How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

When you need to let omeone know you don’t want to be friend with them, how do you do thi? The anwer depend in part on whether you are bet friend or regular friend.If you don’t know the peron


  • Steps
  • Advice
  • Warning

When you need to let someone know you don’t want to be friends with them, how do you do this? The answer depends in part on whether you are best friends or regular friends.If you don’t know the person well, you may end up abruptly or slowly. If the person is your best friend, talk to them directly.


Method 1 of 2: End Friendship

Plan to meet. You can send the person a text or email asking to meet them in a neutral location. If you live in the same city, this is the best way to talk about ending the friendship.

  • When the person asks you what you want to say, just respond with a vague statement. For example, you could say, “I just wanted to share some of the recent decisions with you”. If your friend continues to plead, remind him that you want to talk to them face to face.
  • If the person lives in another city, you can send an email or text about setting a specific time to chat on the phone. Of course, having a face-to-face conversation would be better, but if the two don’t live close to each other, this choice won’t be suitable.
  • You need to be careful because the words written are easily misunderstood. This is also why talking directly to the other person is the best, albeit difficult, way.

Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, get enough rest, and do everything you enjoy. Treat yourself with kindness and empathy, and remember that ending a friendship can cause you some grief.

  • Focusing on the positive parts of your life – everything you love about your current life – will help you stop feeling sad about losing your friendship.
  • If you find yourself having negative thoughts, try to turn them into more positive thoughts.


Method 2 of 2: End a regular friendship

Use a “gradual avoidance” approach. Slowly reducing your encounter with the person can happen naturally, or you will need to take the following steps. This is a great way to let others know that you don’t want to befriend them without having to explain in words.

  • This method is great for casual friends you don’t know well.
  • If the person is your new friend, this might not be the end of the friendship, but it simply makes it clear that you will never be able to become friends.
  • It may take longer for you to end the friendship this way.

Decline the opponent’s invitation. One way you can start minimizing contact with the person is to decline an invitation to do activity with them. From time to time, you will need to resort to a harmless lie in order to refuse.

  • For example, if the person invites you to a movie on a weekend, you might reply with something like, “Sounds great, but I have a lot of work to do this weekend so I won’t be able to go.”

Use excuses to avoid having to talk. Perhaps you will come across someone you are trying to avoid in person, so you need to know how to deal with a situation like this. Ignoring the person can be painful and awkward, so you should instead excuse yourself for not being able to stay.

  • For example, you can politely greet the person and say something like “Sorry, I can’t stay for a chat. I’m running late. See you another time! “
  • Try to be as polite and considerate as possible. Even if you don’t want to be friends with the person, you won’t be able to tell when you’ll see them again, and maintaining politeness will minimize the awkwardness of you two accidentally meeting again.

Use a more proactive approach to ending your friendship. If the polite and gradual end of the friendship doesn’t work, you can make it clear directly to the person that you don’t want to be friends. You could say, “You are a great person, but we are very different. I really want you to meet a lot of good things, but I think we should stop meeting ”.

  • Avoid using a strategy called “distinct negative”. Non-isolation is when you suddenly cut off all contact with the person. For example, you might need to ignore their messages and emails, stop calling them back, and unfriend them on social media. This can be painful, angry, and anxious about your health, so it is not ideal.


Letting someone down with tact and honesty is key.

As clichГ©d as it may sound, sometimes you meet someone and know right away you’re better off as “just friends.” While it might seem daunting at first, letting someone know that you think you’d be better off as pals is actually super mature. It means you knew yourself well enough to recognize that the good energy, convos that flowed easily, and shared taste in music would be a perfect foundation for a platonic relationship — but not a romantic one. Good for you! Now the next step is figuring out how to tell someone you just want to be friends.

When it comes to rejection texts to send if you want to be friends, you’ve got to strike the right balance. You’ll want to be straight-up (so there’s no room for confusion) and civil enough to leave the door open for friendship. As dating coach Erika Ettin previously told Elite Daily, “The two keys are tact and honesty when letting someone down. While someone might be disappointed that you don’t want to go out again, [they] can’t really be angry at you for feeling, or not feeling, how you do.”

