How To Say No To A Date Without Breaking Anyone's Heart

While some would argue that being rejected is the hardest part of modern dating, others find that having to reject people is worse. It's only natural to worry about hurting a person's feelings when declining their offer to go out, but in this case, rejection is usually the kindest path to take. Relationship coach Michael S. Sorensen explains that if you're not interested in someone, it's always better to make your stance clear than stringing them along. Giving them false hope is a waste of their time and yours.


Despite the discomfort you might feel when turning down a date, it's important to remember that you're never obligated to date someone you don't want to (via Healthy Framework). Wanting to spare someone's feelings isn't a reason to force yourself onto a date you're not feeling. Whether it's a first date with someone from Hinge, a second date you aren't interested in pursuing, or a friend who wants to become something more, you always have a right to say no. And while rejection is never easy on the heart, there are ways to decline a date gently that will be less likely to leave a scar.

How to reject someone kindly

When someone asks you on a date and you're not sure whether you want to go or not, always take your time to think carefully before responding. Oprah Daily points out that thinking over your decision before giving an answer can save you from a knee-jerk, people-pleasing response. So, don't feel obligated to say yes or no straight away! When you've decided that you want to say no, try to be honest, genuine, and kind (via Up Journey). Don't comment on the person's appearance or criticize them in any way; instead, frame the rejection politely by giving a non-personal reason. For example, you might say that the timing isn't right or you just didn't feel a connection. Compliments can usually help to soften the blow, as long as they're sincere.


Although it can prevent misunderstanding if you (kindly) give a reason for your rejection, you're also not obligated to explain yourself. If you feel too uncomfortable to honestly tell the person that you're just not that into them, you can also come up with a polite excuse (via Paired Life). You might tell them that work is really busy or that you've just started seeing someone else. If you do decide to tell a white lie, ensure there are no holes in your story. Additionally, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid when declining a date.

What to avoid when declining a date

If you know for certain that you're not interested in dating someone, try not to give them false hope when you reject them (via Hello Relish). Of course, it's easier to let them down by saying, "No for now, but maybe in the future." But while they seem kind, empty suggestions like this simply lead people on and waste their time. Additionally, personalities that tend to be less aware or more persistent might struggle to take the hint unless you make your no extremely clear, with no possibility of changing your mind. The Power Moves highlights that your attempts to spare a person's feelings might come off as patronizing when you reject them. Try to avoid generic, cheesy lines such as, "Don't worry, you'll find someone one day." If you're going to compliment them, choose something concrete that you genuinely believe. For example, rather than saying, "You're so nice, but I'm not interested," you could try, "You always make me laugh and I enjoy our conversations, but I don't feel any romantic feelings for you."


Though you never owe anyone an explanation, it's best not to completely ghost them — unless they're a complete stranger. Particularly if you've already been on a first date, it's better to turn a person down for the second date than disappear on them (via The Latch). As long as you remember to be kind and polite, your rejection shouldn't inflict any long-term damage.