How Do You Tell Someone You Are Not Interested In Dating?

Single and Dating | | , Editor-in-Chief
Updated On: September 18, 2023
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While the idea of being pursued as a potential love interest has been romanticized long enough, the truth is that the chase isn’t always a comfortable one. Particularly, when you’re not interested in dating. The reasons for your lack of interest in taking things forward can vary.

Perhaps, you are not interested in dating after a breakup or just are in a place where you’d like to focus on your career without the distractions of a romantic partnership. Or maybe you’re just attracted enough to the other person to want to date them.

Whatever your reasons, telling someone you are not interested in dating is always tricky. You would want to convey your intent as clearly as possible without trampling all over their heart. Fret not, you can pull it off with some thoughtfulness and careful choice of words. We’re here to help you do just that.

13 Ways To Tell Someone You Are Not Interested In Dating

If you have been on the other side of the ‘I’m not interested in dating right now’ divide, you know how bad rejection can hurt. Even if you’ve hardly had a connection with the other person or just went out on a few dates, hearing that someone doesn’t fancy you enough to consider dating you can be crushing.

When you’re preparing to go down the path of telling someone you’re interested in dating them, bear in mind that ripping the band-aid may not be the best approach in this situation. As long as you act from a place of empathy, you’d know the right way to handle this delicate and unpleasant situation you’ve landed in.

To guide you along the way, here are 13 ways to tell someone you are not interested in dating:

Related Reading: 8 Ways to Stay Away From Love and Avoid The Pain

1. Address the ‘why am I not interested in dating’ question

Before you go announcing that you’re not interested in dating someone, take some time to reflect on the reasons. Address the ‘why am I not interested in dating’ question and be honest with yourself. Have you had enough bad experiences on the dating scene to be put off the concept completely? Or are your reasons more person-specific?

Do you not feel attracted to them? Have you spotted some relationship red flags that tell you that it’ll end badly?

Are you not interested in dating after a breakup because you’re still nursing a broken heart? Are you attracted to the person but still don’t want to date them because you know they’re not good for you? Whatever your reason might be for being not interested in romantic relationships, you have to be honest with yourself first or you might end up hurting them without even realizing it.

Introspect a little and understand your reasons for turning someone down. This will help you convey your decision to them in a sensitive manner. When you are going to disappoint the other person, by being earnest and true to them, you might at least soften the blow and not shatter their self-esteem completely.

2. Tell them you appreciate their feelings

why not interested in dating
Appreciate their feelings to take the sting out of your decision

To take the sting out of your decision that you’re not interested in dating someone, lead with an appreciation for their feelings. You don’t have to prepare an elaborate ‘thank you’ speech for their interest in you. That might make them feel like you are overcompensating and annoy them further. Just a few kind words are enough to blunt the hurt that this rejection is likely to cause them.

Something as clean and simple as ‘I appreciate how you feel’ followed by the clear cut ‘I’m not interested in dating right now’ is good enough. At the same time, you must steer clear of statements like: ‘If the circumstances were different, I would have loved to date you’. This can give them unnecessary hope that you may change your decision sometime down the line.

Felix had been going out with Olivia for a couple of weeks but soon his interest in her started to die down. However, Olivia never got the hint and was constantly texting him and trying to make plans. Felix knew he couldn’t ghost her or simply push her away. So he took her out to coffee and very kindly said “Olivia, I’m lucky that I met someone as caring and lovely as you. But I’m not interested in dating right now”. It took a while for her to process it but she appreciated that Felix was being real with her.

3. Offer the ‘Why am I not interested in dating’ explanation

While you don’t need to explain yourself to someone when turning down their overtures, it’s a kind thing to do. Especially, if you have been on a few dates with this person or share a long-standing association or friendship with them. Is it ok to not be interested in dating even after 7 or so dates? Sure. Our feelings are dynamic and the whole point of dating is to explore the other person and figure out if they’re the one for you.

If you’re just taking time off dating, tell them ‘I’m not interested in romantic relationships right now’. Or if you’re not interested in them in particular, don’t hesitate in saying ‘I just don’t feel that way about you’. Sounds harsh, we know, but it is better than giving someone hope to cling onto.

It might sting in the moment but it’ll give the other person clarity that there is no chance of anything ever happening between you two and it is better that they just move on.

Related Reading: Harsh truths in the life of a single, 30-something girl

4. Decide how you want to spill the beans

Ideally, letting someone know you’re not interested in dating them warrants a face-to-face conversation. That is the most decent way to go about it. But if you’re someone who becomes tongue-tied in such awkward situations, you can always do it over text too. This will allow you to gather your thoughts and articulate them the right way.

In that case, it’s nice to suggest that you’re open to meeting and talking about it, especially if the person you’re turning down is someone you value.

not interested in romantic relationship
If you can, meet them and explain to them your ‘Why am I not interested in anyone’ story

5. Steer clear of ghosting

No matter how hard it seems to walk up to a person and say ‘I’m not interested in dating right now’, you know it is the right thing to do. Whether you’ve been out on a few dates with them or it is someone who has been pursuing you, you owe them a clear response just for the sake of basic decency.

So, don’t chicken out and take the easy route of just ghosting the person. We know that in the online world, it’s become far too easy to ignore people and cut them off but don’t break their heart like that. The uncertainty of not knowing what went wrong can be far more debilitating than a rejection.

When Archie ghosted Kayla after the two had been texting back and forth for about 3 months, Kayla was completely shattered. Even though she had never met Archie in person, the two of them had spent a lot of time online or talking on the phone. She had no idea why Archie suddenly disappeared on her and it took her at least a couple months to forget about him because she was always so puzzled about what went wrong. She swears that if at least Archie had told her what was up, she would have taken it much better.

