

      Now, a similar question for you, Ozanne. Should we judge this situation if say a 14 year old did it the same as if a 34 year old did it? (to answer my own question, absolutely not...

    • Show All
  • Kalinda
    very good i like this and i agree. especially the part about people being so egotistical that they have to let the person down so easy they appear to be in love. its condescending anyhow. when someone is honest with you they are being courageous not weak. to return that bravery by treating them with syrupy words and kid gloves is just incredibly demeaning and obnoxious.;
    • Ozanne

      Condescending! That's the word I was searching for there. :) You are right.

    • Kalinda

      :) thanks for writing this. its vey much needed for all genders o get off their high horse and just pit it straight. i think people dont want to directly reject bc it feels good feeling like the persons world will be shattered. and as long as you dont quit reject them you can continue the illusion that thats the case. most people carry a flame for someone and its often not required. interest from a person you're not int isn't great but its greater than feeling undesired. if you're a coward that isa. its unfortunate brave acts goer received by cowards. and that when you like someone you have an almost automatic reference for them.

      i say respect and reject


    • Kalinda

      people play as much games in rejection as they do in chasing. smh

    • Show All
  • Esplorare
    Lol, this article is perfection.
    I agree completely. Life is too short for all this wishy washy nonsense and wasting limited time alive being dominated by hopes that someone will one day want them.
  • Unit1
    I can't really tell if this works or not or something... but it makes only much sense.
    You see, up until now I never had such an opportunity.
    Another excellent take!

    Aaaand about that photo... I think it's obvious, that the guy got rejected.
    • Ozanne

      LOL you're the only one who even answered about the picture! Thanks :)

  • neofuture
    Spot on post, I wasted all of high school on two girls who rejected me, learned my lesson. The hard way now In paying for it, 18 and not even a kiss, In essentially screwed for college lmao
  • peachblossomluck
    My dad said to just tell the guy straightaway that I am not interested, that it's kinder to be direct. Nice take btw! Awesome advice☆
    • Awesome dad. Wish more women had the advice you have. Saves us the trouble.

    • I think most dads would say that if more daughters had the nerve to ask.

    • Also if you are a girl with a lot if guy friends, chances are, you are getting a more realistic perspective of guys and how to communicat better (hopefully)..

  • Nice myTake. If only people could see honesty as the ultimate kindness! In the picture, the guy got rejected..
  • JuicyBrain
    It makes sense, like everything else you say Auntie @Ozanne :-)
  • oracle12c
    Very good take, and you are absolutely right, dragging it on won't help anybody.
  • glockenspiel
    Great take. Thanks!
  • Anonymous
    This girl I liked friend zoned me but now she wants to be friends with benefits. She's not ready for a relationship like I am because of personal and health issues so I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place I might ask her if she'd be inclined to date in the future can't hurt. But I agree with this take fully.
    • Ozanne

      Wow.. Sounds like she's really being unfair to you, not considering your feelings! :(

    • Anonymous

      She actually told me to control my feelings and emotions and it hurt a lot. But I can blame her she has some health issues to take care of but regardless I feel hurt.

    • Anonymous

      Can't blame her.*

  • Anonymous
    yes but most won't do this they'll waste our time which is why I always punch them in the face afterwards :)
    • Ozanne

      LOL!! Yeah that will teach them for next time!