If you’re not sure how to tell someone you want to be friends through text, then here are some messages you can use to reject someone gently after the first date — while still sparking a potential friendship.

For starters, you can send the other person a text that simply touches on the fact that you’d rather just be friends. Make sure you can acknowledge you did have a good time and you’d like to have more good times with them in the future — but you want to do that as friends, not lovers. By mentioning that the connection you felt wasn’t romantic, you can strike up a convo about your platonic chemistry.

  • Hi! I had fun last night, but I don’t think we have romantic chemistry. I’d still like to be friends, though.
  • Hey, just wanted to follow up about our date. I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel a romantic connection. I am interested in a friendship with you, though.
  • Last night was great, but I’m not interested in you romantically. However, I do want to keep hanging out with you, because I really do want to be your friend.
  • I’m flattered and happy you had a good time last night, but I’m not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you. That said, I’d definitely like to be your friend.
  • I’m going to be honest: I didn’t feel a spark during our date. I could totally see us hanging as friends, though, if that’s something you’re into.

If you’re not comfortable with a text so short, you can give them more context to why your date lacked chemistry (though remember you don’t actually owe them anything). However, you should tread carefully. As psychiatrist Dr. Susan Edelman previously told Elite Daily, “We all know rejection is part of the game, but self-esteem and confidence shouldn’t take a hard hit when you turn someone down.” When giving reasons why you’re better off as friends, you should not go in on them, but you can be honest — especially if there’s a specific reason your date lacked chemistry or compatibility that you picked up on.

  • Hey! I’ve thought about our date a lot and I think we’d be better off as friends for [reason].
  • Thank you for following up on the date. I had a lot of fun, but I’m not interested in continuing our relationship in the romantic sense because [reason]. I hope you understand. Do you still want to be friends?
  • While we were on our date, I got the sense that we might work better as friends because [reason]. Would you be open to giving that a shot?
  • As much fun as I had with you on our date, I felt more of a friendship vibe with you for [reason]. What would you think of hanging out as friends?
  • Last night was a blast, but because [reason], I think we should try hanging out just as friends next time.

Lastly, you can take a sweet approach. “If you can include some kind of compliment, it can soften the blow,” Dr. Edelman previously told Elite Daily. You don’t have to give the other person an explanation, and you absolutely don’t have to make up a nice trait about the other person if you’re not feeling it. That being said, if there is something you like about them that makes you still want to be their friend? It wouldn’t hurt to put that in your text.

In a sense, including what you like about them can confirm for them that yes, you did hit it off — just platonically. It can also remind them that there’s nothing wrong with them, but you two are just not romantically compatible.

  • I think that you’re a [complimentary adjective] person that I like for [reasons]. That being said, I just didn’t feel any romantic chemistry between us, so I think we’re better off as friends. Are you open to that?
  • I loved bonding with you over [subject] last night, but I feel like we may be better off as just friends. Would you be down to do [activity] sometime?
  • It’s so amazing to find someone who loves [subject] as much as I do. To be totally honest, I didn’t feel a spark last night, but I really love to keep hanging as friends.
  • It’s clear from our date that you’re a [complimentary adjective] person, and I really admire that. While I wasn’t totally feeling a romantic vibe, I think we could make really great friends.
  • Even though I didn’t feel a romantic connection between us on our date, I loved how [complimentary adjective] you are, and I’d love to see you again as friends. Would you be open to that?

The biggest thing to keep in mind when crafting this text is say what you’d want to hear if you were on the receiving end of it. “Ideally, you want to treat others the way you want to be treated,” Dr. Edelman said. “It’s one way we can all make the world a better place.” Trying to figure out how to tell a guy you just want to be friends can be tough, but as long as you do it with tact and honesty, then you can’t go wrong.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

Whether it’s someone new that you’d like to start a friendship with or someone who’s been in your circle for a long time, sometimes it’s easy to miss the signs someone doesn’t want to be your friend.

