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Saying no and dealing with rejection

‘No’ is a simple word, but it’s often hard to say. It’s important to learn how to say no clearly and firmly. Don’t do anything you don’t want to.

But saying no sounds easier than it is. How do you go about it?

How to say ‘No’

Sometimes you might be asked out on a date, but you just don’t like that person in that way. How can you say ‘no’ without hurting their feelings?
Below are some tips. They’re also handy in other situations where you need to say no – for example, if your partner suggests something that you really don’t want to do.

Try and be honest about why you don’t want to go out with them – without mentioning any physical reasons, such as their weight or poor fashion sense. For example:

‘I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel the same way.’
‘I appreciate the way you feel, but I don’t think it’ll work out.’
‘I’m very busy at the moment, so I just don’t have time for a relationship.’

If you can’t think of anything, then just say ‘no’. You don’t always have to explain yourself.

  • Be firm, so they know you really mean it. But be nice, too. Don’t laugh, or say they’re being ridiculous.
  • To make the situation less awkward, try to start a conversation after your turndown. Like, mention a film you’ve just seen, or something funny that happened to you. If this doesn’t work, just politely excuse yourself and go talk to someone else or move away.
  • Appreciate the friendship. If the person is a friend, tell them that you appreciate their friendship and hope the two of you can still hang out. It may be awkward for a while and they may need some space to recover. But as long as you continue to treat them normally and with respect, the friendship may even grow stronger.

Tips for saying no

  • Look the other person in the eye.
  • Say clearly that you don’t want to do what they’ve asked.
  • Be aware of your body language (so don’t smile and look at the floor).
  • If necessary, explain why not.
  • Pay attention to the other person’s reaction.
  • If necessary, keep saying no until the other person gets the message.

Daring to say no

Many people find it hard to say no even when they’d like to. You might find yourself thinking irrational thoughts, like ‘If I say no, they won’t like me’. The answer is to change them into rational thoughts: ‘If I say no I won’t lose my boyfriend/girlfriend. If they respect me, they’ll still like me.’

Dealing with rejection

Whether it’s a job or a date, everyone ends up getting rejected at some point. And it’s a fact of life: being told ‘no’ hurts. It can be embarrassing and overwhelming. Everyone reacts differently and there are no quick fixes, but here are some basic tips that might help.

How to overcome being rejected

Dumped? Feeling the pain? Confused? Join the club. Here are some tips to help you come out the other side:

  • Your pain is normal
    Anger, sadness, disappointment, and hurt are common emotions to experience after a rejection. You may even have physical side effects, such as headaches, stomach pain, or nausea. (If you suffer from depression or similar conditions, your symptoms may even be worse, so don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.)
  • You’re allowed to be sad
    You’re only human and it’s normal to feel overcome by emotions after a rejection. You don’t have to ‘be strong’ or ‘put on a brave face.’
  • Find and express your emotions
    If this is the first time you’ve experienced rejection or the end of a relationship, it may take you a while to sort out your feelings.
    Having a good cry in a place you feel safe, such as your bedroom, can help release pent-up emotions. Let it all out. We all do it. Being a real person means you have real emotions. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
    Try to write down how you feel – not for anyone else, just for yourself. It can help you to work out how you really feel. And once the thoughts are down on paper, they might stop swirling round in your head.
  • Share your feelings with friends
    Share your experience with people who care about you. And listen to their stories. If you hear how others have coped with rejection, you may start to believe that you’ll be able to cope as well.
  • Stick to the facts
    It can be easy to start over-analysing the situation or to add details that may or may not be true. For example, instead of saying:

    ‘That girl didn’t kiss me at the party because I’m fat and ugly.’

    Stick to the facts, which are:

    ‘That girl didn’t kiss me at the party.’

