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How To Say No To A Marriage Proposal (13 Tips To Politely Decline)

by Sonya Schwartz

A marriage proposal is supposed to be every girl’s dream, but that isn’t always the case. 

In instances of an arranged marriage, a person might not feel comfortable taking a girl’s hand in marriage. An unwanted marriage proposal can leave you feeling awkward and wondering how to reject them nicely. 

If you’re wondering how to reject a marriage proposal, it’s important that you do so nicely. This person might not be your life partner, but they are still a person and deserve a certain amount of consideration. 

How To Reject A Marriage Proposal

1. Don’t instantly reject a public proposal

don't instantly reject a public proposal

This can be embarrassing to the person proposing. They have planned this moment down to the last minute. There are people ready to take pictures. At the same time, you’re feeling as though you’re about to throw up. Avoid instantly saying no to help him avoid public embarrassment. Instead, tell him you’ll have to think about it. It’s just such a big moment!

2. Avoid giving false hopes

Undoubtedly, they will want to know why you did not accept their marriage proposal. This isn’t the time to be mean, but it’s also not the time to give them false hope. If you never plan on marrying this person, make sure that you make that perfectly clear. 

3. Politely reject the marriage proposal

Do not brashly tell them no because it’s a horrible idea. You don’t want to hurt their feelings. Instead, be polite. Cordially inform them that you do not feel that a marriage between the two of you is what you want. 

4. Ask them to get off of one knee before rejecting the marriage proposal

It’s bad enough to propose to someone and get rejected. It’s even worse if you’re still in the proposal position when they refuse the marriage proposal. 

Instead, ask them to stand up. Then, while looking the other person in the eye, talk to them about why you want to reject the marriage proposal. 

5. Be kind to them

It can seriously hurt feelings by simply telling a person no. No one plans a marriage proposal thinking that the person they are proposing to will reject it. Instead, they are already convinced that you will say yes. It can come as a shock when you reject a marriage proposal. Empathize with them on that. 

When you do say no to the person proposing, make sure that you don’t simply tell them no and walk away. This is a person that you have a history with, even if you feel as though you’re on the verge of a panic attack. You don’t want to leave them hanging like that. 

As you tell them the reasoning behind your actions, be as nice as possible. Try not to be down on the other person. 

For example, instead of saying I could not picture the rest of my life with you because you’re lazy and I’m doubting our entire relationship, you can say I don’t think that we mesh well together, and I’m not sure if I want to get married. 

6. Tell them why you think it is a bad idea

If you have particular reasons for not wanting to accept their marriage proposal, tell them. They not only deserve a real response, but they also want to hear a real answer. Although you should be tactful and nice, you should also tell them the real reason. 

Make sure that you avoid cliche answers, such as marriage is not for everyone. You also do not want to use accusatory statements, such as you’re always so bossy. Instead, be as nice as possible when speaking with them. You already rejected their proposal. There’s no need to make them feel worse than they already do. 

7. Consider having a talk about it later

consider having a talk about it later

When you first tell someone no to their marriage proposal, they’re bound to feel hurt. Both of you can be in an extremely heightened emotional state. This might not be the best time to have a conversation about this important life decision. Instead, ask them if you can have some time and talk about it later. 

This will give you both a moment to calm down. It can also give you plenty of time to figure out how to tell them. While rejecting the marriage proposal is already a bit hurtful, the conversation that follows can either go well or be a bit like rubbing salt into the wound. 

You want to be honest when telling them the bad news, but you also want to be nice. Sometimes, it can take careful thought and consideration in order to make that happen. If you want to save your relationship, it’s important that you go about this the right way after saying no to their marriage proposal. Giving yourself a break in between declining the marriage and having that honest conversation will allow you plenty of time to figure out how to be considerate towards your partner. 

8. End the interaction with a positive note

After breaking the news gently, you want to end the interaction on a positive note. It’s important to note that for those in a relationship it can still survive this. It won’t if you make the entire situation unpleasant. 

