The heterosexual dating world is unbalanced. Women will get asked out more, and men are most likely the ones who’d pay for the privilege. Not just in buying meals and drinks, but also in terms of getting rejected more. That’s only logical if we are the ones doing most of the asking out. Ideally, when a man gets rejected he accepts it and moves on. The problem occurs when the woman, for one reason or another insists on remaining friends with the man whom she has just rejected.
A common reason would be if they have been friends for a long time and she feels the friendship would be wasted. I’m here to say that once the man had romantic feelings for the woman, that friendship no longer existed. Which is to say, he doesn’t view her as a friend anymore no matter what she thinks. So for the woman to insist on remaining friends is misguided at best, and selfish at worst.
Of course, saying “I hope we can still be friends” is a nice way to reject someone and if the guy can take a hint that will be the end of it. And if the girl is classy, then it is possible to maintain a friendship. I know because I speak from experience.
However not every guy can handle that because once a guy wants to be more than just friends, he can’t go back to just being friends that easily. And you insisting on it will make things worse. Again, I can also speak from experience – when I was rejected by this girl I couldn’t wait to not be her “friend” anymore.
Every situation is unique. It will depend on the guy and what has led up to the point of him confessing his feelings for you, and you rejecting him. Some guys can’t handle being just friends and seeing you with other men because it will hurt too much, while some don’t want to subject themselves to false hope whether or not you were leading him on.
So by all means, say “I hope we can remain friends” if you can’t bring yourself to be brutal with the rejection but don’t actually insist on it.