    We know that it’s still a rejection and it doesn’t change the fact that a girl didn’t kiss you. But by sticking with what actually happened, you avoid upsetting yourself even more.
  • Avoid physical violence or seeking revenge
    If someone rejects you, it hurts, but it’s their absolute right. Never, ever try to hurt them back. Also, don’t take out your bad feelings on other people around you, by getting aggressive or violent. This will just push people away from you – and likely lead to more rejections and unhappiness.
  • Don’t fall into bad habits
    Alcohol, smoking, partying, drugs, random sex, greasy food… These are all methods people use to try and comfort themselves. But in the long run, they will only make you feel worse about yourself. Better to occupy your mind with something worthwhile, like sports or creativity.
  • Keep active. Learn something new.
    The busier you are, the less time you will have to feel sad. Take up a new sport. Join a club. Learn how to play an instrument. Try a new hobby. Learn a new skill. You will meet new people and feel better about yourself.
  • Focus on your positive qualities
    Rebuild your self-esteem! Start by asking your friends what they like about you. If this feels too awkward, write your own list of qualities that make you the perfect person to date. Are you loyal and caring? A good listener? A talented cook? Try to remember the times your friends and family have praised you. It will remind you that you are indeed quite fabulous.
  • Give yourself time to heal and forgive.
    Like most clichés, it’s mostly true: time is the great healer. But clichés are often easier said than done!
    We know it hurts now and it’s hard to imagine ever feeling different. But one day you’ll come out the other side. Promise. Then you’ll be ready to meet new and interesting people – one of whom will likely fall for you!

Dealing with a persistent admirer

It can be flattering when someone takes an extra interest in you. But it can also become uncomfortable, especially if you don’t like them in the same way. It can be especially tricky if this person is someone you see around a lot, such as a friend or colleague.

But if they keep following you around and asking you out even after you’ve said ‘no’, you’ll have to take a firmer approach.

  • Double-check your feelings. Are you certain you never want to go out with this person? By telling them to back off in a more direct manner, you increase the chances of hurting their feelings.
  • Let them know why. If you’re sure you don’t want to go out with them, then gently highlight your differences. For example:

    ‘We don’t have enough in common and I am just not that interested.’

    ‘We don’t have the same hobbies or friends.’

    ‘I am a lot younger/older than you and we have very different interests.’

  • Keep your distance from the person and try to avoid eye contact or conversations. Try to avoid being alone with them. If the person talks to you, take a step back and stand well away from them. If you do have to work together, be polite but don’t touch them or talk more than is necessary to get the job done.
  • Talk to someone who understands. Tell a friend what’s happening so they’re aware of the situation and help you out.
  • Talk about your crush or partner. Mention your current partner or crush in a positive way when your admirer is around. Never bring up your partner’s negative qualities as this can give the impression that you might break up with them. For example:

    ‘I’m so excited to see Jeff after school today. We’re really hitting it off!’

    ‘Oh, I can’t wait to finish work and spend time with Sally. She’s so gorgeous!’

  • If all else fails, be blunt. If you’ve tried everything, and they still haven’t realised that you’re not interested, then it’s time for brutal honesty. Tell them that you are not attracted to them. Make clear that you can never see yourself going out with them. It may be hurtful, but hopefully, they will get the picture and leave you alone.
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Recent Comments (94)

    1. We are not quite sure we know
      We are not quite sure we know what you mean…

    2. I really learn a lot today
      I really learn a lot today

      1. Hello Aloka best, thank you…

        Hello Aloka best, thank you so much for your positive feedback and we are glad you learnt something today! We will continue to do our best to provide you the latest and coolest information from Love matters! Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend ahead.

    1. We are glad you agree, James!
      We are glad you agree, James!

      1. Thank you for the feedback…

        Thank you for the feedback Comfort.

  1. truly ave lyk it haki
    truly ave lyk it haki

    1. We have approved your comment
      We have approved your comment 🙂

  2. lesson learnt very true
    lesson learnt very true

    1. We are glad to hear that,
      We are glad to hear that, John!

  3. We men sometime feel
    We men sometime feel unaccepted n rejected when a gal say NO! Hence assumes that they mean yes even if they truely mean a big NOO!

