Being sensitive to someone else’s feelings shows maturity and we affirm your heart! For many guys, taking the step to confess takes a lot of courage, so on your part, responding with kindness is necessary. The guy, having shown you his heart, would be hoping for a positive response. However, if you know this guy isn’t one you can see a future together with, don’t compromise! We must not think that saying yes for now and no later would solve any problems or is even kind.
I have three simple guidelines to cushion the blow a little and avoid further hurt:
Be gentle. Choose your words wisely, not sugar-coating them but showing care in the words chosen. Using statements that focus more on “I” rather than “you” might bring across the point more gently. For example, you could say “I am not attracted to you,” rather than “You are not attractive.” Do however be honest and not make up lame excuses that rub salt into the wound.
Don’t be wishy-washy, which could possibly make the guy think you may have some feelings for him. If you don’t ever intend to date him, tell him firmly and nicely. If the situation allows for it, even think of a script in advance so there is no room for misunderstanding.
Avoid making the decision sound open-ended, as you don’t want to make the guy think he can play the waiting game and try again in the future. At the end of the day, being resolved and genuine would be most important and can be felt. Reassure the guy of his worth as a person and (if appropriate) as a friend. If the opportunity arises, point him to Christ as the One who can lead him too. But be prepared that the guy may not take your refusal well. And if he really doesn’t, it isn’t your fault.
If living our lives to please God is our goal, every action, word, and thought should flow from that starting point. Ask God to lead the guy to someone who is the best fit for him and become someone who abides in Him too!