7 Mistakes Women Make When Breaking Up With A Guy — And What To Do Instead

Instead of agonizing over what to do or say, follow these steps to let him down easy.

woman looking at man while breaking up in outdoor cafe nikodash / shutterstock.com

One of the hardest parts of dating is telling a guy who is asking you out again that you don’t like him.

You’re clear that the two of you are not a match, and you don’t want to come across as mean or cruel. How do you tell a guy you don’t like him without hurting his feelings?

Mastering uncomfortable conversations is one of the skills you’ll need to develop for a loving partnership to last.


Ideally, you’ll practice the skills of communication with people you’re dating (and not invested in long-term) allowing you to become proficient at the uncomfortable conversations without too much at stake. 

In addition to watching your heart karma, you’ll be a better person when you know how to tell a guy you don’t like him in a respectful way. Plus, since every person knows people you haven’t met yet — telling someone you don’t like them in a way that isn’t off-putting leaves the opportunity that they may know an ideal match for you.

Before we share the perfect script for telling a guy you don’t like him, first, let’s get clear on what to avoid in this situation.


We promise that you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes.

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The seven biggest mistakes women make when breaking up with men 

1. Putting the blame on him

The first mistake in telling a guy you don’t like him is to make it all about him. Blaming him and bringing up behaviors of his you don’t care for is unkind and immature. Sure, he may not be your cup of tea but telling him why and how he isn’t the one for you isn’t the kindest course of action. If you find that you are saying “You ___(fill in the blank)___” a lot, and explaining all the reasons he is wrong for you, it’s imperative to rethink your strategy.


You’d like someone to be kind and respectful if you are on the receiving end, so treat him the way you’d like to be treated in this situation and take responsibility for your decision. It’s you that has a problem with him, so ultimately it’s your problem.

2. Picking a fight with him

It’s unacceptable to look for some little thing he does that annoys you to blow up and use as a way to introduce the idea of never seeing him again. Trust us, you won’t feel good about it (and neither will he).

If you want to know how to tell a guy you don’t like him without being mean or cruel, don’t take this passive/aggressive approach to end it. Besides, if you could really pull this off, you’d have starred in several movies or on Broadway by now.

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3. Letting the relationship drag on

Many people fear moving on concerned that they won’t find anyone else. Realizing you don’t want to be with someone any longer doesn’t make you a bad person. But letting things just drag on because you don’t know how to end it, or don’t want to be alone again is not doing either of you any favors.

You may be afraid that being single is going to be worse than the relationship you’re in. The truth is you’re only delaying your happiness and making the two of you miserable. It’s better to rip off the band-aid and focus on healing your heart so that you can be prepared to meet your soulmate.

How to tell a guy you don’t like him without being mean or cruel? Don’t avoid the situation and hope that it will resolve itself without you doing anything.

4. Ghosting him

You may think that ghosting him is the easiest and most comfortable option available to you. But ghosting can leave a lasting mark on the recipient. He’ll question what he did wrong, eating away at his confidence. He may even worry that something happened to you and spend hours trying to find out if you are okay.


A person who ghosts is immature, selfish, and insensitive – so you don’t want to be this person. Besides, you’ll feel terrible about yourself knowing that you took a cowardly way out of the situation. You’re also setting yourself up for bad karma points when it comes to lasting love.

How to tell a guy you don’t like him without being mean or cruel? Tell him respectfully in person, instead of just disappearing and hoping he forgets about you quickly.

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5. Doing it via text message

Texting a break-up message is only one tiny step up from ghosting. Let’s face it, sending a text message to end things is about as cold as you can get. It leaves him with no sense of closure and no ability to have a conversation with you about it. Yes, breaking up with someone can leave you feeling anxious, but that anxiety is not going to harm you, nor will it last very long. And facing it will leave you feeling stronger and more confident.


There is only one exception to this rule: If he is abusive or you have a fear for your safety because of how he may react, then sending a text is probably your best bet.

6. Offering friendship as a consolation prize

Offering friendship may seem like the kindest thing you can do, but it’s going to backfire on you. Because he does like you and doesn’t want things to end, he’ll be willing to agree and settle for your friendship. All the while, biding his time waiting, hoping, and praying for you to change your mind.

Ask yourself, in the future when you are with your soulmate are you going to call this guy up and see if he wants to see a movie with the two of you or join you for dinner? That is what you would do with a friend. (Insert emphatic “No way!” right here.) If you’re over 35 you didn’t start dating him to add to your friendship collection – so don’t offer him a consolation prize.

