Constantly staying in your friend’s space after you have turned them down may be a little hard on them, and even on both of you
When one party in a platonic relationship develops feelings for the other and proceeds to express these feelings, it often ends poorly if their feelings are not reciprocated.
Turning proposals from friends down can result lead to feelings of discomfort and awkwardness. Is it possible to reject someone’s proposal, especially if that person is a friend, without hurting them?
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It's much easier if the person you're turning down is merely an acquaintance or someone you've only known for a short time. Here are ways you can turn down a friend’s proposal without hurting their feelings.
Be sure of what you want
This is the most important step. Do you find them not attractive at all? What exactly are your reasons for not accepting? Will any of these reasons change in the near future? Before you talk to them, you should have a very clear idea about your position including all 'why's and 'why not's.
One of the best ways to deal with someone who is clearly interested in you as a lover when you are not; is to let them know promptly rather than string them along for years as they will be rewarded with a yes if they wait for you.
Honesty does not mean you have to be brutal; you can turn people down without saying “What?! I can’t imagine dating you; I don’t like you at all.”
You can explain to them how much you treasure their friendship but aren’t currently ready for a relationship with them.
Don’t laugh in their faces
You will not be treating your friend’s proposal with the needed sensitivity if you handle it like a mere joke. It is understandable that the idea of dating someone you have zero attractions to can be laughable, but if those people are close friends you don’t have to rebuff their overtures by laughing in their face.
Constantly staying in your friend’s space after you have turned them down may be a little hard on them, and even on both of you. Being friend-zoned is hard on some people, so suggest that you take some time apart to adjust to the change.
Don’t insist on being friends if they don’t want to be friends. Eventually, they may come around, or they may not. But whatever be the case, let them deal with it as they see best.
By Dede Williams