The Art of Rejection: How to NOT Give Out Your Phone Number

AKA how to proceed when you’re not interested and he’s not getting it.

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How not to give out your phone number, also known as the art of rejection and turning a man down when he wants your number

Everyone recognizes how difficult it is to deal with rejection, but many overlook the fact that having to reject someone can be equally as difficult. In college, there are inevitably going to be scenarios where a guy asks for your phone number and you’re not interested.

Allowing yourself to be guilted into giving out your personal information in order to avoid hurting someone’s ego is not the answer. Instead, try one of the strategies below to minimize the awkwardness the next time you want to withhold your digits:

Put Safety First

Say that you don’t feel comfortable sharing your personal information. This is the truth, and therefore the best place to start. 

You don’t have to mention the fact that you aren’t interested regardless. Explain that you’ve had negative experiences in the past and as a general rule, you don’t give out your phone number to anyone you don’t know well. This way, he won’t feel singled out and the rejection will feel less personal.

It would be nice if things stopped here, but unfortunately many guys can’t seem to take a hint and will continue to pressure you. Which brings us to…

Ask for His Phone Number Instead

If a guy will not let it go, ask for his phone number instead. You never have to call or text him, he doesn’t have your phone number, and he generally will be appeased for the time being.

Be cautious: this idea isn’t without its faults! I’ve been in situations where I thought this method was foolproof – until the guy decided to call himself from my phone after entering his number. To avoid this, make sure to always enter the information yourself.

Woman traveling alone and using her phone

Tell Him You Have a Significant Other

I’m not a big proponent of lying (unless of course, you do have a S.O.) but this method is one of the best ways to get a guy to leave you alone. 

If you say you have a significant other, most times he’ll back off immediately or at least respect your decision to withhold your phone number

Now, I personally think it’s disappointing that we even have to do this — why does a man respect another man’s “claim” to you more than he respects your choice? — but sometimes it’s necessary. Plus, in a list of tips on how to avoid giving out your number, I’d be remiss not to share something that works.

Tell Him to Find You Another Way

Between Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, e-mail and all of the other tech-based communication platforms out there today, there are plenty of ways to give him a means to contact you without actually giving him your phone number. I recommend this for situations in which you meet a guy who you might actually be interested in, but still don’t know that well. It’s a great way to leave the opportunity for communication open while maintaining a degree of distance.

You should be sure you kind of like him before you do this, though. Don’t allow someone you aren’t interested in to add you on social media because, although it may seem like a harmless compromise, giving out even the least bit of your personal information can lead to more awkward encounters in the future and can even be dangerous!

Just Say No

Some women have absolutely no problem turning people down without guilt, and I admire them for it. We should all strive to be these women. Sometimes just saying “no” is necessary. Being direct keeps your intentions clear and leaves no room for confusion or misinterpretation.

Girl using social media on her phone while holding a coffee

Additional Advice:

  • I do NOT recommend giving a guy a fake phone number. First of all, he’ll quickly realize what has happened, possibly while you’re still beside him, which leads to even more awkwardness. Secondly, you have no idea whose number you are actually giving out, and it’s rude to shift your burden onto a stranger.
  • Usually when a guy is going to ask for your number, there is some type of build-up. They might introduce themselves, compliment you, or tell you how they’re going to be oh-so-successful. When you see it coming, try not to have your phone out while he’s talking to you or he’ll likely use it as an invitation to ask for your number. Also, use body language to your advantage and do what you can to be polite, without furthering the conversation. Showing an attitude of disinterest can sometimes be enough to keep a guy from asking.
  • If the person asking for your number is someone that you’ll have to see again, it’s best to just be honest with them. Prolonging the situation will end up making things worse for everyone involved.

At the end of the day, you have the right to choose who you want to share your personal information with, and you shouldn’t have to apologize for your decisions. Never give out your phone number simply because you feel pressured. Try one of the techniques above or develop your own strategy.

What do you think?

How have you dealt with situations like this in the past? Let me know in the comments below!

25 thoughts on “The Art of Rejection: How to NOT Give Out Your Phone Number”

  1. Guys still ask for your number even when you get theirs first. Golden rule, if I girl hasn’t asked for your number she doesn’t want it. I think women can be afraid to give out their number if they don’t have a good excuse as some men can get really aggressive.

