How to Lovingly Turn Him Down

If I have the story right, after my dad asked my mom out, she commented to a friend, “Why do the creepy guys always ask me out?” (Obviously she changed her mind about my dad not too long after that!)

Maybe you feel like my mom felt all those years ago. Why does it seem the guys you don’t like are always the ones pursuing you?

I can’t answer that question for you (except to assume that you’re lovely, and they’re smart enough to realize it!). Instead, may I throw an important question out there?

When a “creepy guy” asks you out, how can you turn him down in a way that glorifies God? More specifically, how can you love a guy well while turning him down?

I’m so glad you asked! Let’s look at a few ways you can love him before, when, and after you turn him down.

Love Him Before You Turn Him Down . . .

  • Remember that this guy has worth. You might think he’s creepy, but everyone—including this guy—is made in the image of God. That means he has great value and worth in God’s eyes, and he should to you, too—even if you don’t like him “like that.”
  • Go to God rather than gossiping about him to your friends. Ask God to give you wisdom to lovingly but truthfully communicate with this guy. Ask God to draw this guy closer to Himself through this disappointment. Pray that this guy wouldn’t believe lies about his worth. Pray for wisdom in your interactions with him. You get the idea.
  • Accept this as God’s assignment for you. You might be frustrated because you don’t want to deal with this. I get that. But God is sovereign, and He has allowed this to happen. So can you receive it from Him?
  • Don’t rush. You might want to get this guy out of your life ASAP. A quick text might seem like the simplest solution. But is it really best? Pause. Breathe. Pray. There’s no need to freak out about this. You’ve got this, girl, and you can do it in a way that honors God and loves this guy.

Love Him When You Turn Him Down . . .

  • Own it. Don’t blame God by saying something like, “God hasn’t given me a green light,” or “I just don’t have peace,” or “I don’t feel God wants me to date right now.” Say it like it is: You don’t want to date him. (I mean, come on. If a hot, godly guy came along right now who liked you, would you really tell him you didn’t think God wants you to date right now?)
  • Tell the truth. When I was a teen, I thought covering up the real reason I didn’t like a guy would protect him. Wrong! “Not hurting his feelings” never justifies lying. Proverbs 24:26 says it like this: “Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.” So give him a “kiss” of truth—lol. It’s the least you can give him.Don’t tell him what you think he wants to hear. I’m not saying you can just blurt out whatever you’re thinking and be oblivious to his feelings. Use wisdom, but be truthful. If you’re not attracted to him, tell him you’re just not feeling anything beyond friendship. If there’s a deeper reason—a reason that would help him know where he needs to grow—share that with him in a direct, loving way.You get the picture.
  • Affirm him where you can. Even if you don’t like him, you can let him know it’s an honor that he would take an interest in you! More than that, he demonstrated an enormous amount of courage in putting his feelings out there and asking you out. Tell him how much you admire that and that you hope your response won’t keep him from pursuing the right girl at the right time.

Love Him After You Turn Him Down . . .

  • Keep the lines of communication open. Don’t treat him like he has a disease, just because he likes you. Say “hi” the next time you see him. (He’ll probably feel awkward around you, so that simple act will be a real gift.)If he creeps or freaks you out in the coming days or weeks, tell him something like, “FYI: I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but I felt uncomfortable when . . .” It might be messy, but be honest.
  • Trust God with his broken heart. Turning a guy down can tear up a girl’s heart—especially if he’s a good friend or you feel like you should like him because he’s a great guy. If that’s you, be encouraged by this letter a dear friend wrote me after I turned a guy down:

Don’t be afraid of breaking someone’s heart. God uses heartache in incredible ways.

It’s no sin to reject someone. Rest in knowing that whatever happens, God is in control of their lives, too. If you’re not feeling the same desire to go forward, then rejection is the best thing you could do for them.

In eternity, I believe you and [he] will both be smiling at each other in joy when you look backward with perfect knowledge of all these things and see fully from God’s vantage point what He was doing on [this particular day].

I hope this helps you the next time you have to turn someone down.

Now it’s your turn to talk (or type).

  • Why do you think it’s so important to love even the “creepy” guys?
  • Can you think of any other ways to love a guy while turning him down?

PS: Just in case you’re thinking, But no guy has ever asked me out! be sure to hurry back to the blog on Friday. We have hope tailor-made just for you!

