Graceful rejection is the art of letting someone interested in you know that you do not feel the same way tactfully.
Letting someone down can always be difficult, especially if you do not want to seem heartless, rude, uncaring, or even unkind. And though you may feel like you know how to tactfully let the person know you're not interested, sometimes your answer may come across harsher than you intended. Whether you decide to let the person know the truth, or find that a white lie may be easier, there are some unofficial rules that are always good to know.
The first and most important reason you must never give anyone is to tell him or her that you simply don't like them, or don’t find them attractive. If you told anyone that, it would be a harsh blow not only to their ego, but their feelings as well. However, if you do prefer to be truthful with the person, ask yourself what you plan to tell them would hurt your feelings is someone told you the same. Also, try asking two closest friends of the same and opposite sex who may be a bit more sensitive than you. No matter what, stay away from direct phrases that would trivialize the person or even slightly demean them in any way. When it comes to letting a person down on more intimate terms, sometimes being completely straightforward can hurt the most. And in these cases, a white lie may make the other person feel better, and make your life much easier.
When it comes to lying, do not tell an extravagant one or one that you could get caught in, leading you to further lies. You want to avoid lies such as you are getting together with your old partner, or that you just got out of a very serious relationship and are not ready for a new one yet. You also don't want to say that something along the lines that you are having family issues, because you can easily find yourself in a sticky situation in the future if you do so. Try to stick to simple excuses such as you'd rather stay friends, or you're not looking for a relationship at the moment, or even that you are busy with other factors in your life and have no time for a relationship. These are little white leis that will keep you safe and minimize the other person's pain.
The last important steps are to always apologize, never say anything else you don't mean even if it is intended to lighten up the moment, and not make the person feel awkward or stupid around you because you let them down. If you do not want to be their friend, no matter what do not say the well know phrase, "I hope we can still be friends." Do no make any promises you don't intend to keep because that will only further the mess and hurt the person more when you do not live up to them. And once everything is over, try to remain casual and discreetly change the subject to a topic less awkward and more cheerful.
By following these steps and learning to be more tactful you should be successful in your mission. The other person will probably even appreciate your kindness and fully understand your meaning. And now, both of you feel better because you let the person know you were not interested tactfully.