Last week’s post was about how to let people down gently. If you haven’t read this already, I urge you to do so. If everyone followed this advice, there would be a much healthier dating arena, one where people could be built up, rather than torn down.

However, this week’s post is about what to do when you have let them down gently, and they don’t react well.

To recap, Sondra reluctantly went out with a guy ‘to be polite’. Quite quickly, she confirmed that this wasn’t someone with whom she wanted to spend more time. Sondra is a nice person, so she didn’t want to hurt his feelings and tell him that she wasn’t interested. She called upon some girlfriends for advice.

This is what she said, ‘‘I was asking some girlfriends about what to do. One advised to be aloof, another said not to respond again, another said to tell him that I met up with my ex during the week, and I think it’s back on with him, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to meet.’

These solutions might seem like the easiest way for Sondra’s friends to get out of situations that they don’t want to deal with, but none of these suggestions are about treating someone with kindness and respect.  I shared with Sondra the best way to do it, and she followed my advice. (I love it when that happens!). However, the guy didn’t react well…

First he tried to ‘hook’ her in, by sending numerous texts, asking unnecessary questions about her decision. Then he posted passive aggressive sayings on instagram about how people don’t recognise something special when they see it, etc.

And yes, within reason (!), a person is allowed to react however they’d like. You can’t control anyone’s actions except your own. The beauty is that if you are true to yourself in the first place and listen to what you really want, and you treat people with kindness and respect, even if it doesn’t seem like the easiest way for you, then their reaction doesn’t affect you. You can see that their behaviour is simply their ‘stuff’ coming out.

A fire can’t get bigger without oxygen, so I advised Sondra not to react and give the situation anymore of hers. She deleted his number and broke off all forms of social media contact.

You can’t control anyone’s reactions but your own.  but you certainly don’t need to take on other people’s issues as your own. When acting from a place of kindness, you have the clarity and, subsequently, the freedom, to not have to take on other peoples’ issues.