PPS: We’re giving away a copy of the latest version of Lies Young Women Believe with every post in February. Comment below for your chance to win!

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About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on PaulaWrites.com.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • Nicole Yanni

    This advice is really really helpful! Now I know how to reject someone with love!

  • Esther Sentosa

    Thank you for this post! I’ve not encountered such a situation before but I pray that it would be a blessing to me someday 🙂

  • Alyssa K.

    Great insight! I’ll be sure to pass this along to the high school girls in my small group. We were JUST talking last weekend about how to turn down a guy.

  • Sarah

    Nice post. Thanks Paula!

  • rebeccavanmiddelkoop

    Beautiful and well written post!

  • Duskflower

    I love how well-grounded this post is in biblical truth, not just random relationship advice. Thank you for this, Paula, I’ll definitely need to keep this advice in mind! ^_^

  • Gods gal

    Thank you so much for this post Paula. We need to learn how to respond lovingly even in awkward situations 🙂

  • Moley Mole

    Thanks for this!

    Have you any advice as to what to do when this is happening regularly? Like when it’s wearing you down emotionally having to turn so many guys down?

    • I wonder if choosing to have an attitude of gratitude about each guy that asks you out would help you. Like Paula said in her article, each one of them is made in the image of God. Perhaps you can pray for them and ask God to show you something to be thankful about each guy even though you do turn them down. Gratitude has the potential of changing so many things – emotionally as well as spiritually. Praying for you right now, Moley Mole.

  • cook

    Thanks for this helpful article! When I find out I’ve attracted a guy that I don’t like in return, I don’t know how to react or respond. I do get discouraged that I still haven’t met the guy God has for me, but God has been teaching me that I need to let go of control and keep trusting Him.

  • Adaline Griffiths

    Great post!

  • Brenda

    Such good advise for girls. Turning a guy down should always be done with love and care for him. Such good Biblical truth.

  • SD

    Really great advice!

  • Kendra DeAun Rose Smith

    Great advice!

  • Jenny

    Great Biblical advice – wish someone had explained this to me when I was a teenager.

  • Loved

    I definitely agree, the part at the beginning talking about how he has worth really spoke to me. Sometimes it’s easier to reject a guy and be rude, rather than remember that he’s a real person with feelings and worth. He was made in God’s image and God doesn’t do things wrong. Treat him like a human and you’ll be surprised, he might end up being your friend and if you come to that road, you might find that he’s a Godly man and you could totally end up as a couple.

  • Hannah B

    Thankfully I’ve never had to turn down (or accept) a guy, but this is a good post!!

  • Abigail

    Wow, this came at such an opportune time. I turned a guy down yesterday, and was worried that I had done something really rude. However, the guy was not very polite when he asked me out, so I was kind of shocked and it threw me for a loop.

  • Cheney

    Thanks for this!
    Such a great post with good tips and advice!

  • Makenna

    This is such a great reminder of being loving to even those who seem “creepy” or weird. I pray that God will help me be more loving to people in my life!

  • Claire Bear

    Thanks for the amazing post! Your wisdom never fails to amaze me! <3 u guys!

  • Wow, this came in the knick of time for me today! Praise God. Thank you so much for this awesome, wise, godly advice, Paula! ♥️ I’ll definitely be saving this for future reference, too.

