31 Nice Ways to Let Someone Down Easy & Reject Them In Person or Text

If you need to know how to let someone down easy, the bad news is that it’s pretty difficult. With the right words and timing, you can avoid the hurt. 

how to let someone down easy and reject them in person or over text

You won’t like everyone that likes you. It’s a fact of life. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of rejection, you know it stings. You don’t want to be the cause of that for someone else, especially someone nice. Learning how to let someone down easy is the way forward.

First of all, you have to accept that you can’t change their reaction no matter what you do. Even if you let them down in the best way possible, they’ll likely still feel hurt. At the very least, their ego will be bruised. 

There’s no getting around that, but it’s okay. Everyone gets turned down, and the fact that you want to do it in the nicest way possible says a lot about you. [Read: How to reject someone nicely and make sure you don’t lead them on]

What you need to know about letting someone down

The most decent thing is to let someone down in person. Are there other ways, too? Of course! You can let someone down over the phone, but that should only be done in certain scenarios.

To make this easier, we’ll tell you the many mistakes most of us make while turning someone down and the different ways to let someone down.

Before you know it, you’ll know exactly what to do and how to let someone down easy without hurting them or saying the wrong things! [Read: How to have difficult conversations without losing your nerve]

How not to let someone down easy – the mistakes many people make

There are quite a few ways to let someone down easy, but what you might think is a good method could actually be a pretty common mistake. 

When you’re planning to let someone down, you aren’t only thinking about not wanting to hurt them but also your own discomfort. As much as you convince yourself it’s all about protecting the other person’s feelings, it’s also about you. 

Making yourself comfortable when letting someone down isn’t the priority, is it? You’ll feel awkward. How could you not? 

Turning someone down for any reason is weird. You don’t like being around someone who’s upset, but knowing that you caused those feelings sucks. [Read: How to be mean to people without turning into a mean person]

Remember that letting someone down easy is about their feelings and not yours. The next time you’re trying to let someone down easy, do not do these things.

1. Do not lie

It may seem like a good idea to come up with a lie so that they don’t take your rejection personally, but it won’t help in the long run. You’re trying to spare their feelings by claiming that you still have feelings for your ex or are too busy with work, but would you buy that?

Lying is usually obvious when you are letting someone down, so don’t bother doing it. Telling the truth is always the best bet. [Read: Types of liars – ways to confront them and not lose your cool]

2. Do not apologize

We apologize when rejecting someone because we feel bad, but apologizing means you did something wrong. Telling someone how you feel is never wrong. 

You’re doing what’s right for you. Be firm and honest, but don’t apologize. Saying sorry is more about lessening your own guilt than helping their feelings. [Read: How to turn down a second date in the most non-awkward way]

3. Don’t be subtle 

You don’t need to give specific details about why you’re not interested in them, but don’t be too subtle either.

Saying something like you’re busy or going out of town doesn’t actually say what you mean, and it leaves them thinking that there’s still a chance.

If you don’t want to spend more time with this person, be clear and concise about it. Beating around the bush might be more comfortable for you, but it only further confuses the person you’re letting down.

4. Don’t put it off

If you’re wondering how to let someone down easy, don’t stall. Don’t put off ending things because you can’t face their reaction.

The longer you let things go on without saying anything, the worse it’ll be for you and them. You may think that avoiding them would give a hint of what’s to come, but it doesn’t. 

If you want to let someone down easy, you actually have to let them down. You can’t just put it off until you can’t take it anymore. When you know it won’t work out, they should too. [Read: Are you just friends, or is he interested in you? 16 signs he can’t hide]

5. Don’t be too specific

You can be honest and tell them you don’t see it working out because you want different things or have different lifestyles. You don’t have to go into details.

It’s one thing to say that you don’t click or you see the world differently, but it’s entirely different to list all the reasons you don’t like them. Don’t do that, especially if you want to let them down easy.

6. Don’t ghost them

Ghosting might be easier for you because you won’t have to deal with their reaction, but disappearing and hoping that they get the message is not nice at all. They’ll simply end up confused and won’t understand what they did wrong.

That could last for a while, and they don’t deserve that kind of torture. [Read: Like ghosting? Well, prepare yourself for these consequences]

7. Don’t be mean so that they reject you instead

This is a game. If you aren’t interested in someone, don’t behave badly so that they reject you. Just be straight with them. Games only make rejection worse.

You’ll also inflict pain on them, and it’s not fair to do just because you don’t have the courage to be honest. [Read: How to treat people better and live a much happier life in return]

8. Don’t over-explain

Unless you’re breaking up with someone after a serious relationship, don’t over-explain your reasoning. They don’t need to know your entire past or that you met someone you like more.

Don’t offer them details they don’t need. This will lead to overthinking. Nicely rejecting someone is about the truth, not making yourself feel better.

