Here's Why Some People Can't Take a Hint When It Comes to Rejection

Ever met someone who started out somewhat cool, who you may have flirted with or gone on a date or two with, only to realize you're just not that into them?

While you may have initially given them even the slightest impression that a romantic future could be in the cards, chances are, once you realized you weren't interested, you did everything in your power to let them know (without blatantly telling them).

Josie talking to Archie on Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)

While certain actions may come off as playing "hard to get," when you've turned down their hangout requests five times in a row (or heck, even ignored them!), you reply with minimal-word responses and you've completely stopped initiating conversation with them, that should be a huge sign that you're not playing games and your stance is, in fact, "impossible to get."

We're not quite sure why, but no matter the age (trust us, it doesn't change when you get older), some people just can't seem to take a hint. If we knew the reason behind the mystery, we'd share it—but because we don't, we called upon our pal Terri Orbuch, The Love Doctor.

Keep reading for Terri's explanation on why some people can't take a hint when it comes to dating, and what we can do to help spell it out for them (without necessarily having to tear them to shreds).

Sweety High: In what ways are we possibly not being clear or sending mixed signals to someone?

The Love Doctor: You need to check your own feelings and make sure you're really not interested in someone. We can send mixed signals because deep down we are mixed as well. We may tell someone "no" because of comments or thoughts by friends or family (we think we "shouldn't" be interested), but we really are! Mixed signals may mean our feelings are mixed as well.

You need to examine the words and phrases you're using when you tell someone you're not interested. We can send mixed signals because we haven't been firm, direct or strong in our words. We don't want to be mean or hurt the other person, so we don't really say we're not interested—just sort of. For some people though, we need to be direct, strong and firm. Tell them exactly that we aren't interested or don't want the type of relationship they want. This can be challenging for many people, especially girls. We've been taught to not hurt someone's feelings or be mean. Always think of the other person.

Hanna looking nervously at her phone on an episode of Pretty Little Liars

(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)

You need to examine your verbal and nonverbal communication. When our body language (nonverbal) doesn't match what we're saying to someone (verbal), the discrepancy is apparent. And the other person reads the truth into the nonverbal. So if you're saying to someone, "I'm not interested," but your body language is showing something different, you aren't being clear, you're sending mixed signals, and the other person is likely to interpret the truth as the nonverbal.

SH: What words could you be using in your texts that subtly say you're not interested?

TLD: I don't think you have to be subtle. Hinting around at first is okay because, sometimes, people will pick up on the hints, and it's easier to hint rather than be explicit. But, in the end, you risk the other person not picking up on the hints. So, being direct is the best way to let someone know you're not interested, but it's important to be polite and respectful. That means not saying something negative back, personally hurtful, or offensive. You can definitely be direct and respectful at the same time.

Also, when you make the blame statements (the why you're not interested), make it about the two of you or about the relationship. So, "we're aren't compatible," "we're too different," "I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in going out with you because we aren't right for each other," or "we're focusing on different things right now."

Elena Gilbert staring sadly at her phone on The Vampire Diaries

(The Vampire Diaries via The CW)

SH: If someone's generally nice but they won't take a hint, is it okay to ghost them?

TLD: I think the key is being respectful and nice. Similar to above, hints are fine if someone picks up on them. But often times they don't. So, the key is to become more direct over time, if they don't take a hint. Again, you might hint at first, but if that doesn't work, be direct, with no hints and make sure your verbal and nonverbal are compatible.

I'm not a fan of ghosting people because then people don't know what happened. And not knowing is challenging for the other person. It might feel better to you (because it's easy for you), but for the other person, it isn't. I thinking ghosting is only okay if you've hinted a few times, then been direct a few times (and checked your motives and feelings, and checked your verbal and nonverbal), and they still just don't get what you're saying. Then, you might have to ghost them for them to understand what you mean.

Gilmore Girls: Rory staring at her phone

(Gilmore Girls via The CW)

SH: After you've made excuses not to see someone at least five times in a row (or you even ignore them from time to time), why do they still ask you to hang out?

TLD: There are many reasons why people don't get the hints and excuses and still want to hang out with you: They idealize you and can't let go of the "image" of you; they think if you really weren't interested, you would tell them; they think you're a really nice person, and nice people don't make up excuses or ignore—they're direct; they're used to people not being nice to them (or ignoring/making excuses). they've grown accustomed to being treated poorly; they don't know how or what it means to be in a good relationship or friendship and what constitutes a positive interactions; they're a narcissist.

SH: Is it better to get your point across in person or over text (if you don't care too much about their feelings)?

TLD: I think it depends. How have you communicated previously? How long have you known them? How much have you invested into this relationship? Is this a new relationship or a long-term one? Are you comfortable meeting them in person? Do you think they will respond negatively to you comments?

All of these need to be weighed before a decision is made regarding texting or talking in person. But if you don't really know the person and it would take a lot of energy and time to tell them you're not interested, over text is fine.

SH: Any other general key points to note about why some people can't take a hint?

TLD: Relationships are two-way streets, and the reason why some people can't take a hint is also a two-way street. First, you need to look within yourself to make sure your feelings aren't mixed, your language is direct, and your nonverbal and verbal are consistent. Second, you need to look at why they can't take a hint.


If you liked someone and you no longer feel that way, you'll probably relate to THESE reasons why people lose interest in their crushes.