  • Caroline Morales

    Dang, I wish I had been able to read this post last week. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this post. I faced a similar situation, but I asked a guy almost 3 years ago that I used to message by phone with the distance we were apart if we could NOT message as much. I needed to get my heart right with God. The guy only messaged usually once a day & after 6 months I wasn’t sure whether we were both seeking & putting God first & putting the other person before ourself. I asked him if we could not message as much and he called off what we never spoke about. I went to a wedding he knew the bride & I knew the groom. I looked in the church for the descriptions of what he looked like & never saw him. I wanted to ask him while I was in this town if he wanted to go for a coffee, water, tea, or something with me & my parents. I wasn’t able to see him to ask him & talk with him. I didn’t have his number to ask him, either. I felt terrible that day for hurting him. I see it now as a door God closed. I have dealt as Stephen in the Bible did as he was being stoned to how Men in the Bible gave praise as they were treated whether they were locked in jail, mocked, & etc. & still gave God praise. It takes time because it hurts being picked on whether by social media, people saying hurtful things at your face or behind your back, but I choose to leave it in God’s those that speak unkindly whether the other person knows you or not leave it in God’s hands. *a month ago an unsaved employee at where I work asked me to join him for the Christmas party at work like a dinner on the grounds, but not at church. My reply to being asked if I could join him that day was I am not sure. I knew it took guts for him to ask & I didn’t want to hurt him. We are almost 7 years different in age. :/ I’m not against the age difference, but I am not wanting to get very close with an unsaved guy. I pray that this guy will see my desire to go to church & possibly attend church, but that’s something we can’t force someone to do. I haven’t really spoken any other time with that employee at where I work but in a different department. I pray for God’s Will & pray for the unsaved employees I work with. Two coworkers of mine told me this one day, ‘Girl you better find a boy so you can have kids’. I replied to them that I seek God’s Will, that I don’t have the desire to be a mom until I marry the guy God has for my life. *I seek His Will & pray for the guy God has for me to stay pure & follow God’s Will for his life. Thank you for this devotion.

    • Proverbs 31 girl in Training

      Yeah, I had a guy that I turned down after not guarding my heart from premature emotional connections. I was a mess. We would write long letters to each other and he knew everything about me. I knew I loved him, but I wouldn’t bring myself to see it how it was because I didn’t want it to end. He was not a Christian so it never would have worked. Anyway, he had all this stuff going on in his life (including life threatening kidney failure) when he told me he liked me and I felt miserable for turning him down after all that I had been through with him. He was so gracious and accepting of me even after that. I wanted so badly for him to be a jerk about it so I could get over him, but he wasn’t. The day after I told him I couldn’t be with him like that, he went into surgery to get a kidney transplant. That was definitely God closing a door because I didn’t see him at school for three months while he was recovering. We had a few more text conversations and it was so dramatic and heart wrenching. I really had feelings for this guy like no one else before because I had never shared my heart with a guy like I did with him. God definitely closed doors for me to get over him. I ended up switching phones and lost his number. We never had contact after I graduated. He still is closing doors. It has been a year and it still hurts every time I tell the story. I feel like I ruined his life for denying him friendship when he was most alone. He text my mom and basically apologized for saying he liked me when he knew I was going through a lot and that I was the best thing that ever happened to him and he wanted to respect my wish for not communicating. Girls, I don’t care what kind of guy he is, when he says that about you your heart melts. It has definitely been a process for me.

      • Jalamb

        I feel so sad for the guy — his heart breaking. I feel bittersweet to hear about your emotional response to his respecting your wishes — your heart melting.

        :`)

  • H W

    Thanks for the wisdom! Always look forward to reading your posts, Paula. 🙂

  • Erika

    Thanks for the PS — I’ll be here on Friday! 😛

  • Ally Lyu

    So good!

  • genesis herrera

    this kinda hurt reading because i never want to hurt someone’s heart. Especially a good guy friends heart. ive never been asked out before but just in general i hate feeling like i hurt someone and then them ignoring me. it makes me feel horrible and i want to fix it. so awkward 🙁

  • Proverbs 31 girl in Training

    I had a guy that I just met ask me if I had Instagram. I was in church and couldn’t lie, not that I can’t lie out of church because it kills me inside to do so. Anyway, he was like, “Can I have it then?” I was visiting this new church and was leaving without telling anyone bye in particular. So, this guy noticed I left and then ran down the hallway to catch up to me. How could I tell him no? I didn’t feel like I had a good reason to deny him my social media account that I specifically made for not so close friends or acquaintances. Well, within 24 hours, he began messaging me non-stop. He thought I was cute and godly and really liked me. He point blank asked me on a date after seeing me once. We didn’t even talk to each other! I hesitated answering because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He seemed genuinely nice, but I had more than just looks to turn him down after seeing his social media page. I sought counsel from my mom and was able to lovingly put him down with her help in making it sound gracious and respectful to him and his emotions, no matter how shallow they were.

    Moral of the story: turns out godly moms are great experts in this area of turning down a guy and what not to do. Now I always go to her for advice when some random guy asks me out, not that it happens that much (maybe three times in my life including the story above).

  • Tessa

    This is so awkward when this happens! Thanks for the advice!

  • Sarah

    Awesome insights!

