How to Tell Someone You Just Want to Be Friends

Updated October 21, 2018
Girl Just Want to Be Friends

Do you need a little help learning how to tell a guy you just want to be friends? Dating coach Lori Gorshow offers tips on letting someone know you're not interested in more than friendship.

How to Tell Him You Want to Be Friends

It takes courage to ask someone out, especially when it risks an existing friendship. "In life, there are very few sure things. One sure thing about love is that you can't have it without risking heartbreak," said Gorshow. "Fortunately or unfortunately, you just can't have one without the other. Moreover, the discussion supports either love as a risk worth taking or heartbreak as a very painful experience not worth repeating." Recognize the courage it takes to ask someone out and be kind in your response.

Don't Dance Around the Rejection

The clearer you can be in your intention to stay friends, the better. Being vague or giving false hope will only confuse him and can result in frustration all around. "I don't want to be more than friends" is preferable to "I don't really want to date you right now," which indicates a time may come when you do want to date him.

How to Tell a Co-Worker You Want to Be Friends

Gorshow has specific advice for telling a co-worker that you're not interested in anything beyond friendship or co-workers. "If the guy from work is really into you, it is because he thinks you are a risk worth taking. The fact that you are not that into him is the consequence he faces for taking that risk. There are a few ways you can lessen the impact of rejection."

Softening the Impact of Rejection

"Understand that while he may have feelings for you, or at the very least interested enough to 'want to see what develops', the longer you take to set the record straight the worse he is going to feel about your lack of interest," advises Gorshow. "The second thing you can do is focus on the fact that it may be in your best interest to try to maintain a positive relationship has co-workers, so it will be important to clear things up diplomatically."

Be Clear

Gorshow suggests specific wording to be clear in your preference. "You could say something like, 'I had a fun time when we hung out the other night, which is why I want to make sure that you and I are on the same page," said Gorshow. "'I have a professional rule I set for myself to never date a co-worker. Having just started a new job, I don't want any misunderstandings between us. Having said that, I would like it if we could just remain friends?'"

Safety in Numbers

"The final thing to think about is keeping the rule of 'more is safer than less'," said Gorshow. "The key to this rule is to go out in groups of co-worker or friends rather than just the two of you. So the next time he asks if you want to hang out, you can say, 'If it's a group thing count me in, but if it is just the two of us, I am going to have to invoke my rule of no dating co-workers.' The more you are consistent with following your rules, the better relationships you'll have with the people you work with."

How to Tell a Teen Guy You Want to Be Friends

Teenagers are learning how to navigate relationships and may not understand that some girls simply want to be friends. "Come up with excuses that are clever and take the pressure off." Gorshow further suggests, "Blame your parents for putting some rules in place; tell boys that your parents have a strict rule about not dating until you are a certain age. You can also let a boy down gently by telling him you are so involved with school and after school sports/activities that you can't devote the proper amount of attention to a relationship."

Placating Teen Boys

It is not the job of teenage girls to make teenage boys feel better about getting rejected. While it's important to be kind when telling a guy that you're not interested in a relationship beyond friendship (at any age) since emotions are involved, it's far more important to be clear and not apologetic about not being interested. No girl or woman is obligated to date a boy or a man just to protect his ego.

Stick to Your Decision

Just because a man expresses interest, it does not mean that you can keep him on the back burner if nothing better comes along. Once you reject him, don't send mixed messages that will confuse the situation.

How to Tell Someone You Just Want to Be Friends