How to Say No to a Friendship

Have you ever encountered someone who wants to be friends with you, but you don’t want to be friends with them in return? Does that person make you feel uncomfortable, intimidated, and anxious, or are you just not interested in being friends with them? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then you are not alone. I have also felt that way about a potential friend and I was not sure how to handle the situation. However, now that I have discovered a few tips on how to successfully handle this kind of issue, I can extend my findings to help others who are also in a similar situation.

Just Flat Out Say “No”

Instead of saying “maybe” or “I’m not sure”, politely decline your potential friend’s offer so they know that you are not interested in becoming friends with them. Saying “maybe” or “I’m not sure” will give this person the implication that there is still a possibility of becoming friends and you may frequently encounter them again as a result. So take this direct approach if you are comfortable doing so!

Be Honest

Two women sit at a table and talk Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com from Unsplash If this person asks for an explanation, then be honest with this person about why you don’t have the desire to develop a friendship with them. If it so happens that you don’t share any interests with this person or don’t have the time to become friends with them, be sure to provide a polite explanation in regards to this reason. Doing this will not only make you sound respectful, but you may also help this person understand why you don’t want to be friends with them.

Stay True to Your Decision After Having Declined a Friendship 

If this person happens to be someone who may still want to gain your friendship, then don’t hesitate to provide the same answer and explanation once again. Hopefully by doing this, this person will officially understand that you have no desire to be friends with them and move on. 

Don’t Feel Responsible for Your Potential Friend’s Feelings and Wellness

Asian woman looking at reflection Photo by Jessica Ticozzelli from Pexels After having declined a friendship, you may feel bad for having done so. Even if they seem hurt by your decline, the responsibility isn’t yours to find them another person to befriend. However, if you know of someone in your friend or social group who may be a better fit for that person, then pull them aside and let them know that you are totally okay with them pursuing a friendship with one of your friends.

I hope that these tips are helpful for you if you ever end up in a tough situation such as this and that you are also able to help others who are similarly struggling too. Friendships are not always easy, but we learn and grow from our experiences.