The Acquaintance That Won't Leave You Alone

People Who Try Too Hard to Be Your Friend

Acquaintances who annoy.
Acquaintances who want to be your friend. Credit: Image Source/Getty Images

Sometimes you meet people and just click, and other times you’re just not into being friends with someone. But what happens when you don’t care to be close friends with someone but they ask to hang out with you all the time? You don’t want to be totally truthful and hurt their feelings by saying, “I just don’t like you,” so what is the best way to handle this situation? Here’s some advice.

Always Be Nice But Don’t Be Too Available

Being rude is never an option, so find ways to be nice to everyone, even the folks you don’t care for. It should be noted that being nice doesn’t mean you should give this person false hope and pretend that you’re interested in doing things together. There is a balance between blunt honest (and hurtful) and putting up a boundary that acquaintances cannot cross.

Never agree to get together thinking that you can cancel later. This only makes you look bad as someone that cancels all the time, and besides that, it doesn’t necessarily send the message that you’re not interested. If an acquaintance is really determined it will only make them try harder to pin down a time for a friend date with you.

Say something like:

“Thanks so much but I can’t make it.”

Or:

“I appreciate the invite but I’ll have to pass.”

Don’t provide more information or try to lie with details that you think will make this answer easier to take.

Simply saying a polite no thank you without explanation and remaining kind will help them see you’re not interested without making it a big deal.

When an Acquaintance Just Won’t Give Up

Sometimes the people we’re saying no to will try extra hard to get us to say yes. Perhaps these people don’t have many friends or they just really like us and want to hang out with us.

Never be rude or hurtful or look down your nose at someone who is trying hard to be friends. If you have given the chance to be friends with serious consideration and decided that this person is just not for you, be kind but keep your boundaries intact.

If an acquaintance has asked us and been turned down, they may change the way they approach us in hopes of getting us to say yes. Sometimes this means seeing if you’re available first and then asking you to do something. Or, asking us straight out why we won’t make time for them.

“Thanks for the invite. That does sound fun but I always check with my schedule and family before I say yes to anything. I’ll have to let you know.”

Or, say no right away without being hurtful:

“What a fun event! I appreciate you thinking of me but I like to commit most of my free time to my family (kids, husband, hobby). I’ve made a promise to say no to great invites like this so I can have more time for them.”

It’s hard to argue when someone tells you they guard their time very carefully and won’t be swayed, even by an invitation to a fun event.

If an Acquaintance Gets Angry With You for Turning Down Their Invites

It’s not easy to make friends and sometimes repeatedly asking someone to do something can get old.

Your acquaintance may get angry at hearing yet another “no thanks” from you, even when you’re nice about it.

First, understand where they are coming from. Wouldn’t it be a bummer to want to be friends with someone and have them not interested in you? So go easy on them but keep the boundaries you feel comfortable with. If they question your reason for saying no be firm but kind.

For instance:

Acquaintance: “You’ve said no to my invitation to lunch three times now. I’m beginning to think you don’t like me!”

You: “Please don’t think that. I don’t often accept lunch invitations because of my busy schedule. I’m very protective of any free time I have so I’m probably not the best person to ask to hang out with.”

When someone continues asking, opt to say no to anything involving your free time without elaborating why.

Acquaintance: “How about lunch next week?”

You: “I’m sorry, no. I can’t.”

Refrain from saying you’re not available because your persistent acquaintance will just keep on asking. Instead, say that you just cannot promise anything right now because of how your life is, how busy your schedule is, or how committed you are to spending free time with family. These are options for letting your acquaintance down nicely, and eventually they will move on to someone else.