Whether it’s in a bar while enjoying drinks with friends, at a house party while trying to get in the groove, or just a moment on the street, almost all of us have had to turn down someone. What’s the best way to say “I’m not interested”? How can you avoid that awkward moment when you say no?
1. Be polite
That person who asked to buy you a drink has taken the guts to just come over, rejection can be tough enough without the extra sting of a rude turn down. When in doubt use that golden rule we learned as kids.
Taylor Stratton, a 20-year-old junior environmental studies major, said a little politeness can go a long way.
“Make sure you’re really polite; [say] a ‘thanks, nice talking to you,’” Stratton said. “Smile and walk away.”
But why be polite if someone is bothering you? Chances are that invitation is unwanted and could put a hitch in what might be a really good night. Stratton said people don’t have to be rude.
“I don’t think they mean any harm,” Stratton said. “I think it’s flattering if they’re nice enough to come say hi to you. It’s a compliment.”
Mike Gaisbauer, a 22-year-old senior English major, said a polite rejection is all that’s necessary.
“If they say no, I’d respect that,” Gaisbauer said. “Why not just let them be?”
2. Be taken, even if you’re not
Whether you’re the one turning someone down or the one being turned down, single life is littered with rejections. Giving a harsh “no” can be avoided by using those three simple words: “Sorry, I’m taken.” Sometimes they work like a charm. That creepy guy asking for your number just disappears with the looming threat of an angry boyfriend.
Those words can work, whether or not you say them out loud.
“When I worked at a restaurant or bar I’d wear an engagement ring,” said Katie Cross, a 20-year-old junior theater major. “Every time I put down a glass in front of them it would be very obvious. Just go ‘I’m engaged.’”
If you do decide to use this avenue to secure escape from your bothersome suitor, 20-year-old junior theater and English major, Daniel Leonard said its a good idea to sweeten the rejection with a little ego fluffing.
“You want to get away from them,” Leonard said. “Make them feel like you really regret it because then it’s more likely that they’ll stop bothering you and go try someone else.”
3. Use the buddy system
The politeness was rampant, you’ve said you were taken, yet that guy or girl still won’t leave you alone. Luckily, friends are there for a reason.
“If I was with friends, use them,” Gaisbauer said. “Take you and your friends and head off into a different direction.”
Use your friends in a variety of different ways, like agreeing on a “help me” signal ahead of time and keeping friends of the opposite sex close by.
“Usually I’m out with enough guy friends, I can give a look and they come save me,” said Kayla Brown, 22-year-old senior political science major.
Friends don’t always have to come to the rescue. If they simply distract your pursuer for a moment, they can diffuse an awkward tension.
“Get friends to talk to the guy,” Gaisbauer said. “They can get his attention off of you.”
4. Think for a second: Do you really have to say no?
Not all students believe that a “creeper” in question needs to be turned town. If a person looks nice, seems decent, and isn’t very creepy, it may be worth the time to accept that drink. Just think about what it takes to ask a stranger if you can buy them a drink. Instead of a creeper, he might be a good guy.
“I think if a guy follows the proper protocol which is starting a conversation getting to know a person then asking for a number, it’s polite,” Cross said. “I applaud the guys who tactfully ask for a number and follow through.”
If that guy does follow through, and there’s a spark, it could leave to something more. That’s what many single students want, isn’t it?
“We’re always looking for that guy who is tactful, who is conscientious, to be romantic. That’s what you want in a relationship,” Leonard said.“Somebody ask somebody out.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana Faria at Ana.firstname.lastname@example.org.