A brief explanation is enough.

9. Don’t attempt to comfort them

This is always a bad move. Whether it’s a breakup or just letting them know you don’t want to meet up, do not try to comfort them. It’s too confusing. You’re essentially the one hurting them and making them feel better all at once. [Read: How to let a girl down easy and avoid the dreaded waterworks]

First of all, their reactions are not your responsibility. Secondly, you’ll just confuse them. When you are letting someone down, be firm. Tell the truth and step away.

How to let someone down easy – the right way to do it

Letting someone down easy should ease some of your guilt for hurting them. But remember that it isn’t about you. Letting someone down easy is about sparing their feelings.

Take note that they will inevitably be hurt. If this person likes you and you let them down, they will be hurt. That’s okay. What’s more important is that they clearly know the truth. [Read: How to stop a friend from flirting and hitting on you]

1. Do it in person

We always recommend ending things face-to-face. Using technology is a coward’s move. It is one thing if you haven’t even met yet or if you’ve only met once, but giving them the respect of an in-person conversation is the right thing to do.

2. Let them respond

A breakup, even after a short time, can be traumatic. Instead of fighting or just saying your part and taking off, talk. Let them respond.

You don’t need to give them every detail of why you want to end things, especially if you haven’t been seeing each other for very long, but let them say what they have to.

Closure isn’t necessary to move forward, but letting them tell you how they feel is respectful. It may hurt you a bit at the moment, but it’s for the best. You can both walk away with peace of mind. [Read: The breakup conversation you should use to reject someone without hurting them]

3. Be direct

Being direct can seem mean or rude. In the long run, however, telling them the truth and making sure that everything you’re saying is clear is more important than blurring the details for the sake of comfort. Make sure they know that you’re ending things.

Let them know that you appreciate getting to know them, but it just won’t work out.

4. Be kind, not comforting

You can be kind while turning someone down. Let them know they are a good person but just not for you. Just keep it strictly platonic.

Do not comfort them. This only makes letting them down more confusing. If they are feeling rejected and comforted by you in the same moment, they won’t be sure what they’re feeling. 

You can hug them goodbye but don’t dry their tears or let them know it will all be okay. Sticking around once they know you’ve ended it only makes things worse. You hate to be the cause of someone else’s pain, but comforting them doesn’t help. [Read: Dumper’s regret – The timeline and stages of regret of dumping someone]

5. Keep it brief

This one can sound rude, too, but your breakup should only take as long as is called for based on the relationship you had. 

If you dated for a few weeks, you don’t need to have an hour-long talk about closure. If you dated for a few months or more, it makes sense that you’d both need to talk a little longer.

If you’re just letting down a coworker that asked you for coffee, it should be a simple, “Thank you for asking, but it isn’t a good idea.” [Read: How to behave when someone rejects you but still acts warm and nice to you]

6. Always be honest

Honesty is the best policy. Don’t lead them on or beat around the bush. If you aren’t interested, just say that.

7. Don’t waste time

If you know that you don’t want to see them again after the first date, don’t hug them goodbye and say, “We should do this again,” just to be polite. The more you put it off, the more you’ll get their hopes up. [Read: If you’re regularly asking yourself, “Am I a bad person?” Read this]

8. Be clear

Don’t just say something like, “I’m not available.” They could take that to mean you’re just busy. Say that you are not interested. There’s a difference, and some people will take your kindness as hesitancy.

When learning how to reject someone, clarity is key.

9. Always be respectful

You can be straightforward without being cruel or disrespectful. If you went on a first date and they shared something that made you uncomfortable or disinterested, you don’t have to insult them.

You can simply say that you don’t think you’re compatible and leave it at that. [Read: Lack of respect in a relationship – 15 painful signs it’s true]

10. Remain calm

A lot of people go wrong by making sure that they come off like the good guy instead of just making a clean break. Defensiveness will make the entire experience worse for everyone. If you turn someone down and they react poorly, don’t interact.

Simply be kind and respectful, and walk away. [Read: How to respond to an overreaction without losing your cool]

11. Don’t offer friendship right away

Whether you think this will soften the blow or you actually want to remain friends, don’t offer that in the same sentence as a rejection. All it does is confuse them. Be clear and considerate.

If you reach out down the line about a local concert or reboot of a TV show you both liked, you can talk platonically but leave some space between those two occasions. [Read: How to get someone to stop texting you – the perfect excuses and examples]

12. You don’t need to apologize

You do not have to apologize. You have the right to say no at any point. Even if you feel bad for rejecting them, apologizing says that you did something wrong when you didn’t.

13. Stick to the point

Don’t go off-topic when learning how to reject someone.

