How to Let a Guy Know You're Not Interested & You Just Want to Be Friends

Avoid ignoring the guy's request or hoping he'll just go away.
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Letting someone down is never easy. When a guy asks you out, but you don't want to go, saying "no" in a thoughtful and considerate way is a must. Whether the two of you are already friends or you truly just want him as a pal, letting the guy know that you want a platonic relationship takes a mix of tact and honesty.

1 Honest Sensitivity

Although honesty is essential, being brutal isn't the way to go. While the guy isn't right for you, avoid pointing out his negative qualities, according to the article "How to Break Up Respectfully" on For example, instead of saying, "Sure, you have a good personality, but you just aren't cute," try something like, "You really make me laugh and I have fun with you, but I think that we're better as friends." Using an honest, straightforward approach shouldn't include being mean or harsh.

2 Equal and Opposite Reactions

Before you blurt out the first thought that's on your mind, consider how the guy will react to what you're about to tell him. If you truly want to be his friend, offending him won't get you there. Put yourself in his place, and think about how you would feel. Would you feel sad, angry or embarrassed if someone turned you down? Thinking about how the guy will react will help you to come up with a game plan for saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." For example, if you know that the guy has a super-sensitive side, think of a way to let him down that won't bruise his ego.

3 Negotiating Needs

When your boy bud tells you he's interested in you romantically, he's thinking about his needs. If you honestly haven't given him any reason to think that you're interested in him, he needs to know that your needs aren't the same as his. Respecting each person's differing wants or needs is part of any relationship or friendship, according to doctor of social and personality psychology Jeremy Nicholson in his article "Can Men and Women Be 'Just Friends'?" on the "Psychology Today" website. When the guy tells you that he's interested, let him know that you have different needs -- such as friendship. Gently explain that you don't have the same relationship needs that he does and that you are looking more for someone to hang out with than to date.

4 In Person

While it's tempting to text or email the guy, avoiding a sticky situation with impersonal technology isn't polite. If you're honest about wanting to be friends, give the guy the respect that he deserves and tell him in person. This means that you need to have a face-to-face discussion with him, communicating your message in your own words. Aside from avoiding texting or emailing him, don't send a friend in your place. Putting someone else in the middle is equally as impersonal and may make him walk away from your friendship.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.