Friendships are such a good thing because they’re a whole support system that you would do anything for and who would do anything for you. Friends are also a chance to escape from your reality and have fun once in a while.

Unfortunately, not all friendships last forever.

Are there are some friends that have been making you reconsider that friendship status?

If you want these mind games to end, here are the signs someone doesn’t want to be your friend.

They might not outright say anything, but some of their actions seem to talk for them.

1. They don’t reply to your messages.

You probably have sent many texts asking what your friend is doing and seeing if they want to hang out. Or maybe just sending them a text about something weird that happened to you earlier, just something to start a conversation with.

But there never is a response from their end, or if there is there isn’t much emotion behind the emojis they send. And bringing it up with them in person, they just brush it off that they were tired and couldn’t respond.

2. They cancel plans rapidly.

Finally, you and your friends are going to hang out later this week, and you couldn’t be more excited. But the day before the big hangout, some of them cancel out, which isn’t a surprise.

Plans in the past have been rescheduled but it never leaves that stage. And they always seem to come up with excuses that start to become recycled.

3. You have to reach out first.

When things happen in your friend’s life, you always show your support and offer a lending shoulder. But when it comes to things in your life where friends are important for support, they conveniently are M.I.A.

Or maybe when plans aren’t going to be canceled, you are the one that’s reaching out and making sure they know the latest information. And when they are in charge, you still are the one reaching out first to ask about updates.

4. Their answers are short.

Conversations seem to not go on forever when you’re with your friend. When you talk they are sometimes looking off in the distance and when it’s time for them to engage in the conversation they just respond with two worded sentences or sentences that don’t keep the conversation going.

Kind of like if someone was upset and they don’t want to bother giving the person a reason to stick around longer than they need to. Or kind of like making sure you don’t want to bother starting up a conversation again.

5. They always seem to be busy.

You always drop everything for your friend when they need help, and they appreciate it. But they always are tied up when it’s your turn.

Being busy is part of the human life, and making someone stop what they’re doing when it’s something that didn’t need attention right away is cruel. Yet they never return the favor and come up with excuses that make you think you’re not as important to them as they are to you.

6. You put in more effort then they do.

Has there been a time where you are the only one bringing the energy? And your friend is not reciprocating that energy you’re giving off and totally brings down the mood?

You gotta get away before your energy drains completely. Because why should the friendship rest only on your shoulders?

7. What they tell you doesn’t add up.

Continuing with canceling plans, their excuses seem a little off. For example, they say they have to spend time with their family but you see on someone else’s Instagram story that they’re spending time at the club.

Or maybe they said they were sick but then you see them at the local coffee shop with a different group laughing away. At this point, you should call yourself Sherlock for putting the pieces together and finding the truth secretly.

8. They don’t follow you on social media.

Social media in all its forms are always going to be brought up in conversations. Because it’s hard to not talk about that video of the cat meowing for its treats or the crazy post made by that one celebrity.

Yet your friend has yet to follow you on any of your accounts. You obviously follow them and you send posts to their DM’s and they sometimes reply, yet that notification of a new follower never has their username in it.

9. They don’t engage in your stories.

What’s worse, getting one-word answers or not getting any talk at all? No matter what the conversation topic is they never show any sign of listening.

No grunts of agreement, no nodding, and no moving of the mouth especially. Sorry to say but they won’t be listening to anything you say at all.

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10. They give advice that seems too specific.

The complete opposite of not engaging in conversation, they tend to over-step and make sure their advice is the only thing in your mind when you ask for advice. Or sometimes you didn’t ask for advice and they give it anyway.

And when they give the advice, it feels like a parent scolding their child, which you very much are not. They want to show off that they know more than you, but do they really?

