7 Ways to Reject Someone Nicely Over Text

Fact Checked by: Det. Nicholas Nalder

For some reason, society wants you to think that romantically rejecting someone is somehow a bad thing. Here’s the reality. Knowing what you want and having the courage to let someone know that they don’t fit that mold is amazing. It’s the sign of a mature, responsible, and caring person.

But—that doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest thing to do. Today, we’re going to fix that. Not only are we going to give you some strategies to build the courage to communicate effectively, but we’re going to share exactly what you should say to get the message across clearly and without ambiguity.

Let’s dive into seven ways to reject someone politely but still direct enough to get the message across.

1. Always error on the side of being direct.

If there is a suggestion in this guide that is the most important when it comes to rejecting someone over text, it is this one. You need to be friendly, but be direct and clear about what you are trying to say. If you give a wishy-washy answer about how you’re not sure it would be a good fit or that the time isn’t right, you’re going to leave the door open in their mind.

This is not fair to them, and it’s also going to get them sending you more messages. Unless you like your online dating mailbox or texts cluttered with people debating you why you should like them, be direct and clear.

Tell them you appreciated their message but you are not interested. Not “I think I’m not interested” or “it probably isn’t going to work,” – you are not interested. Period. End of discussion. Failure to do this is going to cause a lot of headaches and potential heartache for the person that you’re talking to.

2. Keep it short.

There is no need to send a complete novel or long message when you want to let them down easily. You should say just enough to get your point across, and nothing more. When you start to make things longer, it can make people think that maybe there is a chance.

In their mind, you put a lot of effort into the text or message that you sent them, so maybe you’re worth “fighting” for. This is not what you want to happen. You want them to receive your message, realize it isn’t going to be a thing, and then move along to the next person they are interested in.

3. You don’t need to put an explanation.

You’re not required to explain why you’re not interested, nor do we advise that you do so anyway. The fact that you are not interested is explanation enough for them. You might be tempted to let them know why or try and help them out with the next guy or girl, but really you’re just going be opening a can of worms that you don’t want to deal with.

The point is to end the conversation with one message, not entice them to send back a response asking for further explanation or even worse arguing with you.

Leave the explanation out.

4. You can and should be kind.

It is completely possible to be direct while also being kind. Remember, you’re contacting them out of a courtesy which is already kind to begin with. There’s no reason to humiliate them, degrade them, or say anything that will hurt their feelings.

Two people not liking each other mutually is something that should be natural and not even be that big of a deal. That being said, a lot of people are emotional when it comes to rejection, so let them down in a kind but still direct manner.

5. Decide if you even need to respond to their text or message.

This is actually the most important question. Are you required to respond to every message that you get or is it okay just to delete things and move on? Well, it depends.

If you’re talking about a text message from someone who is a friend, coworker, or someone you’re going to interact with again—you might want to respond to prevent things from being awkward. But if it’s a message from someone through an online dating app (that you don’t know), it’s really up to you.

If they put a lot of time and effort into the message, it might be worth a quick message to thank them and let them know you’re not interested. If it feels like a cookie cutter message or something they just slapped together, it’s probably fine to pass on a response.

Or—some people like to just take the approach of sending a response to everyone, which is okay to.

Here’s the bottom line. It’s up to you. You’re never required to do anything you don’t want to do. Just because someone sends you a message or a text doesn’t mean you automatically are required to respond. Decide how you want to handle things, come up with a process to decide, and have fun out there.

6. Understand they may not like your answer.

Let’s address the elephant in the room. No one likes to be told that someone isn’t interested in them or they can’t have what they want. This includes you and us!

For that reason and the fact that we are all good people, we need to make sure that we handle this situation delicately. But, we also need to be direct enough that the point gets across and we don’t have some sort of rebuttal texts that we have to deal with.

7. Here are some example ways to reject someone nicely through text.

So, we’ve talked about the things you should do. How about we see what this looks like in action now? We’d like to give you a few examples of how you should go about rejecting someone or telling them you’re not interested in dating. Feel free to take these word for word and just use them yourself. That’s the reason we put them here.

  • “Hey, Thanks for your message. Unfortunately, I’m not interested. Good luck out there.”
  • “I appreciate the time you took with your message, but I am not interested. Have a great day.”
  • “That was a kind message, but I’m just not interested. Thanks.”
  • “That’s really nice of you to say. I’m not interested in a romantic relationship between us, though. I know you’ll find someone great!”

Short and to the point…no explanation…nothing mean. These are the best messages that you’re free to copy and paste if you need to let someone down.

What to Expect After You Send

So, what should you expect when you send these rejection messages? Well, there are a few things that could happen, and you should be prepared for all of them. First, someone people might take the hint and not respond at all. This is the ideal situation and really what we’re aiming for if it’s on an online dating app.

Some people are going to respond, though. You’ll get some that thank you for your response. If you get this, leave it at that and don’t respond. Most of the time this is genuine, but sometimes it’s them fishing to start a conversation.

The people you need to watch out for are the ones who can’t take a hint. They’ll respond wanting to know why you aren’t interested or they may have something mean to say.

If this happens, do not respond. We repeat, do not respond. No matter what you say, they are never going to take the hint if they didn’t get it from your last response. Delete the message and move on. If they keep emailing you, block them. If they say something mean, block them. You were trying to be kind and do them a favor, and they clearly have issues accepting rejection. Don’t get caught up in their negativity.

Just follow the guidelines we laid out for you and move along. You’ll be fine and so will they.

The one caveat to be aware of is if it’s someone you’re friends with or that you’ll see a lot again who asks you why. No, we don’t think you owe them an explanation, nor should you give them one. But, you can respond to them. Here are a few examples of what we would say.

  • “I’d prefer not to get into it. I’m not interested and I’m not going to change my mind on that.”
  • “I’d rather not explain why. I am not interested. Let’s leave it there please.”

That’s all you need to say. If they take it any further, all you need to respond is, “Stop.” Yes, that is firm, but they are asking for firm because they’re not getting the hint.

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.