One of the most awkward things ever is when one of your friends develops a crush on you… but you just don’t like them back like that. You genuinely like them, but only as a friend – and you have no idea what to do about the situation, because you don’t want this person to hate you forever! It’s so uncomfortable and it’s enough to make anyone feel totally stressed out.

It is possible to reject a friend without alienating him forever! Want to learn how? here are the tips on how to reject a friend (nicely)

Be Honest – No Lies, Excuses or Cliches

When it comes to rejection, the easiest thing to do is ignore the other person until they get the hint – but the best, and nicest, thing to do is to be completely honest with them. It’s hard, but think about it: how would YOU rather be rejected? Personally, I would rather be rejected by someone with enough respect for me to tell it to me straight. And if you want to keep your friendship intact, this is your only choice. Don’t make up a lie like, “I’m interested in someone else,” (if you’re not), “I don’t want a relationship right now” (if you really do), or “Maybe down the road” (false hope is not nice). And try to avoid cliches, like “Our friendship just means too much to me to date you.” That doesn’t come off as genuine – it just comes off as lame. Just say, “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.”

Related Article: 10 Things You Need To Know Before You Start Dating

Stress How Much The Friendship Means To You

Instead of saying, “Our friendship means too much to me to date,” say something like, “I’m not interested in dating you, but I do love being your friend.” It’s much more honest. It may not be what he wants to hear, but you still should stress how much his friendship means by letting him know you don’t want to lose it. Say, “I know it may be awkward, but I would really love to stay friends.”

Compliment Him To Soften The Blow

Rejections are hard, and no one really wants to hear, “You’re great, but I just don’t like you that way.” But I think it’s still important to throw a few compliments in there. Stress the friendship by saying something like, “You’re a really great friend, I just can’t see us dating.” Don’t go too heavy on the compliments, because it will end up sounding weird.

Don’t Start Avoiding Him

Once you reject him, things are most likely going to be a little awkward. But if you want to stay friends with this guy, you have to try not to act awkward around him. That means don’t avoid him or ignore him just because you feel weird. When I rejected my friend, I avoided him for a little bit because I felt so guilty… until he came up to me asking why I was doing that. Avoiding him will alienate him. Don’t act like nothing happened and everything’s fine, but don’t ignore him either.

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Try Not To Discuss It Too Much With Mutual Friends

You can talk about the situation with your close friends, but don’t gossip about it with mutual friends the two of you have. If you were rejected, would you want everyone to know about it? Probably not. Talk about it only with close, trusted friends, and let everyone else figure things out on their own.

Don’t Flaunt Other Guys In His Face Right Away

You can, of course, date other guys or flirt with other guys. But in the beginning, try not to do it so obviously right in front of the friend you just rejected. It’s going to make him feel really crappy. You don’t have to keep this up forever – just do it for a little while. I’m not saying you should try to actively hide your other activities, but I wouldn’t flirt with other guys while hanging out with him, you know?

Don’t Expect Things To Go Back To Normal Right Away

Even if you do all of this stuff, things still might not go back to the way they were for a long time. Sometimes, it takes people a while to move on and feel good enough about the situation to be able to go back to being friends with the person who rejected them. Try not to get frustrated with this guy, and give him the time he needs to recover. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the friendship will be ruined. It’s sad, but at least you can know you were being honest