11. Their politeness comes from a distance.

After reading all the signs, you probably are thinking to yourself “But they aren’t being rude about it, they are super nice to me all the time?”

But think about this, do they let you talk and will keep the conversation but once there is a sign of leaving they take it? Or when they make plans, it seems like you’re the last to be invited and when you’re hanging out with them they only come to see you with a fake smile?

12. They aren’t as enthusiastic about the things you have in common.

One thing that gets people to become friends is the things they have in common. Because what good way to talk about your many interests than with your friends?

However, when you bring up these things, they never are on the same level of excitement as you are. And you know they love these things as much as you do.

13. They only want to talk about themselves.

The different side of the coin, maybe each conversation is lead only by your friend. And they never give you a chance to share your stories.

Or when you do get a chance to share, they somehow make it about them and you start to wonder if you even said something. They clearly want all the attention on them, so buckle up for the back seat.

If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to leave your friend behind. And although it may be hard and you don’t want there to be bad blood between you, it’s something that needs to be done.

This article was co-authored by Lisa Shield. Lisa Shield is a love and relationship expert based in Los Angeles. She has a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and is a certified life and relationship coach with over 17 years of experience. Lisa has been featured in The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, LA Times, and Cosmopolitan.

This article has been viewed 61,690 times.

It can be hard to interact with someone who doesn’t like you, especially if you tell them how you feel and they don’t feel the same way. Luckily there are some strategies you can use to cope with your emotions, move forward from rejection, and continue to interact with the person. Keep in mind that it may be a while before things go back to normal, and in some cases they never will. But remember that rejection is a normal part of life and everyone goes through it sometimes.

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

Tip: You can use other modes of expression to get your feelings out as well, such as drawing, singing, or dancing.

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

Do you ever get the feeling that people don’t want to hang out? If so, if can leave you wondering what the heck is going on. Are you pushing them away? Are your friendships changing? Whatever the case may be, discovering the source — and fixing the problem — can help solve those lonely, lonely weekends.

Keep in mind, though, that most of the time it has nothing to do with you. “A lot of people know themselves and how many friends they can keep up with,” says Rebecca Rawczak, LICSW, in an email to Bustle. So if that cool girl at work seems completely disinterested in getting drinks, this could be your explanation.

But what about friends who are suddenly MIA, despite years of getting along? While it’s true friendships wax and wane, it could be that you’re inadvertently pushing them away. Perhaps you go to them too often with problems, or are really bad at listening. Habits like these make people less likely to hit you up, and even less excited when they do. If that’s likely what’s going on, don’t worry — there are ways to fix the problem. Read on for some tips, as well as other signs people don’t want to hang out. If any of them ring a bell, you’ll know exactly what to do.

1. They Bring A Third Wheel

If you were expecting your friend to show up solo, it can come as quite the shock when she strolls in with a mystery third person. Of course, she may have wanted you two to meet. Or maybe she thought “the more the merrier.” But if she keeps bringing unexpected guests, friendship expert Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., tells me it could be a sign she’s trying to dilute your relationship. Think that’s the case? Then have a chat. Tell her you value one-on-one time, and explain that it would mean a lot if she’d give you a heads up in the future. If she meant nothing by it, she’ll totally understand.

2. You’re The One Making All The Plans

Whenever you have plans, it’s because you made them. “You always have to be the initiator, [the] planner,” Levine says. “[And] you have the sense that if you didn’t plan it, it wouldn’t happen.” If this keeps happening, it may be time to assess why everyone is running away. Do you talk over people? Are you judgmental? Putting a stop to these bad habits can make you more likable, and way easier to hang out with.

3. They Don’t Reach Out As Often

In the same vein are the people who don’t reach out as much. There could be a million reasons for this, so it may require some investigating. “You could ask your friends/family to be completely honest with you and give their feedback,” Nicole Zagara, LCSW, tells Bustle. Ask friends why they are MIA, or reach out to family for their opinion. You may not like what you hear, but it can help shed some light on why everyone is suddenly so unavailable.

