Being the object of someone’s affection when you don’t share those feelings can be an awkward and painful situation. Especially when the person does not understand your subtle hints that the feelings are not shared. While no one wants to be the bad guy and hurt someone else’s feelings, this is a situation where it is often best to confront the issue head on.
Be polite but confront the issue face to face. Using text messages, emails, phone calls, letters or a friend to express your disinterest may not be the best solution, as it can be rude and leave room for misunderstandings. Ideally, you should be alone but in a safe, public place. Do not bring your friends along for moral support; it might just shame your erstwhile romancer. Sit him down and explain to him that you have become aware of his feelings for you but you do not share them.
Avoid common excuses that might lead him to believe he still has a chance. Excuses like “Now is not a good time for me,” and “I’m interested in someone else” might seem like a great way to let someone down gently, but in reality these excuses can just lead your pursuer to believe that when circumstances change he may still have a chance. Make it clear that you aren’t interested in him in the same way that he is interested in you without any equivocation. This doesn't mean you have to say something as harsh as, “I will never, ever, ever like you.”
Be direct and honest without being cruel. There is no reason to list all the reasons you don’t like him and don’t want to be with him. A simple, “I don’t think about you that way. I see you only as a friend and I’m not interested in pursuing a relationship with you,” is direct and unmistakable.
Limit contact with the person and don’t gossip. It’s hard enough to find out from the object of your desire that she's not interested in you. Finding out that all of her friends know about your embarrassment and are possibly gossiping about it just makes the situation worse and can lead to further confrontation. Keep the details to yourself and don’t gossip about how so-and-so totally wants you. Give the person time to get over his crush without you being constantly in his face, bringing up feelings and confusing the issue. Explain to him that you feel that you both need some distance and that this is not a further rejection of him as a friend, but that he should respect your wishes and allow each of you to have some space.
Be cordial whenever you run into the person, but do not be overly intimate out of guilt. It’s a very natural reaction to want to be extra nice to someone you have hurt, especially someone you have rejected. Ultimately, this instinct can make the situation more confusing and painful for the other person.
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- If you are in a situation where your pursuer becomes violent or threatening or is following you in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable, contact the police and make other people in your life aware of the situation. Harassment and stalking are crimes and need to be treated seriously. Your local police department will be able to guide you on how best to proceed, whether it be pressing charges, having the incidents on file or pursuing a restraining order.
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