“I’m not feeling it but I would like to be friends.” is up there with my least favorite sentences of all time. It’s variations of this that are meant to let one down gently and often the other person genuinely would like to be friends.
But you know what? You don’t have to be friends after getting rejected. In fact, I don’t recommend it.
I know it sounds really mean but sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and look out for your own best interest. As it happens the person who just rejected you was also looking out for his/her best interest. It’s perfectly fair and perfectly reasonable to walk away from even friendship in this instance. You don’t owe that person anything.
Think about it this way: That person is probably going to go on to date someone else. Do you really want to stick around and score yourself a front row seat to the new relationship? My guess is that this does not sound appealing.
It would be really difficult to stand by while the person you were developing feelings for falls for someone else. (Ick!) And there’s no rule that states you have to put yourself through that brand of potential torture. You’ve suffered enough as it is. Let him/her go. Entirely.
There’s also the fact that you need to give yourself permission to move on. While you and this person are in contact, you’ll have a more difficult time allowing yourself to get your emotions under control. You might harbor hope that he/she will eventually come around. You might still keep yourself from dating other people while you’re friends with the one who rejected you.
It’s OK to move on.