4. You Can’t Nail Down A Date

This one is confusing because it often involves a friend who seems down to hang out, but never actually does. This is the person who suggests coffee dates, or movie nights, but can’t seem to nail down the plans. Levine tells me they may be vague about the time or day, or constantly cancel. If this goes on on and on, giving them space can help. “Back off and let her initiate,” Levine says. “Sometimes, even very good friends need a break from one another.”

5. They Give Vague Excuses

Whenever it comes to making plans, your friend is full of one vague excuse after another. “Once or twice may be a coincidence if they give you a strong reason, like a visiting friend from out of town,” says Rawczak. “But if they repeatedly give you vague reasons, ‘I’m busy’ [or] ‘I already have plans,’ then they are either a) a covert operative for a international spy agency, or b) not interested enough in hanging out to make time for it.”

6. They Seem Checked Out

Let’s say you’re out for coffee, and that “friend” of yours has yet to look up from her phone. Sure, she may just be busy (or rude). But it’s also possible she’s wishing she was somewhere else. If you think that’s what’s up, take the time to figure out why she’s acting this way. Apart from a flagging friendship (which happens to everyone), it could be you’re wearing her out. Do you go to her with all your problems? Then back off a bit. “Don’t depend on the same friend, or any one person, to fulfill all your needs,” Levine says. Spreading the love to multiple people will prevent them from feeling burnt out.

7. They Don’t Know About Your Life

Hanging out with people is 50 percent hanging out and 50 percent catching up. So of course it’s totally fine to meet up with a friend who has zero clue what’s going on in your life. But if she seems disinterested, or can’t remember what you say, it may be worth noting. “If neither of you are sharing the little nuances in your lives with each other, that’s a major indicator that your friendship is cooling down,” said relationships writer Elaine Chaney on

8. You Only Chat Via Social Media

Facebook and the like are obviously great ways to keep in contact with people. But take note if your relationships are almost 100 percent online, according to Chaney. And take an even bigger note if your “friendship” is dwindling to the occasional reaction emoji.

9. All Your Convos Fall Flat

Of course it’s possible your friend just isn’t the chatty type. But does talking to her feel like pulling teeth? If so, Levine tells me it could be a sign this person only met up as a favor. Again, talking to your friend is the best solution. If you both agree it’s not worth the effort, it can save you both a lot of heartache and a lot of wasted time.

10. They Throw A Party Without You

While I hope close friends would never do this to you, it can happen with potential friends. “A lot of people use parties to start to deepen acquaintance relationships and read if their acquaintances want to know them better,” Rawczak says. If this happens to you, try turning the tables. Throw your own party and invite a bunch of people. “You may be surprised who shows up, and that’s a strong indication they are interested in knowing you better outside of your shared hobbies.”

11. People Joke About Not Inviting You

Are you known as the complainer of the group? Or the proverbial Debbie Downer? If so, it can really turn people off — and may even lead to them jokingly (or not so jokingly) squeezing you out of the group. If this describes your problem, it may help to rethink your ways. “Try not to complain openly in mixed spaces, especially at work,” says Rawczak. Save it for close friends, or family, and go about being the positive one people love to be around.

Of course, you should never change yourself to gain friends. And you shouldn’t waste your time on people who don’t love and respect you. But recognizing how you might be pushing people away can explain why it seems like nobody ever wants to hang out.

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

It can be incredibly risky to jump from “just friends” to something more romantic. Will they be interested, too? Or am I sabotaging our good friendship? These types of questions are natural, as admitting feelings may ruin the entire platonic friendship. But leaving feelings and emotions bottled up can also be detrimental to yourself and to the friendship. So, what’s a love fool to do?

Good news awaits you. In one study, 40 percent of couples surveyed said they started out as friends. It makes sense, really. The more time you spend with someone, the more interested you are in them. In another study by the University of Texas, students rated one another at the beginning of the semester and at the end of the semester. By the end, many people found one another more attractive. At the base of every good relationship is a solid friendship, so it’s no mystery that the more you befriend someone, the more you find them attractive (via The Independent).

