"Arms Full of Words," photography by Dolores Juhas (2011). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.
Truly, no one owes anyone else an explanation for his or her relationship preferences. When it comes to breaking the news to someone else that you cannot return romantic interest, then it becomes important to consider what you say as well as when and where you say it.
Think back to the first time or last time (or any time) that you have told someone that you “liked” or “loved” or were “interested” in him or her. How much courage did it take? Did you deliberate over it for some time alone? With friends? With family? Did you feel vulnerable telling this person how you felt? Were you worried about being rejected? Were you concerned that he or she would never speak to you again?
Use your memories of emotional vulnerability to guide your words when speaking to someone about your feelings (or lack thereof) for him or her.
So, what might be good to say, if not “I am not that into you” or “I am not into you” or something similar? Well, I am no dictator. I believe each person can find his or her own words through the experience of empathy.
I am so into…
I might, however, suggest some guidelines (truly, this is in no particular order):
- Focus on the positive of the person. Compliment who he or she is. What you like about him or her.
- Be honest about your incompatibilities. You know… things like, interests, values, religion, culture, height, age, sexual preferences, psychological baggage, relationship status… Whatever “schtuff” (as a former colleague of mine would say) it is that you get hung-up on when you are considering someone for a relationship. Really… be honest with yourself too!
- Be truthful. That is, do not lie… I promise, it will come back to haunt you.
- Be honest about what type of relationship you think can work between the two of you.
- Be open to dialogue and encourage the other person to speak about his or her feelings, i.e. if he or she wish to do so. Either way, allow the person to know that you are available in the ways that you can be in that moment (everything has a time limit… and the duration of that time limit should be relative to the nature of the already established relationship)
- Be clear. Do not leave hope. That is, do not say things like, “Perhaps in the future…” or “Maybe one day…” This only causes confusion and leads the person to hang on/remain hopeful.
- Compliment the person on his or her ability to speak with you about his or her feelings.
- Move on… from the subject. Normalize as quickly as possible. This will help to alleviate the feelings of awkwardness between the two of you. There is no need to have a long and drawn-out conversation about the issue, especially if you are clear. If the person needs space, then allow him or her to take it… and then move on from the situation yourself.
So, what might a conversation be like?
"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.
Well, let’s pretend
Person A: I really like you… and I was wondering if you would like to go out some time.
Person B: Wow, that was an unexpected compliment. Thank you so much. I like you too. Going out for coffee would sound interesting, but I could only do so as friends.
Person A: Oh… I… I thought you liked me…
Person B: I do like you, but only as a friend.
Person A: But why only as a friend?
Person B: Well, because typically I tend to date people who share the same interests as myself, and I know that we don’t share many common interests. It would make things difficult. Also, although you are a physically attractive person, I am not sexually attracted to you. I know that that is probably hard to hear and I hope it doesn’t hurt our friendship.
——— This would be the move on point———
Okay, so… Some people might say that this statement is harsh and hurtful. Well, it may be hurtful in the moment and for a moment. It is, however, clear and caring. That is, Person B is direct that there is no hope for a romantic relationship now or in the future, but she or he really wants to maintain the friendship/relationship that is already established. Above all, it is respectful. 😉
After that interaction, I would suggest that if Person A felt wronged…. then grab a friend and a copy of the film “He’s Just Not That Into You“… watch, commiserate, laugh and learn… then come back and read my blog. 😉
Until next time!
Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas
Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue. You can visit her website at http://www.dolores-juhas.tk or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org. She has her own blog at http://themax.bloger.hr