How to tell someone you're just not that into them

(without being the villain in your own story)

Navigating the murky waters of dating and relationships is no easy feat. One minute you’re swiping right, buzzing with first date excitement, and the next, you’re sweating bullets trying to craft a text that says, “I’m just not that into you,” without sounding like a heartless monster. If the thought of letting someone down gives you anxiety-induced tummy troubles, fear not! We’ve got you covered with a guide to this tough conversation.

1. Embrace the awkward

First things first: accept that this is going to be awkward. There’s no magical phrase that can make that not be true. But remember, feeling uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing; it means you care about the other person’s feelings. So, wear your awkwardness like a badge of honor—it shows you’re human.

2. Think about your delivery

Now to answer the age-old question: text or in-person? While sending a text might seem so much easier (and it probably would be), it could also come off as impersonal or cowardly. If you’ve only been on a couple of dates, a text might suffice, but if you’ve been seeing each other long enough to know their dog’s favorite toy or the exact way they like their coffee, do it in person. It’s more respectful of the other person and shows them that you valued your time together even though you are moving on.

3. Start with the positive

Be honest but gentle. Start with something positive about your time together because, let’s face it, completely trashing the brief flicker of a would-be romance isn’t the vibe we’re going for. Maybe they made you laugh until you snorted, or they introduced you to the joy of ranch dressing on pizza (controversial, but potentially life-changing).

4. Be clear and direct

Now, for the actual letdown. Start with something like, “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, and you’re super [funny/kind/intelligent],” and then ease into the “but I’m just not feeling the romantic connection I’m looking for.” It’s kind but clear, minimizing the chances of confusion or misinterpretation. Don’t leave it ambiguous to try to make it easier—in the long run, if they’re confused and think they still have a chance, it’s not going to be easier for anyone.

5. Don’t wobble

Once you’ve delivered your piece, stick to it. There’s a chance they might try to negotiate a different outcome. While it’s tempting to backtrack to avoid hurt feelings, remind yourself of your very good reasons for saying no.

6. Treat yourself!

Congratulations, you did it! You navigated one of the most uncomfortable social interactions there is with grace. Now go treat yourself to something nice, like a fancy coffee, a new plant, or a three-hour nap. You’ve earned it.

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.