Polite ways to discourage flirting?


I seem to get this problem a lot. The “dating pool” is pretty small in the expatriate community (people who are living long-term in a foreign country), so there are lots of single guys around looking for girlfriends, especially of the English-speaking variety. I am already involved in a serious long-term relationship, and despite the problems we’re having with a custody battle over his children and immigration issues, I’m dedicated to this relationship.

However, two male acquaintances of mine continue to flirt with me in a manner that suggests they’d like to date me. Not “hey, baby, you and me in the back of my Chevy” come-ons, but strong hints that I’d be better off with them than with my boyfriend. Complimenting me a little too enthusiastically. Telling me that they wish they had met me before my boyfriend had. Warning me that if my boyfriend doesn’t put a ring on my finger soon, they’re going to try. Gazing at me for long periods of time from across the room. Waxing poetic about what a kind and sweet personality I have.

Honestly, it makes me feel really uncomfortable. Even if I were looking for a boyfriend, these guys would be going about it in the wrong way. Since I’ve made it abundantly clear to them both that I’m committed to the relationship I’m in, it’s really starting to bug me. I’d expect come-ons from a stranger, but these guys know that I’m in a relationship, and it doesn’t seem to bother them at all.

Neither of the guys is easy to avoid. One of them is part of the group of people that goes out for coffee after Church every week. I’m a new member of the parish and don’t want to alienate myself from the group to avoid this guy. The other guy is an acquaintance of mine who is a friend of my boyfriend, and from him I find the flirting really offensive because he claims to be my boyfriend’s friend. He came right out and said a few days ago that he thinks I’m “the one”. I’m not. I told him that I’m not the one, I’m in a relationship with his friend, and he will never be more than a friend to me, even if I did break up with my boyfriend. I’m planning to tell my boyfriend that his friend is being a jerk behind his back, but I’m concerned about what impact that’s going to have on his circle of friends.

So how do I go about getting these guys to back off, without being rude? I’m not a rude person. I don’t like confrontation at all. I just want these guys to stop flirting with me, and treat me like a lady instead of a potential date.



I’m not sure if I missed it from your post or not, but is your boyfriend in a nearby location, or is this a long-distance thing?

If it’s geographically possible, I’d suggest talking about the situation with your boyfriend, and asking him to come with you to the places the two other men frequent. Seeing you with him (if possible) will send a strong message.

If it’s not possible, and you’re not the type to engage in confrontational situations, I’d be very careful to always have another person with me when in situations with these men. Ideally, it would be a person who DOESN’T have problems with confrontation, to be your “wing man”, so to speak. That way, when Mr. X or Y started flirting, your friend could launch into a “lay off, she’s seeing someone, you’re being obnoxious” lecture. If nothing else, public embarrassment might deter them.


The best way to deal with unwanted flirtations is to act as if you have no idea what the guy is talking about, and ask him bluntly and sweetly what does he mean by that, with a big bland smile on your face.


In my past expierience and those of women I know. We try to be too nice. You can still be nice but very direct and honest so you leave no room for misinterpritation.
This is the best thing for them to so they can move on. I thing us women tend to be non-confrontational and be too nice then the Men feel like they get mixed messages. Sure it is uncomfortable,But the best thing all around.


This ALWAYS worked when I was single: “By the way, I hope you’re not trying to flirt with me, because if you are, you’re quite mistaken.” (Said quietly aside, with a smile).


Hmmm. You say they don’t have the “back seat” mentality, but I have to question it based on the fact that they don’t give up if you are truely stating that you don’t have interest in them. By your description, I’m guessing it’s gone beyond flirting. It’s now, a competition and you are the prize.

The lack of “rudeness” on your part may seem to them that you may actually remain interested… I’m afraid that they may not take “hints” well. Calling them “friends” may not be really true. Would a friend make you feel like they do? They are not acting like your friends, right now, and you should make it clear to them they are violating your and your boyfriend’s confidence by acting the way they are… They are not honoring you. If it continues, take a break from the group. I know it will be lonely, but better that, than cause yourself more pain than you already have. The way you describe these guys, it sounds like they would like to talk you into something that you may later regret.

Peace to you!


What she said. It appears that dropping hints won’t work. It’s time to cosh them over the heads with the truth. If it makes them feel uncomfortable to hear flat-out that you’re not interested, too bad. They’ve already spent enough time making you feel uncomfortable. Obviously, don’t be mean and insulting, but be very firm, make sure your words leave no room for another interpretation, and don’t tell them to lay off with a smile on your face- be stern. Then stick to it. You don’t have to avoid the group, but neither do you have to be anything but casually polite to these two. Don’t sit next to them at coffee, don’t accept social invites, and definitely tell your boyfriend. A friend who would try to undermine your BFs relationship behind his back is no friend.


