The Art Of Letting Someone Down Easy

Rejection sucks, no matter what side you’re on. Having to deliver the not-so-great news can feel just as bad as having to be the one to receive it, and in the end it all turns out to just be a big awkward mess… but does it have to be? In this tangled web of emotions, a couple of common sense tactics to make this entire experience as stress free as possible might’ve slipped your mind (and it’s totally understandable, so don't worry). These are some tips and tricks to help everything go a little more smoothly.

Be simple

You might be tempted to get into a long-winded explanation and want to explain every facet of your complex reasoning that made you come to this conclusion, but it’s best to refrain from doing any of that. Being simple, concise and to the point is one of the sure-fire ways to promptly conclude what could’ve been an incredibly awkward moment had you gone on and lost yourself in a rambling tangent.

Remember, you don’t owe them an explanation

Now, there are definitely cases in which you might want to give an explanation to the person you’re rejecting, but there are also times where being blunt and direct are absolutely okay. As long as you’re being clear with your statement and leaving no room for misinterpretation, any pressure from them as a result is only them being rude, not you. No one is entitled to your time, so once you’ve said what you needed to say, e.g., “I’m not interested,” feel free to slam that door shut!


Photo via Pixabay

Use “I” statements

If you’re feeling extra generous and considerate that day, try using “I” statements instead of “you” statements in your delivery. What are “you” and “I” statements, you ask? Well, a “you” statement is used to directly point out something about the other person who you deem as being at fault, whatever the scenario may be (e.g “I’m not interested in you because you’re lazy”). You’re very explicitly putting blame on them, and if you’re doing this to someone you want to reject, it can only further complicate the situation and unnecessarily hurt their feelings. Instead, try using an “I” statement, where you shift the weight off of the other person and onto you. You can try something like this: “I appreciate the time we’ve had together so far, but I think it’ll be best for me to end things and move on from this point.” This is a great alternative to the old and played out, “it’s not you, it’s me” approach.


Photo via Pixabay

Don’t put it off

Like with any unpleasant task, your first instinct might be to put it off until the last possible moment…  only to put it off even longer. This will make things harder when it comes time to deliver the message, and that is the last thing you want, especially when it can easily be avoided by getting it done ASAP. Your time is precious, so you don’t need to be wasting it on prolonging something that can usually be over and done with immediately.


Photo via Pixabay

Try to avoid ghosting

It can be tempting — trust me, I know. Ghosting is a seemingly quick and instant fix, making your problems disappear in an instant, but this method will leave a lot of loose ends and confusion. This is something you want to avoid when effectively trying to reject someone. Ghosting can really hurt some feelings, and it just isn’t a nice thing to do to unnecessarily. Of course, there are situations where you might consider ghosting as your method of choice, in which case I’d urge you to check out Bianca’s article “When It Is Okay (And Not Okay) To Ghost.” Here, she helps you to differentiate a couple of scenarios in which ghosting may be something you’d want to do.


Photo by Lucas Ludwig

Inevitably, some feelings will be hurt, and some egos slightly bruised, but if you ever encounter a situation where you know you’re going to be the one to deliver the ill-fated news, at least you have a couple of things up your sleeve to help expedite the entire process.