Help wanted: advice needed

Nora Smith, Opinions Editor

Hey, can you listen for a second? I need some advice.

I’m afraid of rejection. More than just the fear of being rejected — I’m afraid of rejecting others. I tend to be a people-pleaser, so when a guy tries to become a little more than friends, I have trouble letting him know I’m not interested. I need advice on rejecting guys. I don’t know how to do it.

My friend told me about this guy who texts her nonstop. He hasn’t made any huge move that suggests dating or anything bold like that. But when they talk, he gets pretty flirty. She wants to be friends, so she responds politely, replying to texts sparingly enough and talking to him when they cross paths — even starting up conversation once in awhile. But, the strictly “friend” dialogue somehow seems to be leading him on.

Like my friend, I’m finding out that it’s impossible to avoid rejecting guys. Sometimes I just don’t like someone back for one reason or another. But I find myself accidentally leading guys on when I don’t have any romantic interest.

People-pleasers need to learn how to cut off a relationship.

Let’s start with the timing. How am I supposed to know when a friendship has started to become something more? Waiting until he actually asks me out would mean leading him on. If I don’t feel the same way, I have to reject a guy once he starts obviously flirting.

So, now the execution. Once I realize that I don’t like this guy, how should I reject him? I can’t be too harsh, because I don’t want to seem inconsiderate, and I also don’t want him to resent me.

I have to be upfront and honest about my feelings. I want to take into consideration his feelings, to make him feel validated. Once I do that, I think I can reject someone.

Thanks for listening and letting me talk that one out. Now I won’t have to cling to that constant people-pleaser persona which has put me into awkward situations I didn’t want to be in.  

You’re the best.