    1. That’s a great point there.
      That’s a great point there. And we are glad to hear this from a man! What do you suggest should happen in a case like this?

      1. according to me,a think it
        according to me,a think it wld b better to take thngs slowly bt nat in a haste,if a chicks tells me No i wont wsh to force ha say Yes,n if incase she tells a Yes tht wll b soo cool wid me as a guy

        1. Thanks for sharing your
          Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nelson.

    2. sex can only be enjoyed when
      sex can only be enjoyed when the two agree,if the man isnt willing, gal dont force him same applies to men. bt if u all r ready, it will be woouw!!!
      try this my dear friends

      1. We couldn’t agree more, Serah
        We couldn’t agree more, Serah!

  4. I like the way you put it.
    I like the way you put it. Let there be discussion between the two.

    1. We are glad to hear that,
      We are glad to hear that, Andrew.

    1. Is that to the important of
      Is that to the important of saying no?

  5. why is it that love
    why is it that love complecated like that

    1. Love and relationships are
      Love and relationships are all about communication. Getting that right makes it far less complicated.

    1. We are so glad to hear that!
      We are so glad to hear that!

    1. Hi Simran,
      that’s true.

      Hi Simran,
      that’s true.

    2. Love’s not blind but all
      Love’s not blind but all seing,however, infatuation is blind

  6. that’s right but sometime the
    that’s right but sometime the feeling that you have for some one may just make silence and go on. but it’s good to say no. if you don’t really feel it.

  7. that’s right but sometime the
    that’s right but sometime the feeling that you have for some one may just make silence and go on. but it’s good to say no. if you don’t really feel it.

    1. What’s really important is to
      What’s really important is to realize that a silence does not necessarily mean yes, either.

  8. dats true i relly injoy dis
    dats true i relly injoy dis page

    1. We are glad to hear this,
      We are glad to hear this, Lenard.

  9. Vry 2rue as w cann’t do thngs
    Vry 2rue as w cann’t do thngs against our will.

  10. ts true since t shows whom u
    ts true since t shows whom u r.

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      Thanks for your comment!

  11. i have realized that when it
    i have realized that when it comes to talk, many people really knows how to talk but only few react. in love and relationship what matters is communication and understandig because love itself is made by words and can be destroyed by words

    1. Good to hear you agree!
      Good to hear you agree!

  12. I hv learnt. of dis….dhks
    I hv learnt. of dis….dhks

  13. if she refuse by kissing and
    if she refuse by kissing and like to have with me sex what shall I do?

    1. Have you talked to her about
      Have you talked to her about this?
      Have you asked her why she is refusing?

  14. Bt why do men nt understand
    Bt why do men nt understand wn u say they wil force u into akindai anasindwa kuvumilia

    1. That’s a really good question
      That’s a really good question. One we don’t really have an answer to.

  15. Dats very tru i lyk dat page
    Dats very tru i lyk dat page,no one shld b forcd 2 do wat they dnt wnt.thnks

    1. We are glad to hear that,
      We are glad to hear that, Annah.

  16. I ave a gal fred idon’t
    I ave a gal fred idon’t understand wot she won’t but she is in colly ….but I avent have sex with him ed I won’t to now if she love mie .how can I now?

  17. I ave a gal fred idon’t
    I ave a gal fred idon’t understand wot she won’t but she is in colly ….but I avent have sex with him ed I won’t to now if she love mie .how can I now?

    1. You are welcome Loven.
      You are welcome Loven.

  18. What is u truely love a guy…
    What is u truely love a guy with all ur heart, I mean u find it hard to cheat.but this guy does no appreciate u and can ever dare date other girls and women yet u stay together. He don’t even want to be questioned why he comes home very late and drug…

    1. Hi Toolo, It is really…
      Hi Toolo, It is really challenging to have a functional or working relationship with your partner if they is no communication, you feel unappreciated among the other things you have mentioned. You need think about whether this is how you want to live for the rest of your life. If not find a good time to talk with your partner about the things that bother. The intention should not really to blame but to show your partner what he does and how this makes you feel and what it is doing to your relationship. Talk about this together and find a way forward that will work for you both. We wish you well. Check out the following article for more information:-

    1. We are glad Darline.

      We are glad Darline.