It can be complicated to begin unpacking these new feelings for your BFF. Before you can begin having regular make out sessions with your pal, it may be a little awkward figuring out how to take the plunge with a bestie.

Test the waters but understand what’s at stake

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

First, consider the situation. Is your friend single? Are they hung up on anyone? If the answer is “no,” take this chance to experiment with what your friendship means. Dating expert Matthew Hussey, suggested to The Independent that flirting is the way to test the waters when trying to escape the friend zone. “Instead of telling someone ‘I like you, what do you think?’, which forces theme into a position of having to give you an answer, start flirting with them through simple gestures and see what happens,” he says. Being aware of someone’s lifestyle can make it easier for you to make a move or open up a conversation about pursuing a relationship (via Stylecaster).

Of course it can be a bit tricky to decipher if your pal is really flirting back or not. Relationship therapist Simone Bose told The Guardian, “If you are going to take that step, ask yourself: are you serious about this? Is it an intense friendship? Does it sometimes feel like boundaries are crossed?” Emotional boundaries and physical boundaries are two separate things and sometimes with intense friendships, emotional boundaries have already been crossed (talking about secrets, emotional experiences, and intimate moments). It’s more difficult to make the first step with a physical boundary and into a sexual relationship (via Moral Revolution).

Take the relationship shift slowly

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

It’s imperative to take things slow as your friend may not have mutual feelings (and you have to come to terms that this may be a reality). If you feel ready, talk to your friend about your feelings and understand that you may be risking the loss of a friendship. Psychotherapist and relationship expert Dr. Gary Brown told Bustle, “You absolutely have to ask yourself if you want a romantic relationship. And if you’re willing to potentially lose your friendship with them if it doesn’t work out.” Chat with your friend and discuss the potential of being something more. Who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised and discovere they feel the same.

At the end of the day, you’re going to have to be vulnerable and brave when talking to your bestie about your newfound feelings. There’s really no way around it.

A therapist shares tips for coping if people around you don’t agree on what’s safe as the country slowly reopens.

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

Discussing concerns about COVID-19 safety with parents can be stressful.

As more people get vaccinated and the country slowly reopens, everyone’s idea of “being COVID-19 -safe” could look different. When it comes to COVID-19 safety , in an ideal world, everyone in your life would be on the same page. But, sadly, that is often not the case. You may feel like you’re safe because you and your friends or family are vaccinated, but what happens when you bring other, unvaccinated people into the mix? Things can get messy, depending on your comfort level.

You might be butting heads with people in the same household because you don’t see eye to eye on face masks , social distancing , vaccines or other issues. Or maybe you have friends and family pressuring you to travel or go to events when that doesn’t feel safe for you.

Either way, in the current state of the world you’re bound to have someone in your life who is just not taking the virus (and the precautions necessary to slow the spread of it) seriously. And while you might feel like you have to avoid them or cut them out of your life until the pandemic is over, there are a few things you can try before resorting to more extreme measures.

Since this is a problem all too many of us (myself included) are dealing with, I asked psychologist and integrative mental health expert Roseann Capanna-Hodge for advice on how to manage this stressful dynamic. Keep reading for her tips on what to do when people around you are not taking the virus seriously.

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Set boundaries

Especially if you live with people who have disagreements on COVID-19 safety , setting boundaries is essential for your mental and physical well-being. You can set boundaries for what you will talk about and engage with, and what you are willing to physically do with someone who is not taking things seriously.

“Setting a boundary with family members may feel uncomfortable at first, but it is a healthy way to let others know what they can expect from you. When it comes to safety measures, let family members know what your expectations are at your home and when they are around you,” Capanna-Hodge says.

When you let friends and family members know your expectations, it’s likely they will feel confused or even upset at first. But it’s important to communicate your needs and expectations in a way that is respectful but firm.

