How to Tell Your Best Guy Friend You Don't Like Him

Three Parts:Planning A TalkDiscussing Your FeelingsMoving Forward

You and your best guy friend have had a great friendship for the past few years, but lately he's been acting weird. Soon, you discover he's developed romantic feelings for you, which are not reciprocated. It can be hard to let someone down romantically, especially someone you consider a good friend. However, as this person is your friend, you'll need to be upfront with him right away. Plan a sit down talk with him to discuss your relationship. Be honest with him. Tell him you care for him very much as a friend, but are not interested in a romantic relationship. You may need to give him some time to move on. It may be awhile before your friendship returns to normal.

Part 1
Planning A Talk

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    Choose a good time and place to talk. You should be honest with your guy friend about the fact you do not like him back. Have a sit down conversation with him at a good time and place[1]
    • Pick a time when your friend won't be stressed. You do not want to tell him right before a big football game or exam. Instead, wait for a weekend afternoon when neither you nor your friend have big plans or obligations.
    • As it's just going to be you and your friend, pick a place that does not look like a date. Going out to lunch together may feel date-like, so choose something more low-key. What do you and your friend normally do together? Maybe you like to hang out in the park. This may be a better location.
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    Write some notes. It can be difficult to tell your friend you're not interested in him. In the moment, you may feel nervous. Therefore, try to write down your thoughts ahead of time. This will help you get a sense of how you feel, and figure out the best way to express that.[2]
    • Get a pen or pencil and paper and jot down your thoughts. How do you feel? What is the best way to express this?
    • From there, write down what you want from the conversation. Do you want you and your friend to work on salvaging the friendship? Do you need some space from this friend so he can sort out his feelings?
    • You should not read out what you're writing word-per-word during the discussion. This is more of a way to get your thoughts out. By writing out your thoughts ahead of time, you can better express them in the moment.
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    Feel some empathy for your friend. You want to try and get a sense of what your friend is feeling going into the conversation. Empathy is important at any point, but is vital to difficult conversations. Your friend may react negatively to the news, and you want to understand why so you do not become frustrated.[3]
    • Try to think how you would feel in your friend's position. Imagine having feelings for someone, and thinking that person may feel the same way. It would be crushing to hear the truth. Your friend will likely feel sad and disappointed, and worried about the harm done to your friendship.
    • Carry this empathy into the conversation. While talking to your friend, he may react poorly. He may become upset, or even angry. Try to remember your friend is going through something difficult. Remember what it's like to be in his shoes in the moment, and you'll be better equipped to cope with a negative reaction.
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    Remain open-minded. If you go into the conversation with assumptions, this may change how you act. For example, if you expect your friend to get mad, you may go into the conversation with hostility. Conversely, if you think your friend will shake it off easily, you may come off as uncaring.[4]
    • Remind yourself of what you don't know. You cannot know how a situation is going to unfold until it's occurring. Therefore, it makes no sense to make predictions.
    • Go into the situation calm and optimistic, but with no assumptions on how your friend will react. By keeping your expectations open, you'll find it easier to deal with a range of potential reactions.

Part 2
Discussing Your Feelings

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    Be honest about how you feel. You want to make sure your friend understand you do not want a romantic relationship. You do not want to give a soft answer, that gives your friend hope that you'll change your mind in the future. You should be as honest as possible about how you're feeling.[5][6]
    • Explain your feelings up front. You can begin the discussion with something like, "I know you have feelings for me, but I don't have any romantic feelings for you."
    • It can help to explain the reasons for your feelings, as this can give your friend closure. However, remember that being honest does not mean being brutal.
    • If you want to give a reason, be tactful. Maybe you're just not attracted to your friend. Do not say, "You're a little too short, and that's not my type physically, so I don't think it would work." You don't want to sound like you're tearing your friend apart. Instead, try something like, "I just don't feel a physical spark between us."
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    Make it clear you want to maintain only a friendship. A lot of times, saying, "Let's still be friends" can be misinterpreted. People may take this as a sign you may change your mind. Your friend may think you will eventually develop romantic feelings for him. Make it clear you want to continue the friendship, but without the hope of a romantic relationship.[7][8]
    • Emphasize you value the friendship. Say something like, "You are one of my best guy friends, though, and that's really important to me."
    • Honesty is important when you make it clear you want to stay friends. Don't leave it at, "Let's stay friends." Make it clear you only want friendship. Say something like, "I want us to stay good friends, but I just want to be clear I don't see a romantic relationship developing between us."
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    Listen to how your friend responds. Your friend may very well be upset or hurt by the conversation. That's understandable. Being rejected romantically hurts. You should listen to your friend's response. Allow him to express himself, just as you did.[9]
    • Your friend may be disappointed and upset. This is understandable. Try to be empathetic as you listen. Remind him that you do still value the friendship.
    • Your friend may also have some questions for you, regarding your feelings. If you choose to answer the questions, do so honestly, but without being brutal. If he asks why you're not attracted to him, say, "I'm just not" rather than diving into specifics.

Part 3
Moving Forward

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    Allow for some space. It can be very hard to return to a normal friendship after letting someone down. In the aftermath of your conversation, you and your friend may both need some space.[10]
    • You can try setting basic boundaries. For example, you could agree to just see each other at school for a set number of weeks.
    • However, you may want to have looser boundaries. You could, for example, agree to lessen up on contact, but with no specific rules how. You may find one-on-one hang outs, texting, and calling slow down, but that you still see your friend out in groups.
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    Show your friend you appreciate him. A good way to make sure a friendship stays strong over time is showing basic love and appreciation. Even though a romantic relationship is out of the question, find ways to show your friend you appreciate him. This will make it clear you value your friend's role in your life, even if you do not want a romantic relationship.[11]
    • Make sure to genuinely listen to your friend. Show interest in his passions, troubles, successes, and failures. Ask him, for example, how debate team is going. Wish him good luck, or make him a small card, going into a big competition.
    • However, you may want to hold off on gestures of appreciation for a bit after your talk. You do not want them to be mistaken for romantic interest.
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    Respect your friend's feelings. Being friends with someone who is romantically interested in you can be confusing. Even if you've made it clear that you only want a friendship, your friend may be harboring some hope things will change. Be aware there may be different expectations so you can navigate them accordingly.[12]
    • Make sure you understand there is no right or wrong when it comes to expectations or wants. Your friend may continue to want a romantic relationship with you, and he cannot turn off how he feels.
    • However, you cannot change how you feel either. This is equally important to remember. You should not feel guilty if you do not return your friend's feelings, nor should anyone make you feel bad about your feelings. It's always okay to feel what you're feeling.
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    Keep communication open. Going forward, keep talking to your friend regularly. If your friend's feelings do not go away, you may have to have a conversation again in the future. Make sure you and your friend keep communication open between the two of you.[13]
    • Uncomfortable situations can occur if your friend remains romantically invested in you. Feelings of anger and resentment may build, especially if you start dating someone else.
    • It's important to avoid building resentment. Let your friend know that he can still tell you anything, even if you're just friends. If he's feeling angry or frustrated with you, let him know he should not hold it in.
    • If you're able to keep talking, and navigating awkward or frustrating situations, you and your friend can salvage the friendship despite this setback.


  • Remember that your own opinion is just as valid as his. Just because he likes you doesn't mean you're obligated to like him back.
  • Be sure of your own feelings before you give him an answer. There's a small, subtle difference between, "I don't like you," and "I like you, but I don't feel ready to date you yet." Think carefully about what you really feel.

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Categories: Handling Rejection