Man showing 'I'm Sorry' sign to angry girlfriend

Source: JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty

Sometimes people just don’t get the hint. You’ve gone on a few dates and may think someone is cool…but not like that. And, regardless of what the “right” thing to say may be, it’s totally them and not you. If you’ve tried to simply fade to black— you wait a few hours or even days before responding to their texts— and your former flame just won’t let it go, it’s time to up the ante.

Here are a few ways to clearly press pause with a ”kinda” ex who won’t let go.

Exaggerate about your need to be alone.

One of the less awkward ways to tell someone you don’t want to date them is to say you’re doing the whole “me time” thing. Let them know that you want to focus on yourself and don’t have the ability or desire to handle a relationship right now.

Send a straightforward text.

If you know you can avoid seeing the person over the next few weeks, a text is an easy way to put it out there without dealing with face-to-face drama or emotions. There is a catch: you have to be sensitive. Don’t blurt out mean things just because you won’t have immediate accountability.

Tell them about your next.

Pull out this pass only if you were never exclusive with your latest fan—if you were, they’ll want the details of how and when you found a new bae. The key here is to keep things simple: “I want to be respectful of my new relationship so we can no longer be friends.” No exceptions.

Have the awkward conversation.

Some people will be relentless until you literally take off the gloves and get real. If you’re in one of those situations, put on your steel toed shoes and be frank AF—but not nasty. Let them know that you are no longer interested in dating or speaking, and don’t want to have the conversation again. Give them a reasonable opportunity to respond, then wrap up the conversation.