How to Not Lead a Guy on

Flirting is one way guys get the wrong idea.Flirting is one way guys get the wrong idea.

You may feel flattered when a guy shows romantic interest, but leading him on can cause confusion and pain. Be honest and keep a platonic barrier between you; avoid gifts, spending time alone and flirtation. Keep the buttons on your shirt above your cleavage and pay for your own dinner. Eventually he'll pick up the signal that you aren't ready for a relationship.

Step 1

Tell him you enjoy his friendship and want to find even more friends like him to spend time with. Don't be shy about discussing other guys in a romantic way. The gesture may make him jealous, but it can also send a signal that you want to stay friends.

Step 2

Avoid wearing overly provocative clothing when hanging out with him. Sexy clothing makes a man's eye wander, and it may also create a belief that you are interested in him romantically. Keep your outfits simple, without low-cut tops, short skirts or necklaces that accentuate your chest. Save the perfume for dates with others, as fragrance provides powerful sensory stimulation.

Step 3

Decline extravagant gifts. If he presents you with a necklace, romantic getaway, or even an expensive dinner, just say "No." Tell him you appreciate the gift, but you are unable to accept it because you are not interested in a relationship and don't want to feel obligated. Insist on paying your own way at events. If he slips his credit card to the waiter, offer to pay for the next meal -- and do it.

Step 4

Avoid returning flirtatious gestures like touching and snuggling. When you hug, pretend you are hugging a member of your family; keep it simple and quick. When he touches your hand, move your hand away. Common physical signals of interest you should avoid are sitting too close, rubbing his leg with yours and touching his body, including tapping his thigh to get his attention or tickling playfully.

Step 5

If he invites you to a night out, suggest bringing friends. Having friends around you can ensure the night stays PG, particularly if you carpool. If possible, avoid sitting next to, or directly across from him to keep his flirting minimal. Make sure you include single friends in the group, so the night doesn't look like a double date.

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  • If you want to remain friends with the guy, tell him how much you value his friendship.


  • Some guys do not pick up on signals and will interpret a broad range of behaviors as flirting.

About the Author

Chrystal Doucette was health and education reporter for "The Columbia Basin Herald," a staff reporter for the "Snohomish County Tribune" and a contributing writer for the "Everett Business Journal." She owns and operates a retail business full-time since 2010. Baldwin holds a master's degree in communication and a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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