You can certainly respond in a friendly way if you bump into him in the future, but he’s not going to be your new pal. It’s better if he knows there is no hope of things continuing so that he can get on with healing his heart.


How to tell someone you don’t like them without being mean or cruel? Don’t offer friendship as a consolation prize. You’re only doing it to assuage your own guilt, so it’s not a sincere offer.

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7. Letting him negotiate to stay together

Allowing him to twist into a pretzel to earn your love and affection is cruel. Perhaps you do like him somewhat but want him to change. He may like you enough to promise anything to stay together. If you allow him to dig into the details of what is wrong, you’ll open the door to negotiate to stay together. Then you’re just going to regret the time you’ve wasted allowing the relationship to drag on.

If you can’t accept him as he is, then he is not the man for you. And if he’s twisting into a pretzel in order to get you to stay, then he’s going to end up feeling angry and resentful towards you.


You want to know how to tell a guy you don’t like him without being mean or cruel, right? It’s heartless to abdicate your responsibility in making a choice to end the relationship. Instead, follow these steps to tell someone you don’t like them in a respectful way that empowers both of you to move on.

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Through the dating process, it’s expected that you’ll discover some people are not a match for you.

Telling a guy you don’t like him is a deselection process. You’re not rejecting him as a human being, you’re simply deselecting him as a contender.

It really isn’t about him. It’s about you and what you want in your life, what you know will bring you happiness. He’s not wrong or bad, just wrong for you. Taking this into account when you are ready to move on will help you from feeling guilty.


Just as you would like to share your life with someone who is crazy about you, the guy you’re deselecting deserves to be with someone who is crazy about him.

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Four tips for respectfully breaking up with someone 

1. Do it in person

Agree to meet him for your scheduled date, and instead of going out, invite him inside and use the breakup script (at the end of this article). Do not go on a date with him and then at the end of an evening together deselect him. If you don’t have a scheduled date, you can set it up the next time he reaches out to you.

A second-choice option (if you are unable to meet in person) is to do it over the phone. Never deliver this script via text message, nor any other text communication like chat or email.


How to tell a guy you don’t like him? Do it in person and at the beginning of a date, not after he’s taken you out again.

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2. Use only “I” language

Choosing to break up with someone ultimately isn’t about them. It’s about you and what you want from life. Own that. Be sure to speak about what you want, what you like, what you need, etc. There is no need to go over where he falls short, or any issues you may have with him.

How to tell a guy you don’t like him? Talk about your experience and your needs and avoid placing blame on him.

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3. Don’t try to control or mitigate his reaction

He has a right to his feelings. How he responds to you informs you of who is. You only have control over your words and actions, and as long as you are respectful do not take responsibility for how he responds or reacts to your decision.

Open your heart to compassion and empathy for him because it’s likely that he is not ready for the relationship to end. Offering friendship or indicating that your feelings could change in the future won’t make the breakup easier for him.

How to tell someone you don’t like them? Speak your truth with kindness and compassion and don’t try to control their reaction or make it better for them.


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4. Speak kindly and with compassion

Here is the perfect script for telling someone you don’t like them that allows you to take responsibility for your decision with kindness and respect. It is brief and to the point for a reason. Getting into a lengthy discussion about why you feel this way or allowing him to negotiate with you is just going to make things more difficult and waste his time and yours.

Take a moment, ground yourself, and speak from your heart.

“I know the kind of relationship I am looking for and it is clear to me that we are not a match. I know that your ideal match is out there, and I wish you the best of luck in your search for love.”


Dating like a grown-up means you can treat someone respectfully and end the relationship without any drama. You must mean the words you’re saying and wish him luck from your whole heart.

There is no need to elaborate further. If pressed with questions, you can rest assured this is further proof this person is not a good match for you. There is nothing more that needs to be said.

Telling someone that you don’t like them, and that you want to move on doesn’t have to be full of drama. You don’t want to feel like you’re a bad person for ending the relationship because the truth is, he is not your person. You both deserve to be in a relationship with someone who reciprocates your feelings and who really gets you.

Instead of agonizing over your decision and delaying the inevitable, speak kindly and compassionately and then move on with your life. It may sound insensitive, but not being honest or upfront with someone is treating them without respect.


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Orna and Matthew Walters are Soulmate Coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s "The Millionaire Matchmaker." They're the authors of the free ebook, "7 Steps To Soulmating," which can be found on their website