  19. Loving it, very educative
    Loving it, very educative

    1. You are very welcome…

      You are very welcome Josephine, we are glad. 

  20. I like this girl but I fear…
    I like this girl but I fear she will reject me when I ask her for a date.

    1. Hey Job, the only way to…

      Hey Job, the only way to know how she feels toward you is to ask her out. She may be open to this or she maybe uninterested in which case you will have to respect her choice. You need to be brave and confident to ask her out, remember, girls find confidence in a guy attractive. All the best. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/meeting-someone/how-to-date

    1. You are welcome Jovita.

      You are welcome Jovita.

  21. a friend of mine,call off…
    a friend of mine,call off our relationship(frinds) all becos i rufuse to kiss and have sex with with him.am trying all i could to fix things but he just not helping matters.please what can i do? seriously i jst want him for a frind

    1. Hi Bless, it is important to…

      Hi Bless, it is important to be clear about what you want from a relationship from the onset or when your relationship is changing. It appears in this case that you want different things in this relationship. Your friend however, seems to have thought your relationship was becoming something different which is not what you want. It is difficult to have it both ways, to reject his request and to still keep him as a friend. He wants more and you have to decide and be firm about what kind of relationship you want to have with him moving forward. Remember, he may interpreted your refusal to have sex with him as rejection which means the end of your friendship. However, the decision to have sex, when to have it and with whom to have it with, is your personal decision and you should not be rushed by anyone. Only have sex when you are ready to, when you are with the right person and when you feel it is the right time. A person who cares for you and respects you will accept whatever decision you make even when they don’t like your choice. Check out this article for ore information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/friends-with-benefits-a-win-win-situation

  22. I am afraid of being told no…
    I am afraid of being told no by a girl unless am sure I will not tell how I feel to a girl. I don’t want stress.

    1. Hey Dickens, it is difficult…

      Hey Dickens, it is difficult to tell for sure how a girl will respond to you if you ask them out. In the event they say they are not interested, all you can do is to respect their choice. Just because one girl said no doesn’t mean the next one will also be unavailable. You just have to keep trying, all the best. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/meeting-someone/how-to-date 

  23. This page has helped me much…
    This page has helped me much thanks,,,,,

    1. We are glad Kathryn and…

      We are glad Kathryn and thank you for the feedback. 

  24. Love the page very educative
    Love the page very educative

    1. You are welcome Kathryne. 

      You are welcome Kathryne. 

  25. Was!! I love this so…
    Was!! I love this so interesting I really learn so much from this

  26. Hello Anurika offor, thank…

    Hello Anurika offor, thank you for your feedback. We are very pleased to help Please feel free to go through the website and find other articles that you might find useful.

    1. Thank you for your input…

      Thank you for your input Margy.

  27. suppose u r in a rltnshp…
    suppose u r in a rltnshp whch has lasted for a week and she has started asking for money

    1. Hi Sang, 

      The issue of…

      Hi Sang, 

      The issue of money in relationships, especially short-lived relationships is very tricky. To be honest, a week sounds too short unless she has a serious problem and you are the only one you can ask for financial assistance. Yet even then, she needs to make it clear that she’ll intend to pay you back. In the end, decide what both of you want from this relationship so that you can decide whether that relationship will work for you. Consider not giving her money if you feel that this is something you will not be able to do for long since this can be a source of conflict. 

  28. really learnt something….i…
    really learnt something….i will ty and get rid of her after rejecting me

    1. Yes, Moses. The best thing…

      Yes, Moses. The best thing to do is to walk away peacefully. 

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