  • loi

    atleast the next time it happens i wont feel like a murderer. turning down a guy especially a good church guy leaves one feeling so guilty. thanks for the pointers

  • Rachel Bauer

    Thank you so much, I will definitely be sharing this with friends 🙂

  • Char Latte

    Sharing with a few friends who are going through similar situations. This is excellent 😉 I think it’s very important to let the guys in our lives know that we respect them, whether or not we are interested in them. “Speaking the truth in love…” <3

  • adriana anthony

    This helps me so much I have a friend who wants to be more but I’m just really enjoying my single season, It’s not easy because I like him but I also know that we don’t have a lot in common and we think differently. That being said it’s hard to communicate sometimes but I’m trusting that we’ll both grow spiritually from this situation.

  • Becca<3

    Really loved this. I really hate hurting people’s feelings, so this was kind of like a pep talk that it’s ok to risk unintentionally hurting someone if you’re being honest, but sensitive.

  • Emily Torbert

    Great blog post, love the letter at the end!

  • Tabitha Chen

    This post was definitely helpful, though I’ve never been asked out I have had to friend zone a guy and I’m sure these guidelines would have been helpful. I’ll keep them in mind for next time, which I suspect may be soon. Looking forward to Friday’s blog!

  • Krista Duckworth

    This blog post is literally the best for anyone who doesn’t know how to handle a break up in a God honoring way!!!

  • Paula

    This is such an interesting but very necessary topic.

  • Anna Leong

    Such a helpful post. Thank you

  • Liz

    I don’t I’ve ever really thought about how easy it is for us as the one not interested to forget that HE was clearly very interested and wanting acceptance. The need to love our Christian brothers well extends to even this hard rejection, thank you for that reminder!

  • Rebecca

    A friend recommended and shared a copy of the older Lies Young Women believe. I was so blessed by the book and loved the material so much that I turned it into a personal bible study plan for me. Now as my younger sisters are getting older I am sharing these truths and counter-attacks for the Lies that Satan throws at us. An amazing blessing you have given to me and my family, Mrs. Gresh and Wolgamueth!!

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for this post! It was such a good reminder that God loves everyone – even the people we find hard to like. It’s our calling to reflect the love that he has so lavishly given to us when we didn’t deserve it. Looking forward to Friday’s Post!

  • Charis Chen

    Thank you for this post! So helpful!

  • tabitha

    these are great tips! i love how your advice is always so practical. thank you so much!

  • Heather

    I love all y’all’s posts! They are always just so amazing! <3

    -Heather

  • Jessica Martinez

    I came across this post at just the right time!! These are great tips and I plan on using them! What a timely message! ♥

  • Leah

    I needed this post so bad, you have no idea! There is a guy who I think is going to ask me out (i am 99% sure), and I think he is super attractive, but he is not a Christian, and I know he won’t bring me closer to God. Thank you so much! I really want to turn him down without hurting his feelings too much, because he really is a great guy, just not the guy for me. I pray about this matter constantly, and this blog popped up in my emails at the perfect time! Thank you!

  • Victoria

    This is a great article and one that’s actually almost as needed as the posts for not having guys asking you out. I’ve had this happen and I answered him nicely and courteously, but I’ve totally avoided him since. My mom said that wasn’t he best way because 1) now I don’t really know if he would be someone I would be interested in and 2) he asked me in person and was very sweet about it, so it took guts. But thanks for the post! It went right along with my life right now.

  • Eve

    Thank you for this post! So helpful!

  • Marie

    I know this post is kinda old, but I really needed this today. A good guy friend at my church admitted to me that he likes me a lot, I knew that I didn’t feel the same way and told him that I’d rather stay friends. Also, I told him that I only like him as a friend. Also,there are just some red flags that I can’t get past and I also know that God is calling me to the mission field and this guy does not feel that way. It was probably the hardest thing that I have ever done because I never want to intentionally hurt someone, but I also realize that getting that in the open will be best for everyone. While he is a nice guy, and a good friend, I should never have let him open up to me because that made it all worse. I even prayed for God’s guidance at the beginning of the friendship and felt that God was telling me no. In all, I regret not listening to what I felt God was saying and this whole gut-wrenching situation has taught me a lot. Thank you so much for this post, I needed it, it’s been a hard few days.

    • Dear Marie,

      I’m so sorry it’s been a tough few days. But so glad this post was just what you needed.

      Hang in there!

      paula