We’ve all been there. That super awkward moment when you’re best guy friend tells you he loves you. Or when you realize you just don’t love your boyfriend anymore. Or even just some guy you had dinner with has texted you 5 million times and just won’t get the clue. It’s always awkward and always no fun. Here are the rules for rejecting a guy respectfully because we know girls like you need a smooth exit strategy.

do
Do break up over text if you’ve been dating for less than a couple of months. You’re bruising his ego and it might be easier for him to handle that while the girl he’s into isn’t right in front of him.

dont
Don’t assume ignoring someone will do the trick and they’ll get the message. People need closure. If you just never answer you leave some poor guy in limbo. He’ll start making up excuses about why you were so busy you never answered his messages and can’t properly move on. Even if it’s hard, being up front now is better for everyone else in the long run.

do
Do be compassionate. Ask yourself how you would feel if a guy said or did to your best friend whatever you’re about to do the dude who’s into you. If your friend received that text message would you think “well at least he was nice about it” or would you think “that guy is slime.” Then act accordingly.

dont
Don’t keep talking to him but never commit to meeting up, hoping he’ll get that you’re just not that into him. If you put yourself in his position and a guy kept stringing you along like that, you’d feel pretty bad about it. Even if it feels like the easy way out you’re not helping anyone by doing this.

do
Do break up with a boyfriend on neutral territory. He probably doesn’t want that memory in his living room, and you’ll have all the power if you do it in your house. Meet him somewhere outside, like in a park.

dont
Don’t do it in a busy place like a Starbucks. I did this once and it was a big mistake. I was crying, he was super upset, and in the middle of the break up my principle came and sat down next to me and started discussing our student council meeting. Awkward.

giphy-2

do
Do be honest. Telling the truth can go a long way. But this doesn’t mean you have to bluntly say “I don’t like you because you smell (or something like that),” and hurt his feelings. Speak from more of a “it’s me not you” perspective.

dont
Don’t use a line. Everyone knows “I’m just really busy with work right now” is probably not true.

do
Do offer to be friends.

dont
Don’t expect to be BFF’s right away. It might be easier for you than him at first, so give him space.

do
Do be kind and take a moment to listen. If you’ve hurt his feelings he might want to tell you that. While your under no obligation to go out with someone you should also realize you might be breaking their heart a little.

dont
Don’t let him insult you or get angry with you. There’s a big difference between being upset and having a hurt ego, and trying to hurt you back. If he does this just say “I think we both need to take a minute,” and exit the conversation.

do
Do ignore him if he keeps texting you after the initial rejection. Unless he is doing so with the intention of actually being friends, don’t confuse him with answering anything flirty.

dont
Don’t lead him on. Maybe you think you’ve said your piece and he knows what he’s getting himself into, or maybe you just like the attention, but either way it’s not nice behaviour on your part if you do this.

do
Do keep it on the down low if one of your friends asks you out. No reason to tell all of your friend group, he might get embarrassed.

dont
Don’t make a dumb vague status or instagram post about it. You know the posts I’m talking about. Don’t do it.

do
Do be frank with someone who is overly persistent. Try telling them that their behaviour is annoying and is upsetting you and ask him to stop. Be specific, tell him exactly what he needs to change for you to stay friends with him.

dont
Don’t be afraid to tell someone like a friend or parent if some dude really is bothering you after you’ve said you’re not into him. His behaviour isn’t ok and someone else might need to get involved.