How to Turn Down a Proposal Kindly

Your worst nightmare has come true. Your boyfriend has proposed, and for whatever reason you don’t want to say yes. It’s important to turn him down kindly, and hopefully not embarrass him. This is a major step for him, and he could have decided to make it a big romantic gesture. Here are six steps to take to turn down a proposal kindly.

Be Respectful of Him


Don’t instantly scream out “no!” While you want to get out of this situation as quickly as possible, you need to be respectful of the time and effort he has put in thinking this through, and be respectful of his feelings.

He thought it was the right time for the two of you to do this. Do this as quietly and respectfully as possible.

Don’t Lead Him On

Avoid using anything that implies you want to think it over, especially if you really don’t.

You’re leading him on and giving him false hope.

You need to be honest and upfront right away. That still doesn’t mean shouting out the word “no” as soon as he asks. It’s time to find a way around this to make it honest but dignified.

Lead Him Into It

Ease into the word no. You want to share how honoured you are for being asked, and how much you respect him as a person. It could even be worth complimenting him on the method and the ring he was going to give you.

Make it easier to accept the “no” that you are eventually going to tell him. While you’re leading him into it, don’t go on too long. He wants to get this bit over with quickly.

Avoid Laughing

This is just a mean girl move. Remember the work that he has put into this, and he has feelings too.

You may think it’s cute and there are some funny aspects of it, but as you turn him down he’ll think you’re laughing at him. Remember the first point: be respectful!

Tell Him in Person

Don’t run off and then tell him by phone—or worse, by text! You want to tell him in person. Have the guts to do it right there and then. This is the best way to do it gracefully, without completely embarrassing.

All eyes could be on the two of you by now depending on how he has decided to do this.

Explain Why

He deserves an explanation, and he likely wants one. Tell him why you’re saying no, but do it kindly. It’s important to help him know if he has done something wrong, and whether there is anything he can do to change your mind.

It will also help him in the future if he ever decides to propose to another woman in his life. Be honest with your feelings, and tell him if there is no chance you will ever say yes. This is best done in private rather than with a lot of people around you.

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