6. Don’t justify yourself

If you’re single yet not interested in dating, the other person may try to use your relationship status to pressure you into rethinking your decision. Or they may feel that you’re just playing hard to get and may ramp up their advances toward you.

It can be an uncomfortable situation where you’re trying to tell the person that you’re not interested but they just don’t agree to back off and are terrifyingly persistent. In that case, you must hold your ground but without feeling the need to justify yourself to them. There is no reason you should be dating someone you’re not interested in so don’t let them make you feel otherwise.

It’s your life, and only you can decide whether or not you want to date. Do not feel pressured to convince the person that the decision is the right one for you. You know the answer to ‘why am I not interested in dating’, you’ve communicated it clearly to the other person. End of story.

Whether they agree with your decision or not is not your concern. Just do your best to break it to them in the kindest possible way that you are not interested in romantic relationships and walk off.

7. Don’t apologize

Whether you’re not interested in dating after a breakup or just want to take some time to focus on yourself, you don’t have to apologize for your life choices. Whatever the situation might be, you should never actually have to question yourself and wonder, “Why am I not interested in anyone?”

There could be a million reasons that it’s just the wrong time or the wrong relationship for you. But you should not have to feel so guilty about it. Yes, you’re bound to cause the other person some hurt when you turn down their overtures. But such is life.

not dating after breakup
You don’t have to apologize for your life choices

It’s not your fault that they are attracted to you and you don’t feel the same way about them. So, you have nothing to apologize for. If you do, you’d give them an opportunity to guilt-trip you into re-thinking your choices.

Dating someone you’re not interested in because they make you feel like you’re obligated to is the last thing you need when you’re in the ‘I’m not interested in dating right now’ mind frame.

8. Use the sandwich method

Are you looking for how to tell someone you’re not interested examples? This method is worth a shot. The sandwich method – where you squeeze a negative between two positives – can be a great way to blunt the hurt you’re likely to cause when you announce you’re not interested in dating someone.

When you have that conversation with them, lead with something positive about the person or how they make you feel. Then convey your intent of not dating them. And close with another kind statement. Let’s tell you how.

Mickey had been pondering dumping Trevor for a while but was unsure of how to go about it because Trevor was very sensitive and Mickey just did not want to say the wrong things. So this is what she went with. “Trevor, you’re the kindest guy I’ve ever gone out with. But I’m just not so sure I want a relationship in my life right now. I mean any girl would be lucky to have you so it’s not you but I just need some time off from dating in general” and voila!

This will help them take your decision in the right spirit and not feel slighted or humiliated.

9. Treat the person with respect

The fact that someone has asked you out or has shown interest in dating you suggests that you must have shared some kind of a connection with them. Even if, from your side, it wasn’t romantically inclined. For the sake of the connection, treat the person with respect when you tell them you’re not interested in dating them.

Unless they have done something to hurt or scorn you, don’t pile up the news with a list of their flaws that put you off the idea of dating them. You do not want to fire up some kind of enmity between the two of you. Just try to be as cautious with your words as you can and let them off easy.

Related Reading: How to be single and why

10. Try the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ approach

Are the reasons behind your decision not person-specific? Do they stem from the certainty that ‘I’m not interested in dating right now’? The time-tested ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ approach could be your best bet to cause minimal hurt to the other person. If you barely know them, you can leave out the specifics.

If you share a connection or have been out on a few dates with them, you can follow it up with a brief explanation, elaborating on ‘why am I not interested in anyone’.

Unrequited Love

11. Don’t send mixed signals

Once you’ve decided that you’re not interested in taking things ahead with a person, you must stand firm on that choice. Don’t turn them down one day and then start texting them in the middle of the night the next.

Such mixed signals will only confuse the person and complicate your equation with them. When you reach out despite turning them down, the other person may see it as a sign that you’re not clear about what you want. It won’t be wrong of them to assume that they can win you over if they try just a little harder.

If they keep trying and you keep turning them down yet continue to gravitate toward them, the situation can turn messy.

12. Hear them out

Once you’ve said your piece about why you’re not interested in dating, give the other person a chance to respond. Know that they’re coming from a place of hurt and disappointment, so you may not like everything they have to say.

Be patient and hear them out. They deserve that much. It’s the least you can do when your decision has crushed their heart.

Related Reading: 10 Tips to Date When You Have Social Anxiety

13. Don’t push for a friendship

Is it okay to not be interested in dating or being friends? Of course. Once you’ve conveyed that you’re not interested in dating someone, don’t push them to be your friend. At least, not immediately. Even if you and the other person have been friends or shared a cordial relationship at your workplace in the past.

They have just been dealt a hand of rejection and being consigned to the friendzone may not exactly be up their alley right now.

Give them the time to process and get over it before you can both consider striking a genuine friendship.

Telling someone you’re not interested in dating them is bound to be awkward and uneasy. But it is the right thing to do. With these tips and strategies, you will be able to make the situation somewhat less uncomfortable. So, put them to good use to soften the blow.


1. Is it normal to not be interested in dating?

Yes, it is perfectly normal to want to get off the dating scene if you’ve had a string of bad experiences, are getting out of a long-term relationship, or want to take time to focus on yourself instead.

2. Can you be attracted to someone but not want to date them?

When you know that the person is not good for you or that dating them will end badly, it is possible to be attracted to someone but not want to date them.

3. Why do I have no desire to date or marry?

Your personal or perceived experiences about relationships and marriage could be the reason behind a lack of desire to form romantic partnerships.

4. What do you call someone who is not interested in relationships?

A person who has no interest in relationships is called aromantic.

Gear up, girls, and stop yourself from dating bad boys!

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