Maybe it’s that boy who desperately wants to be more than friends. He calls. He texts. He does whatever he can to try to make you see him as “boyfriend material,” but it’s just never going to happen.
Maybe it’s that guy staring you down at a party, getting playfully nudged by his group of friends to make a move. You stand there praying he won’t muster his courage, and then sigh when you see him walking your way.
Turning a guy down is a delicate practice. You don’t want to come off as harsh or unfeeling, but you can’t endure another invitation to dinner or cheesy pick-up line. So, what’s a girl to do?
Sophomore Sarah Erlikh recently had to turn a guy down, and she went with the direct approach.
“I was at a party last weekend and some guy bumped into me,” Erlikh says. “He apologized and starting making conversation. I have a boyfriend. I was like, ‘Oh I’m Sarah. I’m not interested…’ He just walked away.”
That is certainly one way to do it, and it is effective. Sometimes guys need a firm answer. There will always be those guys who think “no means yes,” and the direct approach is the way to immediately set that record straight. No means no.
If being frank is not really your style, try a compliment before the let-down. There is no harm in telling a guy you are flattered by his attention, because chances are you genuinely are.
Whether you have a boyfriend or not, having a guy flirt with you (or at least attempt to), is a confidence booster. So, if you want to decline gently, tell him thank you and that he seems nice, but you should be going. Before he has a chance to argue, simply walk back to the comfort of your friends.
Being flat-out rude is never an ideal solution. Boys have feelings, too. Freshman Zach Dunn shares his thoughts on girls who seem to forget that.
“They’ll give you a dirty look. You go up and say hi, and they just look back at their friends then walk away as a group. It usually happens at frat parties,” says Dunn.
If a guy is being overly aggressive and not taking no for an answer, then sure, be stern. He has crossed a line at that point. But, if he is simply saying hi and not pestering you, try to avoid a nasty stare. It probably took some guts for him to even approach you.
When letting a guy down, they key is to assess how he is acting and choose the method that is most appropriate for his behavior. If neither directness nor gentleness seems fitting, it’s time to call in for backup. Your friends are your best excuse and defense against unsolicited male attention, so have a system worked out before heading to a party.
Guys will always come up with new ways to make the first move, but remember, the way it ends is entirely up to you.
Photo by Orhan Yilmaz