A few years ago I participated in a dating website expert panel.
Here is my response to a question that I was asked:
How do I politely but firmly tell someone I’m just not interested
Gary Loper: When I was dating I had a very clear idea of the characteristics of the person I was looking for. That vision came from understanding my needs; and, it became even clearer with dating women who showed me characteristics – both positive and negative – which helped me respond to this question. There were a number of women who felt I was right for them, but the feeling wasn’t mutual.
I may not have always been able to express the right thing to say, so much of my response is from lessons learned and how I would have liked to have been treated in the same situation. Knowing what we want and holding true to the vision will allow us to handle this delicate situation in a way that is less damaging to everyone.
First, let them know how honored you are that they feel that way about you. (We all have a primal need to be heard and understood. This gives respect to their feelings). Next, gently let them know that you do not see the potential to move ahead with the relationship. Knowing you’re non-negotiable is very important. They cannot justify or lobby for a change of mind, if you do not give them room to. And last, compliment them. Focus on their positive qualities. Give them suggestions on how or where they could meet someone who is better suited for them. Perhaps, if they are open to it, help them create their list of qualities they are looking for in their relationship. Or, refer them to me to coach them to develop a better understanding of how to attract better relationships.
The statement could look something like this example:
“I am honored that you have those feelings for me, but this is not the direction I am looking for in my relationship. I know how important your dog is to you, and perhaps you could take your dog to the dog park (dog beach, pet show, etc.), and meet someone who already shares your passion for your puppy. I truly hope that you find your perfect match.”
No one likes to be rejected, so keep in mind to let them know you understand and appreciate what they have said. Handle it gently, to give them respect and to close the door on the possible relationship between the two of you. The more you focus on their needs and stay true to your vision, the easier it will be. Then you will not have to worry about any negative backlash that could damage your credibility on the dating site you are using or social media platforms.