If you don’t want to spend time around people who don’t want to get the vaccine or don’t wear masks in public, tell that person that you really value them in your life and want to spend time with them, but in order to continue doing that you either need them to wear a mask or you’ll only connect with them over Zoom call if they won’t. Or, if you live with family members who aren’t wearing masks in public, tell them you will keep your distance from them (to the extent you can) while you are both at home.

“You can only control yourself. you can’t control others, so establishing those boundaries helps to protect your mental health and reduce your stress. You don’t have to take responsibility for educating family members on safety measures, and you can take that energy and time and use it for self-care activities such as exercise, breath work, meditation, etc.,” Capanna-Hodge says.

Try to avoid getting angry or using critical language when you bring up concerns.

Leave out the criticism in your conversations

Again, it’s not your responsibility to educate your family members, friends or roommates on safety measures. But if you do want to share information with them or discuss safety measures, you can do so in a way that communicates your concern without criticism.

“When speaking with a loved family member about concerns such as COVID-19, their blood pressure, exercise regime or any health-related topic, it is always best to start from a place of love and support. Ask what you can do to help instead of criticize,” Capanna-Hodge says. When was the last time you felt like doing something someone asked you to if it was delivered in a tone that was condescending or negative?

“Your mom hearing, ‘Mom, would you like me to get you a bunch of disposable masks or a few cloth ones?’ feels a lot better than, ‘You’re going to die if you don’t wear a mask,'” she says.

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It’s also helpful to use “I” statements when talking to friends and family so they understand where you’re coming from. For instance, saying, “Dad, I am worried about your health and so I don’t want to potentially expose you to the virus if I come over,” or, “Hey, I’d love to come to your baby shower, but I don’t want to take the risk that I might get you or someone else sick.”

Remember that some people, especially older people, are resistant to change. So know when it’s time to stop pushing them. “It isn’t your job to preach to others about what they should be doing; you can only control what you are doing,” Capanna-Hodge says. With that in mind, if you still are not comfortable with how your family or friends are dealing with things, you can respectfully decline to spend time with them physically until things are better.

Let them know what you are and aren’t comfortable with, and if that means holding a Zoom call instead of an in-person dinner party, tell them. If they really respect you and want to spend time with you, they will do what it takes to see you — even if it’s not IRL.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Couples who have had their wedding plans sidelined by the coronavirus have handled it in a handful of ways: Some are simply postponing, realizing that guests may not be comfortable traveling to a wedding or being around a relatively large group of people. Others are getting creative, holding their weddings at drive-in theaters or in other socially distant, safe ways — even virtually.

And some have decided to go ahead with their weddings, perhaps because they were unable to negotiate a refund, with a pared-down guest list and masks.

That’s 100% their prerogative ― the phrase “different strokes for different folks” always applies to wedding planning ― but it does put guests who are worried about attending the event because of COVID-19 in a bind.

It has become a surprisingly common concern, said Jodi RR Smith, an etiquette expert and author of “From Clueless to Class Act: Manners for the Modern Woman & Manners for the Modern Man.”

“It started back in March when people were still trying to go forward with events and others were starting to be increasingly concerned by the pandemic,” Smith told HuffPost. “It really heated up when major organizations declared no more business travel and people’s wariness started to really rise.”

That wariness for wedding guests means two things: You can either go to the wedding and risk catching the virus, or you can respectfully tell the couple you need to bow out (even if you already RSPV’d “yes” before coronavirus struck).

How do you do the latter with tact and kindness? Below, etiquette experts and a therapist offer their best advice.

Let the couple know ASAP. And ideally, not by text.

The couple are likely working with a downsized guest list, so let them know immediately if you won’t make it. That way, they can reach out to their B-list invites. (What, you didn’t realize that, even in less pandemic-y times, couples often utilize a tier system for sending out invitations?)

