Saying "No" is Actually Kind

Dear Karen,

I am really putting myself out there and dating quite a bit.  I have a question about something that comes up a lot: when I know that a man is not someone I’m interested in for the long-term, I don’t know how to break it off kindly, so I tell them I would like to just be friends.  I don’t know if that’s the best way to handle letting them down gently.  Got any advice? – Cindy, ME

Dear Cindy,

I love that you’re trying to be kind to these men.  A+ for intention!

The advice I’m going to give you applies in the situation you describe: your connection started as dating, and there was not a friendship beforehand.

So let’s deal with the full truth here: you’re not looking for men friends, right?  You’re actually out there intending to meet a man who’s a great fit for you, so you can have a scrumptious relationship together.

Well, guess what?

That’s also true for the men you’re meeting along the way.

They’re not looking for women friends.  They’re on the hunt for a woman who thinks they are IT for them…

…a divine fit…

…just the way they are.

When you suggest being “just friends”, what you’re in essence telling a man is that he’s not “good enough” for you, but you’ll take him in the lesser role of “pal”.

I know you don’t mean it like that (quite the opposite – you’re trying to be kind!).  But really, what you’re giving him is a big ol’ “OUCH!”

And, if you really tell yourself another truth about this, when you do meet the man for you, what are the chances you’ll be keeping this “friend” in your life?

Slim to none!

Here’s what’s really the kind way to let a man down who is not a fit for you:

You: “(his name), I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, and I appreciate (what you can authentically appreciate).  I don’t really see a long-term fit between us, and I wanted to let you know.  I wish you all the best.”

Him: “Wow.  Thank you for being so respectful of me and my time.  The man who gets to be with you is one lucky S.O.B.! “

The end.  Simple, honest and…yes…kind.