I have a cousin who is younger to me and she seemed a bit disturbed over the fact that a guy in her class had confessed his feelings for her. But she exactly doesn't feel the same for him.

I was thinking of advising her to say a no boldly. But on a second thought, she may be perceived as the typical heart breaker so she should probably speak up a bit more differently.

My cousin's 16. She's very timid, sensitive and introverted too. They are not strong friends, in fact I didn't even know he was her classmate so she hadn't had the least expectations.

Again, she is an introvert and likes to keep limited friends. They don't even have a common friend...so she was really taken aback.

So I wanted to know if there is any other way to say it...I mean how can she say him no a bit more politely and differently from the stereotypical "no." Rejection will never be taken well on the other end but I want to know if I can suggest her something more intelligent to speak.

  • 1
    Hi and welcome to IPS! Could you provide some more information? As it stands, it's likely to be closed as too broad because there aren't enough details. Also, please include a question including your goals and what interpersonal skills you are hoping to improve.
    – zanahorias
    Aug 29, 2018 at 19:03
  • Possible duplicate of How to reject a proposal from a close friend?
    – gparyani
    Aug 29, 2018 at 19:22
  • @gparyani Hi! Thanks for the link...I get the answers and they are very helpful.But my cousin and the boy are in the same school so it's likely that they'll be seeing each other everyday ...besides they are in the same batch.
    – user 33690
    Aug 29, 2018 at 19:43
  • In my opinion, while the situations in the other question aren't exactly the same, the answer there still applies to your case.
    – gparyani
    Aug 29, 2018 at 20:05
  • 4
    I made some pretty big edits. Feel free to rollback or change if you disagree with any of the changes.
    – scohe001
    Aug 29, 2018 at 23:01

3 Answers 3


If I have gotten anything wrong please let me know and I will edit accordingly

I'm not sure if there is a way to let this guy down gently, rejection is rejection even when it's sugar coated and there's no telling how he'll take it. He could be very gracious or he may not be, either way though, if your cousin isn't interested in him she should tell him and make sure he knows that before things get awkward.

If I were you cousin, I would find a moment either before or just after a class they have together to tell him that I am not interested in a relationship with him. She should be polite but to the point, and she doesn't have to apologize or justify herself. If she's not interested she's not interested, that's nobody's fault and hopefully this boy will accept that. I know this may seem harsh, but it's better to be honest and to the point as it helps avoid any confusion for everyone involved and means at the end of the day everyone is (hopefully) happy and the boy is aware that your cousin has made her decision.

She could say something along the lines of:

"Hey (boys name), I just wanted to let you know that I thought about what you said and I'm not interested, but I appreciated you being honest with me so I thought it's only fair for me to be honest with you too."

I see you mentioned in your question that they don't have any common friends so I'm guessing this means they don't really know each other either. If she wanted to, she could add in that she'd like to get to know him as a friend, it may help to soften the blow. I will add that she should only offer this to him if she is actually interested in potentially being friends with him, if she isn't then just leave it out, it's better for everyone.

I know that at the age of 16 everything can seem very daunting, but having been in the same position as your cousin a few times in my life I can say that being honest and direct is better in the long run even though it is a tough thing to do. It means that what you say is understood and everyone leaves knowing exactly where the other person stands, it leaves no room for something to be picked up the wrong way.

I am sure your cousin will be fine, good luck!


There isn't a great way to tell someone who's confessed their love to you that it's not reciprocal. No matter what you say, there will be some sting. Your cousin needs to prepare for that regardless of how it's delivered.

With that in mind, your cousin should be absolutely up-front and honest without being mean. This is important because the message should be 100% unambiguous, but obviously she doesn't want to hurt him.

She could say something like:

That's really sweet of you, and honestly I'm flattered, but I'm not interested in taking this relationship to the next level. I'd like to remain friends, though!

That's it. There's no need to say anything more. I think it's often tempting to emphasize how much she enjoys the relationship to try and make him feel better, but I personally dislike that approach - saying "we're so great together! we have tons of fun! we get along so well!" doesn't come across as reasons for the relationship not to progress, and opens her up to an uncomfortable "debate" on whether or not they should date, so I would recommend avoiding that approach.


It's unfortunate that we live in a society where we have to be careful with how we reject people, as if "no" is simply not sufficient.

If she doesn't fear violence or any crazy behavior, then simply a clear "No, sorry, I am not interested." should suffice. The reason being that a lot of people - especially people inexperienced with relationship and courtship (teenagers or introverts who didn't date much) - doesn't seem to understand "no". A lot of times, it can be misunderstood when you say "let's stay friends!" especially if she is still nice to him. He might still believe he has a chance and essentially keep trying until he "wins" by acting nice. Not everyone reacts that way, but in my experience - a lot of my ex gfs, have experience where they rejected men - the men eventually end up friendship guilting the women until a clear and concise "hard NO" is communicated. Sometimes you need to be blunt to avoid dragging it on.

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