All Women's Talk

What to do when Your Friend Wants to Be More than Friends ...

By Alison

What are the ways to handle a friend wanting to date you, when you don't return their interest? It's a pretty awkward situation to be in; you probably don't want to lose the friendship, yet you don't want to give them false hope either. But you can't make yourself feel the same way. Here are some ways to handle a friend wanting to date you …

1 Don't Date out of Pity

One of the most important ways to handle a friend wanting to date you is to avoid dating them because you feel sorry for them. This won't do either of you any good; you won't enjoy the experience and they'll think you're genuinely interested in them. If you don't see them as potentially more than a friend, dating them won't change that at all.

2 Be Honest

It's hard to tell someone who's interested in you that you don't return their interest, and it's particularly hard when that someone is a friend. But honesty is definitely the best policy. There may be some awkwardness in your friendship for a while, and there is also the risk that you won't be able to stay friends. But better that than giving your friend false hope.

3 Don't Overreact

Even if you feel awkward or annoyed, try to keep your reaction moderate. It may have taken your friend a lot of courage to tell you that they'd like to date you. Don't freak out and tell them to keep away from you, or assume that you can never be friends again.

4 Avoid Too Much Intimacy

Be cautious about being too intimate with your friend. What you see as a friendly hug may be taken as a sign that you are interested. It's best to avoid being in situations that could easily become too intimate; try to avoid being alone with them if they keep pushing wanting to see more of you.

5 Give Them Space

If they can't handle your 'rejection', your friend may benefit from some time away from you. Nobody feels good about being turned down, but being turned down by someone you know well is more painful and embarrassing than being rejected by a stranger. Let them come back to the friendship when they have got over you saying no.

6 Be Sensitive

It certainly won't do any good to let your friend think you might be interested in the future if you know you won't be. But you should try to be sensitive to how your friend is feeling. Few of us can shrug off being turned down without passing through a stage of feeling down about it. Acknowledge the effort they've made, even though you don't feel the same way.

7 Don't Look for a Substitute

Don't start dating someone else to try to put your friend off. They need to understand that you don't want a relationship with them. If you start dating someone new, your friend may think that you'll be available when you split with the new guy.

It's awkward to be put in the position of having to say no, but perhaps it's better that your friend knows you're not interested in dating them, rather than keep on hoping. It's brave of them to tell you how they feel. Have you ever dated a friend, for better or worse?

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