Rules to help give him the gentle brush-off

Man About Town - Nobody knows who he is, but The Observer has a new man on the ground in Gladstone, sniffing out stories of love, lust and everything in between.

WE'VE all been there. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Girl only wants to be friends. Girl needs to tell boy that she's not keen in that way. It's an awkward situation to be put in. It's never easy and nearly always ends up in tears.

Recently Alanah wrote in asking how to tell her new man friend that she just wasn't that into him. She tells me he is a nice guy, but just doesn't want to hurt his feelings.

Here are some rules you can follow to make the situation less painful for both of you.

Subtle Rebuttal: Unless the rejected has already put his/herself out there (like in Alanah's case), drop subtle hints to let them know there could never be anything more than what you already have. Say things like, "I'm glad we can just be friends". Or try not replying to every text they send. Too often we see it coming but ignore it, hoping it will go away.

Game Plan: Plan what you're going to say when you're about to reject them. You need to be honest and sensitive. Maybe even rehearse how the conversations will pan out on both sides.

Text Reject: It might seem like a cowardly act, but if they have asked you via text, then there is nothing wrong with a rejection reply. It sometimes allows them to save face. Keep in mind though, if you work with this person or will be seeing them again, you are going to have to face the music at one point.

White Lie: Sometimes a small white lie can help. Maybe something like "I'm interested in someone else". Keep in mind that you may need to back up that lie. So stay clear from lies like "I'm too busy for a relationship", or "I have three months to live".

Direct reject: Don't avoid them just because you're afraid of hurting them, that's only going to make it worse. If the person has been direct with you, then they deserve the same in return.

Predict Conflict: No one likes to be rejected and few of us know how to handle it. Expect at first that things won't be the same between you. Do your best not to make it a big deal. In time, if you both are mature enough, you could be friends.

In the end, how the rejection is handled, is up to the rejected. It is tough, but Alanah shouldn't blame herself or worry about bad karma for not having mutual feelings.

Better to be honest, so he can find someone else who feels the same way, than try for something that isn't there.

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