There are few experiences more certain in life than being rejected.
If you live long enough, rejection is inevitable.
Whether you’re passed over for a promotion, left out of a close friend’s wedding, or not invited to lunch with your coworkers…rejection hurts.
One of the most difficult forms of rejection involves romantic relationships.
The truth is, rejecting someone is uncomfortable. It is hard to look someone in the eye (or even speak on the phone!) to tell them that you are not interested in moving forward romantically.
Often times, this discomfort causes people to limit contact, ignore your calls, or abruptly disappear (ghosting as the young folks call it!) from your life with no explanation.
The person doing the rejecting may care somewhat about your feelings, but they prefer to avoid the awkwardness that comes with revealing that they are just not that into you.
But, as a Daughter of the King, you are held to a higher standard when it comes to being mindful of others’ feelings.
Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance…Colossians 3:12
This means that you’ll take the high road, choosing kindness and grace if you ever find yourself having to turn down a man’s advances.
If you are in a situation where you need to decline a man’s romantic overtures, keep reading.
Start With Observation and Discernment
You can usually tell a man’s intentions by observing his actions and behaviors.
If he’s calling you, texting you, and asking you out, there’s a pretty strong chance that he is interested in you romantically.
But, do you feel the same way? If not, it is best not to prolong letting him down easy.
Think about it. When you’ve met someone you really like, your feelings intensify as you spend more time getting to know him.
If you are taking his calls, responding to his text messages and accepting dates, you are sending a message that does not align with how you feel about him. Basically, you are leading him on.
Letting him know as soon as possible may not make the rejection much easier, but stringing him along is worse. Consider how you would like to be treated if you were on the receiving end of the rejection.
What about times where you initially shared a man’s feelings for you but, through prayer and discernment, you realize that you are not compatible?
The bible has something to say about the importance of discernment.
My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang onto them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They will keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble.Proverbs 3:21-23
Discernment is a God-given gift for believers to use in any and all situations, especially in relationships. Christian YouTube channel, Apply God’s Word, has an awesome video on discernment in relationships.
The enemy knows your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. And one area of weakness for many women is in their relationships with men.
I tend to feel really insecure about being single over 30 and trusting that God will bless me with a husband. I find myself believing the statistics that state that marriage is less likely for women as they get older.
Often times, the enemy uses this to manipulate women into settling, prolonging a relationship that is not ordained by God.
When you are intentional about discernment, it means that you are praying to God to open your eyes to red flags, inconsistencies, and character flaws in the man you’re dating.
This will keep you from the tendency to settle for less than God’s best, giving into a fear and scarcity mindset when it comes to men and relationships.
Take Necessary Precautions
Being on the receiving end of rejection hurts, and may elicit emotions that you’ve never observed in the guy you’ve been seeing.
This is also where discernment comes into play. As the verse above stated, having biblical discernment also keeps you safe.
My hope is that he is an emotionally stable man, and that you can break things off without concerns for your safety.
However, there are a few precautions that I suggest you take before having this tough conversation, especially if you’re meeting in person.
- Meet in a public place. Do not have this conversation at your home or his.
- Tell a close friend that you’re planning to meet him to break things off. Let them know where you’re meeting the guy and at what time.
- If the dating relationship is fairly new, I think it is perfectly fine to have this talk over the phone. Have a plan for the conversation. Keep it short and avoid allowing him to guilt you into giving him another chance.
- If you notice that he is escalating (i.e. getting angrier as the conversation continues), cut it short. If he’s behaving this way, there’s no need to try to reason with him.
- Avoid responding to repeated attempts to contact you. Once you’ve been honest with him (see below), there is nothing more to say.
This may seem overly cautious or unnecessary. However, it is important to not underestimate how someone might respond when emotions are high.
Be Honest But Kind
The Bible is very clear about the importance of living an honest and upright life.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are His delight.Proverbs 12:22
Here are a few common ways that people (men and women) fail to practice honesty when communicating their lack of interest:
- Telling him that you’re not “ready” for a relationship, when the truth is that you’re not interested in dating him
- Avoiding his calls, claiming that you’ve been really busy when you haven’t (I’m guilty of this one!)
- Putting him off, promising him that you’ll get together soon when you have no intention of doing so
- Offering friendship in lieu of a dating relationship. Pray for discernment regarding if you can genuinely have a friendship with him, without him expecting more.
I get it. It is easy to justify your less-than-truthful behavior by convincing yourself that you’re really just trying to protect the guy’s feelings.
But are you really looking out for his feelings by lying to him? We know that nothing good comes from lying, whether it’s a bald-faced lie or lying by omission.
Not only does it call your character into question, it also makes the rejection that much more difficult to accept.
Here are a few examples for practicing honesty and compassion:
- If this is a guy you’ve just met, you honestly don’t owe him a long, drawn out explanation. Keep it short and sweet: “I enjoyed dinner last week, but I am not interested in continuing to date you.”
- If you’ve been dating for several months, you may choose to say more. But, try to avoid being disrespectful or critical: “Although I have enjoyed getting to know you, I do not think we are compatible. We have different goals, interests, etc…”
The truth is that it is pretty difficult to soften your revelation that you aren’t interested in someone. The best thing you can do is to be direct, but kind and respectful. How he responds is out of your control.
Avoid The Urge To Console Him
Women are nurturers by nature. If we see someone hurting or upset, it is natural for us to want to help them.
Even though you have decided that he’s not the guy for you, it is natural to feel bad and give into the urge to check in on the guy.
I caution against this. Reaching out to him after you’ve already ended things may give him false hope, causing him to believe that there is still a chance with you. In doing this, you are hindering his ability to move on.
Ladies, you have done nothing wrong by realizing that this man is not God’s best for you. So, if you are treating him with kindness and respect, there is no need to feel guilty.
As an adult, he is responsible for managing his emotions, knowing how to handle rejection in a Godly, mature way.
I recognize how anxiety-provoking it may be to tell a man you’re not interested in him. After all, you don’t want to feel like you’re causing someone’s hurt or disappointment.
However, anyone who puts him or herself out there with dating knows that there are no guarantees that a dating relationship will turn into a committed relationship.
Just because you’re both following Christ does not mean that you’re meant to be together.
Despite what you may hear, you’ll likely have to date more than one person before you meet the man that God has for you.
I encourage you to seek God in prayer, asking Him to give you the right words to say to a man you’re breaking things off with.
Also, pray for the guy, that he would take it well and recognize that God will bless him with a Godly woman that is meant just for him.
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4: 6-7
Can you relate to this post? If so, please share below. How do you handle having the “I’m not interested in you” conversation with a man?