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“How Do I Turn a Guy Down Without Hurting His Feelings?”

Hi Olivia!
So I believe that the whole point of dating and being in a relationship is to lead to marriage. Those are my morals and I plan to stick to them. I am also an extreme extrovert, and pretty much introduce myself to anyone new to my youth group. Because of this, I am indeed friends with a lot of guys. And before I continue, I am not trying to come off as conceited. I have a true concern that I wish would disappear. In the past month, two of my guy friends have asked me out and one of my really close guy friends is obviously showing interest in me. At the current moment, I am not the least bit interested in dating. But I am friends with quite a few guys. How can I nicely turn them down without destroying the strictly friends relationship? Because so far, I’ve explained my uninterest in dating anyone, and I’ve lost those friendships, and they seem genuinely hurt. I don’t want to be the cause of that. I feel stuck. What do I do?

Hey girl! Thanks for trusting me with your question.

I’m really pleased to read that you take dating very seriously, and that for you, it’s the first stage of marriage. I totally share your conviction.

I can also understand that you don’t want to lose friendships with guys because you’ve turned them down when they ask you on a date. But honestly, in this day and age when casual dating is considered the norm, your values may seem unconventional, or just weird! Oh well!

The reality is that you may just hurt a few people along the way, even though it was unintentional. And there’s really nothing you can do about that, especially if you’ve been honest and kind in your explanation. Some guys may not even believe you. They may think that you’re just not interested in them, and so they take the rejection hard. The only way you can justify any negative reaction is by being honest and remaining true to your word. Eventually, those same guys will see that you were honest. That you haven’t dated anyone casually. So, staying true to your convictions as well as your word is really important. But if you’re devoted to Him, that shouldn’t be difficult.

So here’s what I think you should do:

  1. Tell the truth. You totally share my philosophy on dating, and unfortunately not many people do. But you can share your truth, which I feel is a Godly one. After all, anything less is just causal dating and what’s the point of that? To have fun? Well, you can have fun with friends. I digress…tell the truth. Something like, “Thanks, I’m flattered, but I’m really not into casual dating. I believe that dating is the first stage of getting married.” They may be taken aback by that response, but they may also respect your honesty. Either way, your truth is out.
  2. Put God’s feelings first. You can’t worry about someone’s feelings if your desire is to please God. Honesty is always the best way to go.
  3. Stick to your convictions. Mean what you say. If at any point you decide to casually date someone, then you may just lose integrity and those you rejected in the past will feel more hurt.
  4. Pray for strength. Not just to remain loyal to your vow, but to have the courage to speak truth about your faith as a whole. And to remain true to yourself. This is not easy in a world highly focused on self-gratification.

Good luck and God bless!

Need some advice? Ask your relationship questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!

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Image: Lightstock | Todd Helzer


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  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by GymnastGirl97 on October 17, 2015 at 14:50

    Wow. This is good advice. I have never dated before and I just got asked out yesterday (for the first time ever) by a Christian guy I work with, and I’m not sure if I should pursue it or not. He’s really nice, but he is about 7 years older than me! My parents and I are not sure what to do about the situation, so I would appreciate any prayers for me to have wisdom, move with caution, and stay true to my values and beliefs. Thanks guys 🙂

  2. bandgirl

    Posted by bandgirl on October 11, 2015 at 10:44

    Great post! I understand the pain of unintentionally causing someone to be upset, but after I had a casual relationship with a guy turn serious and I had to break it off after over 2 years because I stayed with him even though it was clear he wasn’t the one after just a few months, that caused him way more damage than it would have if I’d have just stayed away from casually dating completely. I didn’t know that back then, but after going through that rough break up I can highly commend the smart decision to not casually date. I wish I would’ve made my decision to do the same, and trust me your struggle is easier than the breakup after a casual relationship.

  3. dalmatiangirl12

    Posted by dalmatiangirl12 on April 8, 2015 at 00:05

    Thank you for this post! I just got asked to prom from a pretty good Christian friend of mine. However, I feel like he’s had a crush on me since last year, but he has not actually straight up told me he likes me (but he teases me a lot and sometimes seems flirtatious). I have asked some of my guys friends from youth group for advice and they told me some funny, but probably effective ways to drop some hints (like call him a good friend or brother in Christ). But, again thank you for this post because it really makes me feel a lot more reassured on how to approach this issue <3 hopefully prom won't be super awkward ahaha 🙂

  4. Joelle98

    Posted by Joelle98 on February 27, 2015 at 10:55

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who believes this!! It’s good to know there are people out there who are really taking dating seriously, especially now days. Thank you for standing by your beliefs.

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by mlbreece on February 2, 2015 at 15:53

    So glad I came across this article! It’s good to know that I am not alone:)

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by saraileft on January 20, 2015 at 18:21

    I totally need this . I have a friend who likes me and I’m worried he’ll ask me out . He is a great friend and would hate to hurt him .

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by WildChild on January 18, 2015 at 17:10

    This was so helpful!

  8. Project Inspired

    Posted by khalea on January 16, 2015 at 20:18

    I absolutely love this! Thank you! 🙂

  9. Busygirl996

    Posted by Busygirl996 on January 15, 2015 at 17:56

    I needed to see this! I have this guy friend and everytime my two best friends are around when we are hanging out after he leaves they say “He likes you!” Due to the way he talks to me and my friends. Anyways I have the same “dating is the first step to marriage” philosophy, not to mention the fact that I’m a senior, already crazy busy, and leaving after this school year for college. Once my friends said what they did, I noticed a few of the signs too, and started to worry about what I would say if he ever asked (though I don’t think he will). Now I know. All I can do, if he asks, is tell the truth and hope he understands. Hopefully the fact he’s a strong Christian will help him understand and help us to keep our friendship 🙂 thanks so much!!!

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by charisvanasse on January 15, 2015 at 15:07

    I love this!! Totally something that I dealt with in high school, and I definitely share the above values. Also, I think avoiding casual dating can be very worth it down the road because it provides an opportunity to really connect with God in a unique way, and when I did it, it really made me appreciate having a relationship down the road, also all that time being single helped me get better informed and prepared thanks to the advice of others who knew better than I did.