The “I’m not interested” conversation

Ron Responds #2

QI think a boy I know likes me romantically. I like him a lot as a friend, but I’m not interested in him romantically, and I have a boyfriend. He doesn’t know I have one and I feel awkward bringing him up now since I haven’t before (though the relationship is very new). How should I bring it up naturally without hurting his feelings? — Anonymous

AThe best thing you can do to spare this person’s feelings is to be upfront with him. If he hasn’t brought it up, simply saying “I could be wrong, but it feels like you might be attracted to me. I should let you know that I’m in a monogamous relationship so that I don’t lead you on”, or something of that gist is a completely respectful way to approach it.

Talking about feelings isn’t often easy because we’ve been taught that it’s a danger-zone. It’s almost always better to communicate though, even if it feels fumbly and uncomfortable. It’s probably going to feel a little bit awkward at first. It’s an awkward situation, and you’re trying to be considerate about both your friend’s feelings and your own situation. Once the air has been cleared, it’s likely that things will feel a lot better.

If you’re right and he is interested in you romantically, he might feel a bit rejected. That’s okay, and you can decide whether you need to comfort him through that or not. It’s nice to affirm that you really enjoy having him in your life and that you enjoy spending time with him. You are allowed to set boundaries though, in any friendship.

There isn’t going to be an easy time to do it. Try to do it when the two of you are alone so that there isn’t a chance that he’ll feel humiliated. In this case, if you’re more comfortable with it, I think it’s totally okay to say it in a text message. Just be clear and things will be okay :)

Hope this helps,

Ron.


Ron Responds is a bi-weekly advice column made possible by my supporters on Patreon. If you have a question you’d like to ask, please feel free to submit it here.