Offer them a gentle hug at the end of the conversation. Don’t end the hug with a kiss. Instead, walk your separate ways afterward. If they do not want a hug, respect that. 

You can also end the interaction by telling them that you still care about them. Inform them that you still want to be friends with them. Mention getting together later on, or tell them to call you later. Keep in mind that saying these things insinuates that the two of you are still going to be friends. If that’s not what you have in mind, you want to avoid these. 

9. Reject arranged marriage proposals to the parents

In an arranged marriage, the parents are the ones that want the marriage proposal. They are often the ones that select a suitable partner for their daughter, and they encourage the success of the marriage. 

This is also why you should tell them that you do not want to go through with the arranged marriage instead of telling the man or woman themselves. Not everyone is a fan of this type of relationship, and there is nothing wrong with that. 

However, speaking with the parents can also be done in addition to speaking with your potential partner. If you communicate with them frequently, you can break the news to them instead of their parents doing it. You can also call them after speaking with their parents to let them know. 

10. Explain that you don’t want to get married for the wrong reasons

An arranged marriage is a relationship that is often mutually beneficial for both families. While this is common in some cultures, it is rather uncommon in others. Because of this, people from other cultures are often on the refusing end of such marriage proposals. 

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When you say no to an arranged marriage, it may not be necessary to give any explanation. There are not as many emotions connected to these marriages, so feelings are often not hurt by the family. Politely reject the proposal and inform them that you would prefer to get married for love. 

11. If you despise the idea of marriage, tell them that

Sometimes, it has nothing to do with the person. We simply do not want to marry anyone. This is common in younger generations. Many people do not feel the need to formalize their union via a traditional marriage. Others may not like the idea of a divorce, so they reject the idea of marriage altogether. 

Often, couples will discuss this before a person is proposed to. However, there are exceptions. If your man or woman popped the question as a surprise, let them know why you do not want to marry them. Make sure that you inform them that the rejection has nothing to do with them as a person. 

12. Tell them you hope that they will accept your decision

tell them you hope that they will accept your decision

For every rejected proposal, there is one person that continues to hope there will be a change soon. They might try to win you over to the idea of marriage. Perhaps they’ll promise to make changes if you agree to marry them. Don’t fall for those manipulative tactics. Instead, stick to your decision, and encourage them to accept it. 

13. Talk things over about the future of the relationship

If you would still like to be with the other person, you’ll need to discuss your rejection. They may be understanding that marriage is not for everyone. On the other hand, they may realize that you’re not the one for them. 

It’s easy to misinterpret you rejecting a proposal as you rejecting the person. If you would like to continue your relationship with them, minus the marriage part, you need to communicate that. It’s important that you have an in-depth discussion regarding both the rejection and the future of your relationship. 

FAQs

How do you say no to someone when they propose?

You need to let them down gently. Tell them to stand up, look them in the eye, and let them know why you do not want to marry them. It’s important that you let him know that you’re flattered they proposed to you. Then, explain your reasoning. 

How do you refuse a proposal?

Politely tell the other person that you do not want to marry them, and kindly tell them why. Make sure that you are gentle in your approach to avoid hurting their feelings. After the talk, offer them a hug before going your separate ways. If you’re in a relationship, discuss the future together. 

Can a girl propose to a guy?

Yes, a girl can ask a guy to marry her. This is not as traditional, but most couples are steering away from traditional marriages, households and proposals today. To see how receptive your boyfriend will be, simply look at how traditional he is now. 

How do you say yes to a proposal?

You simply say yes. If you would like to elaborate, tell them that you would love to spend the rest of your life with them. Inform them of how much you love them. Let them know that you can’t wait to buy a house or start a family together

How do I propose to a boy?

Plan the proposal as you would like him to. Take him out to dinner or to see his favorite sports team. Consider going to a location that means a lot to both of you, such as the place of your first kiss or where you had your first date. The proposal should be all about the two of you as a couple. 

In Conclusion

When saying no to a proposal, it’s important to be both kind and honest. What other things would you add to the list?

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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