She Just Wants To Be Friends: Should I Give Up Trying To Date Her?

Updated April 5, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

To be blunt: yes, if someone indicates that they do not have a romantic interest in you and that they are just being friendly, you should probably respect that decision. It’s not always easy to do so, but trying to change someone’s mind or pressure them into making a different choice seldom does anything but push them even further away. Saying “no” means “no,” and just as you may not be able to control your feelings toward your friend, we can’t force others to feel a certain way about us. Rejection can often make us feel angry, sad, frustrated, or betrayed, especially when we’ve put ourselves in a vulnerable position. But there are ways to manage your emotions and begin to move on. 

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo
Therapy can be a great source of support and guidance

She just wants to be friends

When dating a friend goes bad and she just wants you to be a friend, that's okay. She has the right to make that decision. That doesn't mean that you have to stop being friends, as long as your romantic actions haven't made the other person upset or scared.

What it means is that, for her sake and yours, you should give up trying to date her.

Why me?

It's probably not just you. Your friend might have a dozen reasons why she's not interested in a more-than-friends relationship right now. Perhaps she's not attracted to people of your gender, she's focusing on her career or education, or she simply values your platonic relationship, etc. It’s also possible that she doesn’t view you as a potential romantic partner, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t value you, care about you, or want the best for you. 

It can be important to remember, though, that your friend doesn’t need to have a reason you might deem acceptable. Expecting romantic or sexual attraction in return for friendship can be toxic, both for you and the people you care about. So, maybe it is you in the sense that your friend doesn’t like you as more than a friend. But that’s okay. Viewing this as a sign you’re lacking something may overlook your friend’s right to feel the way she does and hurt your own self-esteem.

If you’re really not sure what’s going on and feel you need to talk about it, consider doing just that. You never know until you ask. If you are already friends, she may feel comfortable enough to give you an honest answer. 

It might also help to take a step back and ask yourself why you might feel the way you do – did you think she felt the same way and are now embarrassed? Are you upset by the idea of her being with someone else? Do you feel like she ought to just give you a chance so you can prove yourself? Getting to the root of your feelings might help you figure out how to tackle them so you can begin to move on.

Reasons to give up

The idea of "giving up," as if you are failing at something, might seem like the wrong thing to do. However, the perspective that giving up is the same as losing is not necessarily correct. But how can you know when to give up on a girl

A friend, or perhaps any other human being, deserves your respect and understanding. In most cases, it can be best to give up trying to date her, especially once she's made it clear that she's not interested, because it's better for both of you.

Below are some reasons you might want to move on rather than doubling down if a friend has said she’s interested in being friends only.

It's what she wants

This has to be reason number one. Everyone deserves the right choose who they don't want to date. If she doesn't want to date you, it can be vital to respect that.

She's your friend

That brings us to reason number two: she's your friend. You probably learned a long time ago that sometimes we need to compromise to keep our friends.

If you like her, be glad that she still wants to be friends, and remember that she probably won't want to be friends if you keep pursuing a romantic relationship with her against her wishes.

It's good for you

Reason three is also about your benefit. If you're ready for a relationship and she's not interested, you're more likely to find someone who actually is if you stop trying to date her.

It is not always easy to be rejected, but ultimately you are also avoiding more distress for yourself by respecting her wishes from the get-go. Opening your mind to finding interested people will probably speed things along for you. Going after her is probably just preventing you from forming meaningful relationships with other people.

Getty/Luis Alvarez

What if she changes her mind?

If you give up temporarily in the hopes that she'll come around, you haven't given up.

There is a chance that she might change her mind, but it does not mean you should keep pursuing her until she does or give up on other opportunities for meaningful connection just because you are waiting for a sign that may never come. If she changes her mind and you are still interested in dating her, that would be great, but you cannot rely on that and can hurt yourself by refusing to move forward with your life.

You should be open to the idea of other relationships. This is one way to test your friendship. If you can stay friends, you'll likely be able to maintain healthy relationships with other people while still being friends with her.

What to do

Remember to care for your own emotional needs and mental health.

Here are some ways that you can make sure that your needs are being met.

Focus on yourself

As mentioned above,  one reason your friend may not want a relationship is to focus on herself. It probably wouldn't hurt you to do the same.

That doesn't mean that you have to commit to staying out of relationships; it just means that maybe you're putting too much emphasis on finding one. Building your confidence and putting the time and energy you may be investing in your friend into yourself can help you feel a lot better. Plus, you may even attract someone new.

Spend time with friends

A lot of people are interested in romantic relationships for support. However, this support can come from non-romantic relationships, too. It might help to focus on this type of friendship and let your friends feel you appreciate their support. Spread love and find ways to show "I love my friends."

Creating more meaningful relationships in your life may not only satisfy some of the emotional needs that you might associate with romantic relationships; it could also make you better at romantic relationships once you find one.

Therapy can be a great source of support and guidance

Keep looking

As we've mentioned, giving up on trying to date your friend doesn't mean you need to give up dating. After all, looking for a new partner can be a fun and exciting experience.

Just consider looking in new places, maybe with people that you don't already know. And remember, if you need a romantic relationship to be happy, you may need to spend time learning to be happy with yourself.

Break it off

You shouldn't jump to the conclusion that if she doesn't date you, you shouldn't be friends. However, if you decide that your feelings for her are so strong that you can't be her friend while respecting her wishes, distancing yourself might be the right thing to do.

Further, you may find that maintaining your friendship with her makes it difficult for you to have meaningful relationships with other people, and that's not good for anyone.

If you decide to stop being her friend, it can be important to explain why you feel like it's necessary. If she can be strong enough to tell you that she can't date you, she should likely be strong enough to hear that you can't be her friend, especially if your reasons for not being friends are noble and honest.

Talk to a therapist

To be clear, just because your friend didn't want to date you doesn’t mean that there's something wrong with you.

However, as mentioned above, if you feel a strong need for a relationship, it could be a sign that you need emotional guidance that you aren't already getting. A therapist may be able to offer that support.

Talk to a relationship therapist

You're probably thinking, "can't go to a relationship therapist, I'm not in a relationship, remember?" However, remember that you don't need to have a mental illness to see a therapist, so you don't need to have a partner to see a couple’s counselor.

Just like talking to a therapist can still help anyone become a happier and healthier person, talking to a relationship counselor without being in a relationship can help you to understand what you want from a partnership. It may also help you start on the path to building a strong and healthy relationship with someone right for you.

Finding support

Talking to a relationship counselor can give you a chance to unpack how you feel and the best ways to handle your friendship moving forward. But between overhead costs, gas payments, childcare fees, and whatever else might apply to you, in-person therapy can be pricey. That’s where online therapy services can come in handy – you can speak to a licensed professional for an affordable price, all from the comfort of your own home.

Studies show that online therapy options can be an effective way to support those who pursue them. It’s also been demonstrated that online therapy can be more cost-effective for clients than traditional therapy. If you think you might benefit from having someone to talk to who understands what you’re experiencing, consider speaking to an online counselor. 


Overall, perhaps the best thing to do is to respect your friend's wishes and stop trying to pursue a romantic relationship with her, if that isn't what she wants. This doesn't mean that your emotional needs have to be ignored. You are allowed to have feelings for your friend and about this situation, but there are likely healthier and more productive ways for you to deal with those feelings than pursuing her.

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