Make sure there really are no chances.,
Acknowledge your own sense of embarrassment or discomfort about the situation but don’t let this deflect you from your mission of telling it like it is.,
Once you’ve tackled your own feelings, quell any desire to laugh off your crush.,
Be concrete about how you feel.,
Stay open with one another.,
Avoid the guilt trip.
Be absolutely certain that you aren’t interested in trying to pursue a dating relationship with this person; it isn’t a good idea to cast this person aside only to realize you did so because of nerves, fears or because your friend felt jealous. The reason to help a crush realize that you’re just not interested must be because you truly aren’t interested, period, ever.;
, Any normal person will be worried about inflicting emotional pain on another––be reassured that this confirms you’re emotionally attuned. However, it is important to realize that it’s far kinder to let someone down early on than to play games, lead them on and then toss them away when it all gets “too serious”, just because you were terrified of telling the truth initially.
Feeling embarrassed is normal but not a reason to be callous or to withhold your own true feelings.
Don’t ignore the issue. Ignored issues turn into big problems that are much harder to deal with.
, This may feel like a way of diffusing the discomfort of the situation but laughing about it will likely be hurtful for your crush. Remember that telling someone how you feel about him or her is a huge step, a giant risk, and being laughed back at is very alarming. Stifle the desire to make a joke or laugh. Instead:
Try saying something like: “I really appreciate you telling me that you like me. I’m really flattered, Jane.”
Explain the way in which you’re flattered according to the context of the conversation with your admirer.
, This could also be stated as: “Don’t beat around the bush.” In other words, tell your crush politely and kindly that you don’t feel the same way. After explaining that you’re flattered that he or she feels this way from the previous step, it’s important to go straight to this honesty.
Say something simple like: “As I said, I’m really flattered John, but I’m sorry––I just don’t feel the same level of connection with you. I love our friendship and I’m keen to stay good friends.”
Avoid going into heavy details as to why you’re not able/ready/wanting to get involved, such as getting over someone still or focusing on your career right now. Sometimes too many details can give hooks for the listener to grasp onto, leaving open a possibility that “if X happens, then I am in with a chance.” Don’t leave yourself open to this––it is just too risky.
, Just because someone you once shared good times with, had a friendship with or had a good working relationship with has since declared his or her feelings for you doesn’t mean the two of you need to maintain distance from now on or pretend that nothing happened. Not only did something momentous happen between you, for those of you still staying in regular contact through friends, work or social relationships, it is important to stay honest and open with each other. Accept that things will feel a little awkward for a time but as time passes, you’ll both be able to acknowledge this occurrence with friendly hindsight and you may even develop a stronger friendship for it.
If you don’t want to preserve the relationship with this person, it’s fairly easy to do––avoid him or her, don’t spend time around him or her in the company of mutual friends and ask to be reassigned so that you don’t have to work together. But that’s an awful lot of trouble to go to rather than simply acknowledging each other and being prepared to talk respectfully to each other.
, This goes back to the feelings of discomfort you may have felt initially, when you were mulling over what to say in return to your unwanted crush. The reality is that the feelings of this person belong to him or her––you didn’t make this person feel a certain way and you cannot carry the blame for how he or she continues to feel. At some point in your own life, you will feel strongly about someone who won’t feel the same way back. Realize that while you will be hurt by this person’s lack of returning the feelings, you also realize that you’re fully responsible for your own feelings in the matter.
See the episode compassionately. Provided you’ve done your best to let down your unwanted crush politely and kindly, you can move on with integrity.