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How to Reject Someone on a Dating App

I’ve ghosted people, you’ve ghosted people. That habit stops now.

@kuso20160508 via Twenty20

You’ve been messaging someone for a while, and they’re okay… But it feels like This Person is way into you. And you realize you might need to turn them down, or at least discourage their feelings for you. But how do you do it?

You’ve tried messaging your friends for help with This Person, but they’re all in happy relationships, and your cynical self can’t really deal with their intangible, wishy-washy advice. Your buddies’ variations on “Don’t worry about it” just don’t help you draft that in-app rejection text to This Person, who is really nice, but honestly… You still don’t think it’s gonna go anywhere.

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If you’re rejecting the person because they’re being very creepy or just off-putting, your safety comes first. Don’t contact them or engage with them further.

This article will cover the moments when you’re messaging someone, and you realize that the feeling isn’t mutual. Here are some tips on how to reject someone and handle this natural, though unpleasant, side of dating with ease.

Do: Be kind

Rejection sucks, and yes, the person receiving the notification for your message on their phone might feel a bit of a sting. But once they read over the message again, make sure they know that the rejection is a kind one.

Don’t write more than you need, make anything up, or make the message look overly thoughtful

Something as simple as a “thank you” can go a long way because after all, the fact that the person was brave enough to express that extra interest in you (or ask you out on a socially distanced date) is quite the compliment. And, while you’re at it, keep it short. Don’t write more than you need, make anything up, or make the message look overly thoughtful.

Don’t: Lie

Your situation, like most things, is unique. So don’t copy-paste someone else’s message. If you are actively looking to date someone, don’t reject someone saying that it’s because you’re not available for a serious relationship.

My fourth grade teacher once told me that the easiest lie to remember is the truth. Even if you really think you’ll never see this person again, you don’t want to have a flaky lie catch up to you later.

Do: Remember that everyone has written, or will write, a rejection

Magazine readers have done it. Redditors have done it. Self-described dummies have done it. Point is: you’re not alone. The person who’s gonna receive your message, in their own life, has probably turned someone down too. It happens.

So, without being too dismissive, your friends’ “Don’t worry about it” advice is kind of good. We’ve all been there, so as long as your rejection is kind, honest, and to-the-point, you have no reason to believe that the person receiving your rejection will have any hard feelings (Bonus: If they do, you really know you dodged a bullet!).

Hold up. What if I’m the one getting rejected?

Okay, so maybe you don’t really hate the person who rejected you, but still. Getting turned down really sucks.

The person sending you the rejection cares enough about you and your time enough to not ghost you

It’s tough to be on the receiving end of a rejection when you thought your vibe with the other person was going well, or at least, you didn’t think it was objectionable. Here are some ways to help you put the rejection into perspective.

Do: Acknowledge and accept the rejection

Ladies and gentlefolk, chivalry is not dead! The person sending you the rejection cares enough about you and your time to not ghost you. Say thank you! And then, peace out.

Don’t: Ask for elaboration

Just as the ideal rejection message isn’t long, the ideal response doesn’t ask for anything more.

Think of it this way: If someone had accepted your offer to go out on a date, would your immediate follow-up question be “Wait, why do you want to go out with me?” Of course not.

So, similarly, if someone turns you down, don’t ask why. Just move on with your life and make new plans.

Do: Appreciate the rejection

It can feel counterintuitive, but honestly, would you have wanted to be with someone who didn’t share the same feelings for you? If you think of it this way, rejections can only make your future dating life better because it’s leaving you available for the person who really wants to be with you.

If you think of it this way, rejections can only make your future dating life better

The old adage, “It’s not you, it’s them” applies here. Don’t jump to conclusions on how you need to change yourself to be more dateable. The best way to find someone who loves you for you is to be yourself. This person didn’t, so you can happily move on.

Sometimes, you gotta say no so that you can say yes to the right person. It’s corny, but true. So along the way, make sure you give quality rejections so that you can make saying “Yes” to leveling up with someone even more meaningful.

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A publication about dating and digital culture, brought to you by XO, the dating app with icebreaker games.

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Marina Tinone

Marina Tinone

Figuring out what to say. 💭 they/them/theirs 🔗 mtinone.com

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