It’s a thing I use to gently let people down when they’re obviously pushing for something I’m not into.
Sometimes it’s too hard or scary to directly tell a suitor that you’re not interested – maybe he or she is a friend, maybe he or she is part of your professional circle, etc. – so learning to clearly state your feelings without hurting someone’s feelings can be an important method for social interaction, romantic or otherwise.
This isn’t to say that you can’t say no. SAY NO. But you don’t have to be harsh about it. You can say, “No, thanks, I’m not interested,” or “That sounds super fun, and I hope you have a great time with everyone,” or (if you’re involved with someone) “I’m involved with someone, so I’m not looking for anything with anyone else” – or just say, “I’m not looking for that” without adding on any commentary about why that person isn’t eligible to date you.
Here’s the thing: it’s hard enough for some of us to leave the house and interact with anyone at all, so it might be even harder to bluntly say no.
Distancing language, used to express honesty but in a way that does not offend or shame the other person, can be helpful in managing social situations that might cause anxiety. It’s something I rely on, and the reason that people who may have pursued me in the past are still friends.
Let’s face it: I’d rather have someone as a friend forever because I was kind in my honesty, as opposed to offending someone simply because I didn’t have the time to respect them as a human when turning them down.