How to Tell A Guy You Aren’t Interested—Without Ghosting

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I will admit, I struggle to read girls sometimes. I’m sure many of us do, right? Mixed signal after mixed signal. Instead of a straight-up “no” to clear our anticipating minds, we get let on, left confused and irritated. It’s hard enough trying to not misinterpret friendly seemingly flirtatious gestures from true romantic ones at times. Why not cut us some slack and just reject us?

Some guys appreciate a straight-up approach. “The only way I’ve been curved was by simply not getting a text back. If I’ve ever started feeling a girl, and I can tell she doesn’t feel the same. I just don’t even put myself in the predicament for her to curve me,” said University of South Florida sophomore Martin Reid.

Guys may wonder: Why not just stop it before it begins? Why not just tell us you’re not interested? Why send texts messages that have us seeing hearts, when you’re really not that into it? We’ll begin to really like you but the admiration isn’t mutual.

Like for instance, the time you get a girl’s number and there’s conversation right after via text.

“Hey, wassup? How are you?”

“I’m fine. What about you?”

“I’m good. You wanna maybe grab lunch tomorrow, after 5th block?” Will you be free?”

“Yeah, um… I might be. I’ll let you know”

“Ok. Cool.”

Now, I’m sure this conversation isn’t exactly how it goes down, but you get the drift. She didn’t want to come off as rude, which is why she answered the guy like she would anyone else—up until the second-to-last line.  Her hesitation could signal that she’s not interested. But some of us probably won’t catch on, unless she just stops responding, never gets back to us about the lunch date or outright says, “I’m not interested.”

Of course, no one likes to get rejected. But that’s part of life. Not everyone will reciprocate your feelings. Even if it stings, we’ll bounce back with grace.

I spoke to some college women to get their perspective, hoping they could enlighten me on the issue and give some key signals to when they’re just not feeling the potential relationship.

Sometimes avoiding the awkwardness makes ghosting easier. “I think girls choose to go ghost rather than tell the guy that they are uninterested because it makes things less awkward. Imagine telling someone you just don’t want to talk to them.  It just comes out as so harsh and blunt,” said University of Florida sophomore Kierra Mathis.

And sometimes the guy’s initial approach turned off the girl somehow. “I think women ghost men because something happened that caused them to lose interest and they don’t want to be rude about it; or the man did something to hurt the girl’s feelings,” said Florida State University junior Nicole Juarez.

Outright telling someone you’re not interested is hard. It can definitely seem intimidating, so no wonder why many girls just do their best to avoid the confrontation and spare our feelings. “I felt that it would be rude if I said no when he asked me out.  About two weeks into the ‘relationship’ I stopped responding to his calls and text messages.  Looking back on it, that was a very messed up thing for me to do,” said Mathis.

Though Mathis didn’t want to hurt his feelings, she seemed to also feel an unspoken amount of pressure to say yes when he initially asked her out. I can see now how this can be a double-whammy for many girls. Its either say “yes” and feel totally uncomfortable or say “no” and feel somewhat terrible.  And that leads to the whole consent conversation, an intense and complex topic in itself.

We can all agree that girls have their own reasons for ghosting—some more serious than others.  Some feel the need to protect us guys, while some reasons are personal to the girl. Some feel pressured. So ghosting seems to go deeper than “she’s not interested.” Maybe our communication causes the rift, from the guy not understanding if she’s even interested to her not completely sure on why she isn’t.

I leave it for you to decide. Is communication the key?  Is anyone to blame?

He is currently a sophomore at the University of Florida, majoring in English. He loves to write and is passionate about all things social! With the two, he aims to make an indelible mark on the American legal system

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