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Love

“How Do I Tell Him I Just Want to Be Friends?”

Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions. 

Recently, a PI Girl asked in the “Girl Talk” chat forum about how to tell a guy friend that she is not interested in being more than friends. This is a GREAT question. This is a difficult situation to be in, especially if the guy is very interested and you don’t know how to tell him. (If you want to join Girl Talk and read more on this post, click here.)

First things first, girls—we want to be honest and up-front. We also want to love like Jesus loved, and not be harsh or too blunt when we communicate our true feelings to this person. And we don’t want to wait too long to express this, because waiting will keep him feeling strung along, like he has hope for a relationship outside of the friendship, which can potentially lead to heartbreak.

How do you balance this type of friendship, and what happens if you tell him and he can’t remain your friend? These thoughts might run through your mind, but you cannot have doubt or fear. You need to tell him the truth about your heart and where you stand because, eventually, if you don’t tell him, he will either figure it out or he could be really hurt. Salvaging your friendship is important, but both of you will be better off if you tell him you want to be platonic friends and let him know ahead of time before you spend a lot of quality time together.

Also, if he later decides on his own that he cannot handle the relationship as “just friends,” then that is his choice based on how he feels. Ultimately, if that’s what happens, it will be difficult—but it’s better than leading him on and making things worse. Also, he may be able to be friends with you later on. You have to trust God and just be an open, clear, genuine person; this is the right thing to do, especially as a woman of God.

To recap, here are my five tips on how to tell your guy friend you ONLY look to him as a friend:

  1. Be honest and up-front. Don’t wait until months down the line to tell him you only want to be friends. Awkward situation? Don’t want to assume he likes you that way? Maybe mention in a nonchalant way that you love being friends and that you’re thankful for your brother/sister friendship. (He will get the hint, if you don’t know any other way to say it.)
  2. Don’t spend a lot of time with him. If the guy who likes you wants to hang out with you a lot—DON’T. This will just string him along. Make sure to hang out in groups and to be a friend who is strictly platonic. If this even seems to be a hurtful scenario, maybe stop hanging out altogether. It may protect his heart from being hurt, as well as yours.
  3. Pray and ask God for wisdom. Ask God to give you the words to say. If he is buying you flowers or texting you all the time and you just aren’t interested, just pray beforehand and make sure to express your gratitude, but that you want to keep the friendship as solely that. God will guide you.
  4. Communicate clearly. Don’t leave things vague or unknown. Don’t give an ounce of hope for a future relationship if that’s where it seems it’s going. Be careful—when you give an inch, people can take a mile. Set your boundaries and make it clear you only want to be friends and only hang out in groups, etc. Otherwise, it will not only be heartbreaking for him later, but will be more difficult for you, too.
  5. Don’t be too harsh. Be gentle, loving and kind with your words. Of course, be strong in the decision you’ve made, and be truthful in your expression, but don’t be overly mean or harsh by saying, “I’ll never want to be with you” or “You’re just not my type,” etc. Just say, “I really value our friendship and enjoy hanging out on occasion; you’re like a brother to me.” Or you can even say, “I appreciate you, my brother in Christ.” However you want to word it, do it gently and with love, if that makes sense. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

To read more about whether it’s possible for guys and girls to be just friends, click here.

PI Girls, do you have any other pieces of advice or comments about this topic?

Image: Thinkstock / Picsfive

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8 Comments

  1. Maurelle

    Posted by Maurelle on June 16, 2014 at 10:22

    This is really good advice!

  2. macncheesie

    Posted by macncheesie on June 11, 2014 at 20:02

    But what if he is my best friend? I don’t want to spend less time with him because he likes me.

  3. Speak4Elohim

    Posted by Speak4Elohim on June 11, 2014 at 13:43

    This is some good advice. There was this guy who I’ve known for a really long time, and he had recently really started to like me, and when he told me so, I clearly let him know that I only see him as a friend, and as an older brother figure, and that I was not interested in a relationship with him at all, and it was good. He took it well, and it really saved our friendship, kept from things being too awkward, and freed him up to realize he ACTUALLY liked another friend of ours a lot more, who happened to like him back. However, once there was another guy who liked me, and I led him on really terribly because I loved the attention. When he really started to say things like “I love you” and started getting more serious, like he wanted to have a formal relationship, I had to tell him that I didn’t really like him. It was a lot harder, ore painful, and regret-filled than with the other situation. He still wants to be friends, and so I’ve agreed, but it’s VERY strained, and I have to keep reminding him that there will NEVER be a relationship between the two of us, and asking him not to say certain things. It is so much easier to “break” a guy’s heart in the beginning, before he’s serious, than to wait, hoping not to hurt him, in the end you’ll hurt him worse the longer you wait.

  4. RachelMeeko

    Posted by RachelMeeko on June 11, 2014 at 09:17

    Just because he wants to hang out with you a lot you shouldn’t since you only want to be friends? This is kinda confusing… Sometimes if I just wanna be friends with a guy I really really do like him and love spending time with him, I just don’t want to have a romantic relationship. So long as he knows that you only want to be friends, I’m not sure that it means that you need to rarely hang out or completely stop… Of course maybe there is something I’m not seeing, and I more than open for someone to try to explain this to me 😛

    • popstar523

      Posted by popstar523 on June 11, 2014 at 10:10

      If he likes you, spending a lot of quality time with him, hanging out alone with him, etc, could string him along. And in the long run hurt him more. It’s better to stay in groups, or wait until he’s over you to spend a lot of time together. It just makes it easier, and will hurt him less if he doesn’t spend a lot of time alone with you. Let me know if that made any sense, hope it helped.

      • RachelMeeko

        Posted by RachelMeeko on June 12, 2014 at 07:26

        Ah… I guess I understand how it could hurt… But if it’s clear, as in you have directly told him you only want to be friends, shouldn’t that make it clear enough to him? But I rarely am alone with guys, and girls too, actually, I usually always hang out with friends in a group 😛 It just seems a shame to let a friendship come to ruin just simply because the guy loves you. I understand how it could really hurt him if you don’t tell him how you feel and lead him to believe you two might have a future together or whatever, but it’d be kinda strange for him to keep thinking he has a chance after you told him you didn’t want to 😛

  5. kelseyharrisonn

    Posted by kelseyharrisonn on June 10, 2014 at 08:49

    I’ve been struggling with a situation like this and this article really helped! Thank you!