Just say what you want to say to get your point across, and leave it at that. [Read: Ways to read mixed signals and turn the signs into love]

14. Add a compliment 

It never hurts to soften the blow with a compliment, but keep it brief. Something like, “You’re really funny, but I just didn’t feel a connection,” or “I’m attracted to you but didn’t feel anything deeper,” will do.

15. Wish them the best

Although a simple “no, thank you” to a date invite is good, it could be nice to wish them the best. A good go-to is, “I’m flattered but not interested. Best of luck in the future.” It sounds professional, but it keeps it calm and clean. [Read: The best compliments for a girl that work better than you think]

16. Close the door

Rejection is not an open door for something to happen in the future. This can be very confusing to the person you are turning down.

Leaving the door open for something in the future prevents them from moving on and strings them along.

Don’t say, “I’m busy right now, but I’ll let you know if things change,” unless you’re just going away for work for a month and want to see them when you get back. Keeping someone on the back burner so that you can try things with someone else is not cool. [Read: The scenarios when honesty is an obligation]

17. Accept that they will be hurt

No matter how nice and considerate you are, you are rejecting someone. If you’ve been rejected, you know the feeling. Whether it’s a job or a date, even the kindest no is still a still no. Accept that they will be hurt, shocked, or at least feel a minor sting.

[Read: Simple ways to calmly deal with difficult people]

The best ways to let someone down easy over text

As much as we like to advise that rejections and breakups take place in person, it’s not always feasible or even necessary. Our rule of thumb is that if you haven’t met in person, you don’t need to end things in person.

For instance, if you’ve been chatting on a dating app for a few days or weeks, you don’t need to plan a date just to end things. If you have met but haven’t kissed, a phone call or text is acceptable. If you’ve slept together, an in-person letdown is really the more respectful avenue. 

But for those times when you can end things via text, these are the best ways to go about it. [Read: What is ghosting, and how does it affect you?]

1. Do it fast

If you realize that you’re not into them after a first date, send the text quickly. You don’t have to wait until the next day. Once you get home and into your sweats, send them a polite, clear text.

Something like, “Thank you for tonight. I had a good time but don’t feel a romantic connection. Best of luck with everything,” is perfect. Don’t keep chatting with them before sending the text. Just do it. 

2. Don’t make a date

It can be hard to turn down a date, but accepting one and then canceling right before is a lot worse. If someone you’ve been talking to asks you to meet up, don’t put off saying no.

If you say yes or that you have to check your schedule, you’re giving them false hope only to let them down even more so later.

You haven’t met this person, so text them the reality of the situation. Saying, “You seem great, but you’re just not my match, so I don’t think we should meet,” is perfectly acceptable at that point. [Read: 15 signs of a bad first date that reveals a real lack of chemistry]

3. Be upfront

Letting someone down easy doesn’t mean you have to ease into it. Even if you’ve hung out a few times, if there’s no love connection, be honest. Let them know you’ve enjoyed their company, but you’re looking for something serious and don’t see it going there with them.

You don’t need to have small talk and ask how their day was before this. Just let them know as soon as you realize it. 

4. Don’t use memes

Do not use memes, emojis, or any other weird digital communication methods. Use your words. Turning them down via text is already impersonal enough, but adding a crying face emoji will only be distasteful.

You want to let them down easy but still take their feelings seriously. [Read: 15 excuses and nice ways to tell a guy you’re not interested and don’t like him]

5. Don’t expect a response 

In the modern dating age, being dumped via text is super common. Even if you said it nicely and were hoping they would understand and wish you luck back, they may not. If they don’t respond, let it be. Don’t check in on them or make sure they got the text.

You may have assumed they’d be crushed, but maybe you just ended it before they got a chance. Take this as a win.

Be the bigger person and reject in the right way

Ghosting someone is just cowardly. If you don’t like someone in that way, it’s fine to say that you don’t want to take it any further. What else are you supposed to do? Date them when you’re just not feeling it? They would prefer that you’re honest, even if it stings a little at the time.

Learning how to reject someone nicely means that you’re being the bigger person. You’re honest enough to admit that it’s just not going to happen. That frees them up to find someone who does think they’re amazing, and you can go and do the same. [Read: How to learn from the rejections you’ve faced]

You don’t have to apologize. You’ve done nothing wrong. You also don’t need to give them a rundown on why it’s just not happening for you. It’s not, and that’s all they need to know.

Be mature and honest, and let them down as gently as you can but as firmly as you can, too. That’s the most important thing you need to know when learning how to reject someone.

[Read: How to say no – stop pleasing people and feel awesome instead]

It’s great that you want to learn how to let someone down easy. As long as you’re honest, it shouldn’t be too hard. Just remember that you are ending it for yourself. Be sure that is your goal, even if their response isn’t what you hoped for.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...