No. Don’t even think this is about friendzoning someone. Yes, we’re aware of how popular the term has gotten, but it comes with a negative connotation. Especially for someone that's just about to be turned down. They could be your best friend who’s suddenly started developing feelings for you—would you really toy with their emotions by putting them in a zone? Don’t be so ‘cool’ that you forget to be kind.
Here are subtle ways to turn down someone who has feelings for you and you just don't happen to be on the same page as them.
- Make things platonic
- Discuss your goals and plans
- Don’t be too available
- Show interest in someone else
- Distract them elsewhere
Make things platonic
This is the first and foremost rule to follow—to make things platonic between the two of you. You may have bonded on the deepest levels but if it's heading in the wrong direction then it's time to cut back a little. Lay low on the things that you do with them exclusively, and hang out only in groups for a while, with mutual friends around, to avoid any awkward encounters. This would eliminate chances of any wrong signals being sent out.
Discuss your goals and plans
Now, of course you can't absolutely go cold turkey on them (especially if they've been around in your life for long), so this is where you communicate. Speak about your future plans; your career, if it's headed in a different direction and you'd like to concentrate on your goals, or about your past; if you've had a bad breakup and are emotionally unavailable RN. Doesn't have to be abrupt, you can always find subtle ways to slide it in a conversation.
Don’t be too available
You were each other's go-to for all things big and small. But look where it's ended up—into one of you thinking there's more to it than just friendship.Time to cut back, boy-O! Can't lead them on. Don't make yourself too available over the phone or in person.You'd risk them becoming emotionally dependent on you. It's okay to reply to texts a little late and occasionally forgetting to drop in one at all—it wouldn't be the end of the world.
Show interest in someone else
Just because they have a crush on you, you're not obligated to not have one on someone else. You're already being polite and making efforts to not upset them—but that is it. You don't owe them anything. You're just not inclined towards them that way (not something you can control). So live your life and pursue whoever you want. If they're mature enough to take it well, then good. Else, you never did anything wrong. So don't beat yourself up!
Distract them elsewhere
Lastly, when you can't avoid, learn to distract. See any deep conversations arising? Bring up something random to distract them. Think their feelings are starting to get deeper? Distract that energy into something more productive, like a game or hobby. Alas, if all else fails, and a person is who they seek, distract them with another being. Nothing would push them back quite like watching you be all high spirited about them pursuing someone else. Win!
Image Credits: Stocksy, The Odyssey Online, Fan pop, Stories of World, E! Online