I don’t want to hurt his feelings

When I was in Std 7, a boy in my class proposed to me. A year went by and now I am in Std 8 and he says he still loves me. I don’t want to be in a relationship with him but I also don’t want to hurt his feelings as a classmate. I told my mother about this and she simply says to ignore him but I don’t want to do that although I try my best to do so.
Emily (13) / Lucknow

Dear Emily,

You seem to be in a dilemma about hurting the feelings of your classmate. That is thoughtful of you. However, you need to take a firm stand and show him you are not interested — both for your sake and his. It is better that he does not have any false hopes. You could choose to explain this to him firmly but kindly. Help him to understand that you don’t dislike him as a person, but that you don’t want to be in a relationship now. When doing so, use ‘I..’ language. For example, “I would like to focus on my studies and am not interested in a relationship. I do hope you understand.” This way, you are not rejecting him, but are stating your preference, which you have every right to do.

Nasreen Hashambhoy
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Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.