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  2. I think you should just say no if you’re not interested. You have no obligation to that guy to tell him if you have a boyfriend, lie or not. He should just respect your wishes and move on to a girl who maybe more interested <3

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  3. Thank you for this. In a perfect world, men would just respect us just not being interested, instead of us having to justify our lack of interest until he decides to back off. It sucks, it really does. However, I’m glad you wrote this, for people who still have a hard time saying NO outright. Not everyone is confident enough to do that yet. I’m glad you reiterated throughout that it is the MEN that have the problem, and that we should never apologize for not being interested. Nice article.

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  4. I’m one of the people who can get behind the whole “I have a boyfriend” line. Yes, guys are the one with the problem and I SHOULD be able to just say no, but my number one concern is my safety, not making a statement. One night when I was out with my friends a guy asked for my number and I said no. I tried to walk away but he grabbed my arm, so hard it left a bruise. My friends came over at that point and got me out of there. Maybe it would have turned out to be nothing but I was shaken. My friends have had it worse and I was there to witness it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be able to just say no because it is guys with the problem, but safety is more important in the moment.

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  5. How about we stop with all of the excuses and fakery and just tell the guy we’re not interested. Why is it our immediate go-to to say “I’ve got a boyfriend”? Why can’t we just be single and not interested?!
    Women have been making up excuses for far too long because men can’t seem to understand that maybe they are not entitled to our affection. A woman does not need a man to be complete. Just say “Thanks, but I’m not interested”. If he persists, just repeat the phrase. Sure, his ego may be hurt, but he’s got to grow up and realize that he is not entitled to our attention, affection, or interest.

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  6. I appreciate this post. And to all the ladies saying we should just be honest and say no, I tend to agree, but with all the things that have been going on when women say no to men recently, using a fake or real S.O. as an excuse doesn’t seem like the worst option.

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  7. My favorite is when I tell a guy I have a boyfriend (it’s not a lie, I actually do have a boyfriend) and his response is “so?” This has happened multiple times and each time I can’t even believe that someone would think that’s ok. Even if I was lying about being in a relationship, you look like a cheating jerk that I want nothing to do with.

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  8. Thank you for the advice! I had my first encounter just a few days ago and really knew nothing else but to quickly say no and walk away, although the guy was quite polite. However, I proceeded to get followed by his friends and bombarded with selfies with them >_< Next time, I will try to be more direct with my rejection, and maybe try to leave the building ASAP!

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  9. I work at a store in a mall and it happened to me once. Basically a guy came in with some of his friends and obviously mistook my politeness/customer service for something else…he proceeded to stay about a half hour after his friends left, I tried to be polite without telling him to straight up leave, he then left his number for me and asked me to text or call him. I thought phew he doesn’t have my number it’s fine this will be the end of it. It wasn’t. He showed up a couple weeks later, admitted to coming by the store a few days that week until my younger coworker was there to ask for my schedule (she gave it to him. brilliant) then he stayed for 2 hours at the store until my shift was finally done but not before asking me for my number (as if my lack of communication wasn’t enough to show him I wasn’t interested). I wish I’d read an article like this before all this happened, but basically I ended up giving it to him and when he texted me later that evening I told him nothing was going to happen. I realize now I should have definitely asked him to leave the store…it is hard to know how to do these things without sounding completely rude..especially when you are in such an awkward situation as being at work (if it had been a bar it would have made it easier. )

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  10. I hope your next article is targeted towards men and explains to them all the ways they should leave obviously uninterested women alone and learn to take no for an answer.

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  11. If you are not interested, tell the guy “No.” Nobody is entitled to your phone number, especially a stranger. You do not have to be rude, but you should be firm. It is not a good idea to lie about having a significant other for many reasons (for one, it is lying) but also because you have the right not to give out your phone number or any other information and the guy asking for your phone number should respect not only your decision but you as a person.

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  12. I really appreciate the intent behind this post but I can’t get behind the suggestion of saying “I have a boyfriend.” Not that it doesn’t work (it can certainly do the trick!) – I find it appalling to think that a guy would respect another guy being the reason he can’t have you rather than you just not being interested.

