How To Tell Someone You Don't Like Them

How To Tell Someone You Don’t Like Them Without Hurting Them

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How To Tell Someone You Don't Like Them

Explaining to someone why you don’t like them is a tricky situation for both the people involved. That’s why it’s important to have proper guidance on how to tell someone you don’t like them.

The first step is to practice empathy. For that, you should put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to reject. After that, it’s important to know the precise reasons why you don’t like the person. Vague reasons like “I don’t know” will only create more unresolved issues. Then, putting a clear closure on a face-to-face conversation is also important.

Rejecting a person without hurting them requires sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Here’s a step-by-step guide to being kind and respectful when rejecting someone.

8 Ways To Tell Someone You Don’t Like Them

Please follow the steps below if you are planning to tell someone that you don’t like them without hurting their feelings!

1. Make Interactions Face-to-face

I know it’s hard for you to have a face-to-face interaction while rejecting someone, but it is way better than having a virtual conversation. It’s disrespectful for the person if you reject them over a message or call. Imagine how you would feel if someone rejected you like that.

When you decide to have a face-to-face conversation, it shows that you respect them, but you can’t get on board with some aspects of their personality. Explaining why you feel this way about them is crucial in making the process less hurtful.

The rejection conversation is probably going to be the last interaction with that person. Try to make it as real as possible.

2. Don’t Be A Curt

Being the one who is rejecting, it’s natural that you want a short conversation. But it’s not the best idea if you want the conversation to be as painless as possible for the other person. Having a clear and detailed explanation without beating around the bush makes the whole thing less hurtful and rude.

Many people advise the “rejecter” to have a short conversation that forcefully takes away the other person’s right to express themselves. In my opinion, it’s a cruel thing to do if the rejected person hasn’t done anything offensive.

People will tell you to be brief in your rejection conversation. But how would you like to be treated if you were the one getting rejected? Would you want to be discarded quickly by a short conversation? No, right? So, make it as detailed as you and the other person want it to be.

3. Don’t Offend Them

Using offensive terms in any conversation is not a polite thing to do. No matter how much you dislike the other person, it’s better to end things on good terms. Sometimes people use offensive terms when they want to get back at someone. But even in that scenario, it’s not the best idea.

When you use offensive terms while rejecting someone, you are hurting their self-respect. Besides, the person you are rejecting will not be with you after the conversation. But the memory of your offensive choice of words will be in their mind forever.

A rejection conversation is painful for the one getting rejected. If you use offensive and derogatory terms, you are making the process more painful for them. Choose to be kind.

4. Don’t Beat Around The Bush

Choose kind words when you reject someone, but don’t juggle with words. Be concise and explain well with kind words. Beating around the bush only makes the situation more confusing. It’s better if you practice what to say beforehand.

The biggest downside of not being articulate when rejecting someone is showing the other person that you haven’t thought about the situation well. Do it with a proper and concise explanation.

Quick Note: Beating around the bush happens when you don’t know the exact reason for disliking a person. Before casually rejecting them, ask yourself why you want to reject them.

5. Tell Them The Exact Reasons

Casually ending the conversation with “I don’t know” or “It’s just not working out” cannot be a reason for not liking a person. Some legit reasons would be –

  • I can’t cope with your smoking habit anymore.
  • I want to be alone right now.
  • I don’t think we are compatible together.
  • I know you are insanely busy, but I don’t think I can cope with it anymore.
  • I have other priorities I would like to attend to right now.

Telling the other person the exact reasons you don’t want to be with them is the most important step in your rejection conversation. The more specific you are, the better closure the other person will get.

It’s better if you find out the reasons beforehand. Also, practice a bit before telling it to them. The more precise you are, the better it will be for them.

6. Give Them A Chance To Talk

You have put out your case in front of the person you are about to reject. Now it’s time to hear what they have to say. As someone who is rejecting, you would want to go through this quickly. It’s natural that you would want to escape from this messy situation fast.

But by doing it fast, you will only make things awkward. It’s really cruel to leave a person with a bag of questions with no answers. That’s why, to do it gently, give them a chance to explain their part of the story to you.

Quick Note: Taking away someone’s right to explain their side of the story is not a kind choice. That’s why give them the chance to talk about their part.

7. Answer Their Questions Calmly

The person you are rejecting may have some questions for you about your decision. As someone who is rejecting you, you may think the other person has no right to question your choices. While this might be true, they have the right to understand your part of the story well.

Moreover, answering their questions gives them the time to process the entire situation. On the other hand, proper and precise answers to their questions create a proper closure for the person getting rejected. As a “rejecter,” you will leave a little mess if you do this part patiently.

Give the person to be rejected a chance to express themselves clearly. Also, answer their questions as patiently as you can.

8. Be Understanding Of Their Emotions

Towards the end of the conversation, it’s normal for the person you rejected (or even for you!) to feel sad and dejected. But you shouldn’t handle it harshly.

Remember that the memory of this sensitive stage will be very emotional for the person you rejected. The least you can do is be understanding of their emotions. If you behave harshly or say, “I don’t know why you are being so dramatic.” or “Really like to get over it,” then the person will always remember this memory of yours.

Also, don’t say something like, “you will get someone better than me who will love all of you.” This cliched break-up go-to line has so many problems. It gives off a negative vibe to the person getting rejected. They think that you don’t want to be the person to give them all. That’s why you are delegating the task to some unknown individual.

Say things like, “I understand you. I feel your pain as if I were in your place. But it’s really impossible for me. I don’t want to cause pain to you or me by making this more complicated. Let’s part our ways amicably.”


Here ends the step-by-step process of how to tell someone you don’t like them. It can be a difficult process indeed. But the faster you are done with it the better. Tolerating the presence of someone you don’t like can make you bottle up your negative feelings and eventually burst up like a volcano.

Not only it would be embarrassing for you but it will also hurt the other person as well. So, take a deep breath and just confront the person you don’t like as soon as you can.