Call your friend rather than texting when breaking the news. Yes, texting is easier, but having a phone or FaceTime conversation is the adult thing to do, said Liz Higgins, a family therapist and founder of Millennial Life Counseling in Dallas.

“Once on the line, communicate your decision to your friend from a place of transparency and honesty,” said Higgins, who has had clients bring up the issue of declining wedding invites during the pandemic.

Tell them why you’re uncomfortable going ― you’re concerned about your health or maybe you have a family member who’s immunocompromised or an elderly relative at home.

“Transparency may sound like, ‘This has not been an easy decision for me to make. I understand you may feel hurt, and I recognize that. But the best decision for me and my family is to stay put,’” she said.

Don’t go overboard with the excuses or effusive apologies.

Couples going ahead with wedding planning right now have most likely already processed that having a wedding in the midst of a pandemic is going to result in a few “respectfully declines.”

Given that, don’t beat around the bush or make up some silly excuse.

“It’s important to be straightforward,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and the author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.” “There is no apology necessary. Say something polite, like, ‘I appreciate the invitation but I am still self-quarantining and I am not traveling or surrounding myself with people in crowds at this time.’”

How to tell someone you do not want to be friends

If you’re in the wedding, don’t wait to make a decision about attending.

What if you’re part of the wedding party and are freaking out about attending? Share your feelings and your decision as soon as possible, said Thomas P. Farley, a New York-based etiquette expert and the host of the podcast “What Manners Most.”

“Don’t wait until the last minute, either because you are dreading the conversation or because you are hemming and hawing about what to do,” he said. “Make up your mind and let them know well in advance so they can make alternative arrangements.”

And remember, stepping down from an in-person role does not mean you can’t contribute to the day in other — maybe even more helpful — ways.

“Rather than abdicating all responsibilities, inquire what you can do to can lend moral and logistical support from a distance,” he said.

Conversely, if you’re certain you’ll be there with bells, share that with the couple, too.

“This will give them the peace of mind of knowing that you are guaranteed to be there come what may,” Farley said. “For instance, I am officiating a beach wedding in October and I told the couple not to worry ― that I will be there whether the wedding has only a starfish and a lobster as witnesses or whether it’s a gathering of their close friends and family.”

The same goes if your child was chosen as the ring bearer or flower girl.

If it’s your child who’s in the wedding, it’s completely reasonable to put their health first.

“Especially for children, because this is the first the world has seen this disease, we have no idea of the long-term ramifications on children,” Smith said. “As the parent, sometimes you have to be the bearer of bad news. Know that the wedding couple is going to be upset; they loved your daughter or son enough to include her in a very important day of their lives. But sometimes you need to step back and ask what is best for your child.”

Recognize that this is an important boundary for you — but be understanding if they do have hurt feelings.

If your engaged friends or family members don’t respect your decision, you have to make peace with the fact that you’re doing what’s best for you.

“Remember, you are setting a boundary here, and while you can remain attuned to your friend’s response and hold space for their feelings, you aren’t responsible for their response or hurt feelings,” Higgins said. “It’s a delicate dance to remain sure of yourself while holding space for another person’s pain, so be kind with yourself as you navigate those steps.”

If your betrothed friend is angry, try to not to take it personally.

“There is a chance there will be anger directed at you, but it’s probably more the situation and what it is doing to all of their planning they are really angry about,” Smith said. “Allow for venting and hurt feelings. Be the bigger and stronger person. Years from now, you will be able to look back knowing you did the right thing.”

Respect whatever decision the couple made. And find different ways to celebrate them.

Be respectful of the couple’s choice to move forward with their wedding. They may have motivating forces you’re not aware of, like a venue that wouldn’t reimburse them if they canceled.

Consider other ways to acknowledge their special day, too. You may not be an in-person guest, but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on a thoughtful gift and card. If they are livestreaming the wedding, be sure to be there virtually and wear your wedding guest outfit when you do, Farley said.

“And then, devise a TBD plan to see one another in-person once the health concerns are no longer a factor in your getting together,” he said.