    I will suggest though, having a google voice number – I use mine for work personally. But it is a number that they CAN call you with…unless you block them, or delete your number.

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  13. Thanks for the advice! I never really knew how to avoid this without having the guy become too persistent about getting my number when I’m not interested. I used to just give them random numbers just to get them to leave me alone, but I never actually thought about how that shifts the burden to someone else. I will definitely use this advice in the future!

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  14. Never been in this situation myself, but I guess I’d just say “No, sorry, I barely know you and I don’t give my number to just anyone”. If he insists, be adamant, “I SAID NO, PISS OFF.” I know, I know, it depends on the context. But maybe it’s a cultural thing because in my country guys don’t get violent so easily when they’re rejected. It happens, but not so often that girls need to invent a whole system of excuses to not give someone their freking number.

    But, if you’re feeling REALLY pressured, just give him a wrong number on purpose. Like really, how come nobody has thought of this? I learned this trick on a novel when I was 13. Then when he calls and some stranger answers “no we don’t know who you’re talking about, wrong number” and angrily hungs up on him, it’s just like “oops! I guess I’m a little dyslexic.”

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  15. I don’t usually comment on blogs. But, I find this post so useful. Thank you so much.

    I hope you guys make a series like this, helping girls out of awkward situations not only with guys, but people in general.

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  16. The reason some girls just can’t say no outright is because they’re rightfully fearing for their safety. A girl got murdered recently because she rejected a guy’s invitation to prom. Countless women get assaulted, stalked, or worse for not giving the guy what he wants, no matter how ridiculous and unwarranted the situation is.
    Girls, you’re not being cowardly or scheming for trying to find other ways out of the situation. Your safety comes first! Let’s look out for each other and recognize that the situation can be a little more serious than we think at first glance.

    “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” – Margaret Atwood

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  17. I love this! I think some of these comments are way off the mark- we all can agree its insane that a hypothetical mans claim is a better deterrent than your disinterest, but its important to know that that’s what works!
    And of course its important for men to know not to harass women, but college fashion is clearly a site catering to women..a post for men would be kind of ridiculous.
    Thanks for reminding us that it’s ok to say no, and that the most important thing is safety!

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  18. thank you college fashion for this post.

    we all know and understand that we shouldn’t have to come up with these excuses, and that men should know better. but the reality is that my safety is more important in that moment than trying to prove a point to one guy who wants my number. its nice having alternate things to say and do so they’ll leave you alone as quickly as possible. safety first.

    this site is very clearly marketed towards college-aged women so an entire post directed at guys will likely be unseen by many of them. i appreciate CF’s attention to real-world issues, and in the meantime we can all continue taking steps to educate everyone about respecting everyone else’s boundaries, both male and female.

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  19. While I agree that it’s unfortunate that one of the only ways to get a guy to back off (if it even works) is to say you’re basically someone else’s (ick), social anxiety is real and it makes everything difficult. So these other ideas are very helpful. I’d love to be able to tell someone that I’m not interested, but it’s not that simple for everyone. Thanks for the post.

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  20. I desperately need help right now. I met this guy a few weeks ago, we are both attending the same class. He didn’t show up in class this week, and right after class he facebook messaged me, asking for my phone number to ask me some things. I told him to contact me through social media as I am using a prepaid phone. But he insists that I give him my phone number and he will call me. I am reluctant to give him my phone number but at the same time, he is my classmate and I don’t really want to cut all ties with him. Please help me…..

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    • I am going through this same type of situation and i understand your reluctance as i also feel this way. Honestly, social media should be plenty for him to get the information he needs about the class he missed. U should stand your ground polietly. Tell him the truth and if he needs further help meet him in a public place. Most likely he is just freaked about missing class and frantic about missed info. Be careful just in case! Good luck.

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  21. A great tip someone taught me if the guy was persistent was to just add the number in their phone yourself but change the very last number so that if you do happen to see them again or they try to call you, you could just say that your finger slipped when typing. Having said this I still think being honest is best but sometimes safety does come first.

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