If you are not interested in the advances, then not engaging in conversation with these men will help. When the men approach, you can excuse yourself and make an exit. No need to be rude.

If they are irritating you, then do not join in social functions when they are around.

Simply put- you cannot alter someone’s behavior but you can change you behavior.

These men are not friends because they have little respect for you or your boyfriend.


First, tell your bf what’s going on. I’ll bet he’ll put his ‘friend’ straight reeeeally quick. Second, when at social functions, try to stick around a female friend, and let her in on the situation. I doubt these guys are talking to you in front of other people like that, at least not in earshot. Third, next time they say something obvious, like “You’re the one for me!” then look him straight in the eye, and say “Hey, listen to me. I am not interested in you. I wouldn’t be interested in you even if I was single. So cut it out.” Leave him NO ROOM for doubt. If he persists after that, well, then it’s harassment. I dunno how that’s handled where you live.
Hope that helps, I know where you’re coming from! I unfortunately automatically respond to compliments from males(other than -my- bf) as more like insults, because they have always, in my experience, been followed by something rude or crass or harassment-esque.




Thanks for all the advice. My boyfriend and I are doing the long-distance thing for a while, so I can’t have him appear in person to get the guys to back off. I think that’s half the problem - the guy from Church doubts my boyfriend really exists, and my boyfriend’s friend thinks that because he’s not seeing me, he must not be that interested.

I’ve tried being oblivious, and I’ve tried ignoring it, and neither strategy has worked. I’m going to have to be more aggressive. I already told the one guy, my boyfriend’s friend, that I am happily dating my boyfriend, still planning to marry him, and he’d better butt out before he makes me really angry. I will definitely tell my boyfriend about his friend making his interest obvious. Why should this be my burden to bear, when it’s the friend who’s causing it?

For the other guy, the guy at Church, I think I’ll have to buck up and say something stern myself. I like the idea of a wingman, but I’m not sure who I could use. None of my friends go to Church. I’ll think about that one, and see if anyone is willing to stick up for me.


You like the idea of a wingman and you have one your guardian angel! Ask your angel to help you out, and ask the angel of each guy to get a hold of that guy too.


EXCELLENT advice. :clapping:

What you and all women in these situations need to remember is that these men are the ones acting inappropriately. Knowing you are in a relationship, they continue to pursue you and make you uncomfortable. What they are doing is wrong, even if they do it in a seemingly friendly or joking manner. They are being rude, and they have done it first.

Secondly, “No” is not rude. “No” sets a boundary that tells people they need to back off. You must have respect for your person first, or they will see no need to respect you. A decent man will respect your “no” and proceed no further, and the sort of man who hears “no” and calls you a five-letter word is not the sort you want in your life in any respect. Their actions have earned them an honest and direct response from you. Furthermore, it is not being “nice” to let them continue to be so familiar.

You must be as clear as possible, which doesn’t mean being nasty or even unpleasant. You simply tell them plainly, “I want you to stop pursuing me. I am not interested.” Don’t explain your feelings, don’t justify yourself. If they refuse to hear the word “No,” they are not “nice” guys; they are disrespectful and potentially predatory. Stay away from them.

(For further information on how to handle unwanted suitors, read The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker.)


surfinpure…excellent advice…I have this book and it is VERY good.


Actually, research proves that public humiliation creates resentment and grudges. Nobody likes to be embarrassed, and a once-friendly would-be suitor can turn into a bitter, vengeful person after one such episode. What she wants is to detach these men from her emotionally, and making them upset with her only makes them more involved, and this time in an even more unpleasant manner. I strongly advise against trying to embarrass them in public. Let them walk out with their dignity intact, and they can make a clean break.


I would start from praying, but if you have to deal with them, then I would insist that they’ve been told that their comments make you feel uncomfortable. You can insist that they cease.


Simply say: “Excuse me, where I come from such forward comments are unwelcome and are not tolerated.”


My wife works at a school where she said another teacher was constantly flirting with her and asking her to do this or that (after work activities, nothing gross).

She would come home and complain up and down about it. She even accused him of sexaul harassment (to me). So my response was “Did you ever tell the guy no?” Not once in the many months this was going on did she ever say no or that his advances were not welcome. She said well, I dropped hints.

Hints are not enough. Clear and concise language is required.

I agree that public humiliation is not warranted (especially for the first conversation). The first refusal should always be private or at least not within the range of his friends (allows him to save face, you see).

What happened with my wife is that while she never said no, another friend of hers told the guy politely in private that the advances were not welcome. It’s been over a year with no problems whatsoever. One no was all it took.


Smack 'em in the face :smiley:

Seriously, if guys are making unwelcome advances in such pig-like ways, I’d say they deserve a solid smack across their foolish faces.


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