How to Friendzone Someone

Want to know how to friendzone someone in a way most likely to limit volatility and drama? If so, keep reading.

The key to a drama-free friendzoning is doing everything you can to avoid insulting or embarrassing the other person. It’s also key to do it as soon as necessary, so the other person can’t accuse you of ever leading them on. 

Read on for a list of tips to help ensure that you can friendzone someone without them getting too upset. 

15 Tips to Friendzone Someone Without Upsetting Them

The more of these tips you follow, the more likely you’ll be able to persuade someone to actually accept your friendship request without getting too upset. 

1. Don’t Delay It

It can be tempting to encourage this person’s attempts at flirting because it makes you feel good. Perhaps you have previously been ignoring them and hoping this person gets the hint. The problem is: these behaviors usually do nothing but encourage this person to flirt even more intensely, until it’s impossible to ignore any more.

Now, because you delayed the ‘just friends’ talk for so long, this person might accuse you of leading them on. This is something that really upsets men and women. It’s best to avoid these accusations by setting them straight as soon as you’re aware you don’t want to date this person. The mild discomfort of friendzoning someone now helps you to avoid serious drama later on.   

2. Do It in Private

Yes, it’s important to friendzone this person as soon as possible, but give them the dignity of doing it in a private conversation. If you have the conversation in front of several people, you risk embarrassing this person. That’s something else that can really upset them. You’ll notice a lot of the tips in this guide are methods to limit the embarrassment for the other person. 

If you’re worried about this person’s reaction, you can bring one friend to accompany you, but there’s no reason it should be any more than this. 

3. Be Clear

To avoid an uncomfortable confrontation, some people might prefer to subtly hint at their lack of interest. Maybe you’ve called this person “bro” or bragged about the other people you have a crush, hoping they’d get the hint.  

The problem is: a lot of people don’t get the hint! Men are particularly useless at reading women’s social cues. So, you’re better off spelling it out that you only want to be friends, otherwise you could end up being accused of leading them on. 

4. It’s Not Them, It’s You 

If you’re not attracted to this person, it’s usually because of something they’re lacking. However, it will do you no favors to tell them that. You’re better off focusing on the fact that it’s you not experiencing any romantic feelings. If they ask why, tell them you’re not sure. 

5. Show Gratitude

There’s a powerful piece of advice about giving criticism called The Feedback Sandwich circulating in the business world. This essentially tells you to surround any criticism you give with two compliments, one before and one after the feedback. 

So, before you tell someone you don’t feel that way about them, you could thank them for the interest they’ve shown you. Afterwards, you could say that you’d love to stay friends. This helps to soften the blow of the romantic rejection.  

6. Apologize For Leading Them On

This is another common piece of advice from the corporate world: apologize even if it’s completely their fault.

A boss might say: “I’m sorry if I didn’t explain it properly before, but I really need the document written in third person.” 

You might say: “I’m sorry if I maybe led you on, but I really don’t see us being anything more than friends.”  

7. Be Vague and Don’t Criticize Them

There’s no need to explain too much about what you’re feeling or why this person isn’t considered relationship material. If you mention their flaws, you’re most likely only going to upset them and cause an argument, where they deny your accusations or promise that they can change.  

8. Offer to Help them get with Someone Else

Yes, it’s a consolation prize, but this makes it clear that you’re not interested in dating them. It also gives them a reason to accept your friendship.

9. Mention Other Benefits of Your Friendship

If you’re having a huge party soon, invite them. If there’s some other event you can invite them to, go ahead and do it. 

10. Don’t Call Them a “Brother” or “Sister”

It’s always meant as a compliment when someone says “you’re like a brother to me”, but it’s rarely taken that way. In reality, it only serves to rub salt in their wounds. 

11. Don’t Give Them Hope for The Future

Don’t suggest there might be a chance for this person to date you in the future, if that’s not the case. This only serves to keep their hopes up, ask you out again, then get really angry at you for leading them on.  

12. Don’t Accept Any Volatility

Due to the pain and embarrassment of being rejected by their crush, some people react to being friendzoned with great volatility. (The tips in this guide will seriously reduce the odds of that happening, so don’t panic).

Still, if this does happen, do not accept it. Say: “if you’re going to talk to me like that, I don’t want to be friends either”. Then, you can decide whether to forgive them based on their reaction.   

13. Give Them Space

After you’ve friendzoned someone, give them the necessary space to recover from this hammer blow. They’ll talk to you again once they’re ready. 

14. Don’t Offer Friendship If You Don’t Want That

If this person is actually a creep who you never want to see again, don’t tell them you want to be just friends. This will only serve to create more problems further down the line when they try to hang out with you again. 

15. Call It Out If He Hits On You Again

Sometimes, this person will feel inspired to shoot their shot again, even if you’ve been tremendously clear about your lack of romantic desire. If they do, don’t hesitate to call it out. You can say “I told you, I only wanted to be friends.”

You don’t need to give them the comfort of a private conversation the second time around. 

Bonus Tip: Make Them Read ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’

This is going the extra mile and it goes against some of the previous advice in this article, mainly tips 4 and 7.

However, it’s true that ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ by Dr. Robert Glover addresses and suggests alternatives to the most common behaviors that lead to men being friendzoned. So, if you’re a woman and you want to be a really good friend to a man, find a way to make him read this book. Maybe you could buy it on Amazon and mail it to him anonymously. 

Final Thoughts

It’s never comfortable having to friendzone someone. In an ideal world, men and women would magically know if we were attracted to them or not. 

Sadly, this isn’t the world we live in, and it’s likely one of your friends will get their wires crossed at some point.

Still, with this guide at your disposal, you should be able to get through this conversation as painlessly as possible.