sex & relationships

A guide to losing a guy: how to turn down unwanted advances

I’m no Andie Anderson, and this isn’t the cute story of how you can do little things that drive away a guy without you intending for it to happen – and then you wind up with the guy you were meant to be with after all. It’s probably because Kate Hudson has no idea about my life, and there’s no script written yet. However, I have some ideas about what you can do to get rid of a guy – on purpose. Guys whose attention you aren’t encouraging.

It sounds controversial, but it’s important to know how you can avoid attention that you don’t want, just like the woman above might not have been aware she’d attracted the attention of this tweeter. As of late there are plenty of campaigns for social awareness of street harassment of women. It doesn’t restrict itself to cat-calls on your way to work or university, as you can encounter it at your destination: customers or co-workers who think it’s okay to call you sweetie, or peers who stare at you as you walk by, or pay more attention to your figure than your seminar presentation.

Cut the approach short

A sad fact of life is that men seem to always respect any excuse more than the truth: that you’re not interested. This is true since the 1920’s when Anti-Flirt Clubs in America publicised rules that would help you avoid offending behaviour. So it’s no surprise that popular verbal reflexes to any unwelcome come-ons have established themselves like “I am waiting for my date” or “I have a boyfriend”. Sometimes accompanied with a sorry, as if it were your fault, but it seems to help make the message more receptive. Or try invoking a different special guy in your life. Yes, Jesus can deter a guy, latest when you tell him that you need to leave room for Jesus when he’s coming in for a hug or a kiss.

Honesty can work, but the risk you can run is that you start antagonising the guy. While it’s important to know how you can avoid attention you’re not keen on, it’s more important to stay safe. So be careful, and gauge how tactful you must be in the respective situation you’re trying to get across that you’re not interested in the attention.

When the guy you’re not interested in has your number and is texting you unwelcome messages, humour can seem like a good idea to show that you have only pal-like feelings, but unfortunately it can come across differently. Sarcasm, or being flipant, doesn’t translate into writing so well, so in this case, brash honesty works, and as a last resort, blocking their number. Changing it is an idea as well, but make sure that your number isn’t connected to social media apps, where it could possibly be updated to give them your new number again.

Give visual cues

Body language can say it all when it’s too loud for actual words of discouragement, or you aren’t comfortable talking to them because you’d like to head them off before they even open their mouth, or you’re afraid saying anything could make the situation worse. But you could also follow your interests that aren’t so inviting – the below tweeter suggests that using the Google Glass is an excellent way for people to drop any interest in you.

Additional perks include being able to tape people – with their permission – while they’re continuing unsolicited flirtation, and blasting them on social media. Jokes aside, my high school chemistry teacher suggested to our class that girls who pretend to have body tics can seem less attractive, and thus avoid being cat-called on the street. Again, gauge how far you think you need to go, because it’s situation-dependent.

When it comes to my personal experience with guys where I don’t want to interact with them for whatever reason, I prefer honesty. Telling them that I have body autonomy and would rather not hug them is no hypocrisy when the next minute a bloke walks up and I hug him instead. It’s my choice. I have found that guys who aren’t genuinely interested in me as a person are very much dissuaded from pursuing their physical agenda by strong female opinions.

When you already know each other

It’s hardest when you’re already friends with the guy and he’s gotten the wrong idea. This is the friendzone situation – a dilemma people try to avoid because it can potentially destroy friendships. Of course you hope that being pals overrides the disappointment of not returning romantic feelings, but it’s important that you make clear how you really think about the guy. When he’s revealed his crush on you, don’t draw clear boundaries which you then disregard, such as saying you shouldn’t get physically close but then have tickle fights. I know going with the moment is fun, but it’s also confusing – it’s like your doctor saying you shouldn’t have sweet things but then he hands out gummy bears!

If it’s an ex-boyfriend that you’ve moved on from, I would say it’s the toughest situation to lose the guy. Previous feelings mean that there’s always that connection between you, and if he maintains that you still have something, memories from when you had good times will urge you to think about that. Maybe he will urge you to think about that! Standing firm is the best option, and getting your girls to back you up on this is a good idea. You and he aren’t together for a reason, remind yourself of that. Be gentle, but resolute. You know heartbreak isn’t easy, but they should know you aren’t easy either.


If you missed last week’s guide, you can find Kayley Gilbert’s guide to sexting here.