Polite Ways to Say You Don’t Like Something

Think of a supposedly fun activity that you hate doing.

For me it’s shopping. For you it might be hiking, watching reality TV, or singing karaoke.

Now imagine someone invites you to do that activity. How do you respond?

If you say, “I hate that,” or “I don’t like that,” you may come across as too harsh and direct.

This is because we often use one of the following polite expressions to tell someone that we don’t like something.

For more polite language, see How to be Polite in English.

I’m not (really) into …

Another variation of this expression is I never really got into it. We use these expressions to talk about movies, books, music, TV shows, and leisure activities. The word really is optional, but it helps soften our message.

If your classmate recommends that you read The Lord of the Rings (but you don’t like fantasy books), you might say:

“I’m not really into the fantasy genre. Do you have any other book recommendations?”

If  a friend asks if you want to listen to Taylor Swift (but you hate pop music), you could say:

“I never really got into her music. I think I’d rather listen to something else.”

If someone invites you on a week-long camping trip (but you dislike nature), you might respond with:

“I think I’ll pass. I’m not really into outdoor activities.”

If you want to tell your friends that this is not appealing to you, you could say “I’m not really into camping.” (Photo by piviso from Pixabay)

I’m (actually) not a big fan of …

This is another polite expression for communicating that we don’t like something. We can use this expression to talk about just about anything: books, movies, music, TV shows, activities, places, food, products, etc. The word actually is optional, but it helps make the expression less direct.

We can sometimes also use a noun before fan. We can say, for example, “I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise,” or “I’m not a big Tom Cruise fan.”

If someone invites you to go to New York City (but urban areas give you anxiety), you might say:

“I’m actually not a big fan of big cities. Thanks for inviting me, but I’m going to sit this one out.”

If some coworkers want to go to a new seafood restaurant for lunch (but you think seafood is gross), you could say:

“I’m actually not a big seafood fan. Any chance you want to go to a steakhouse instead?”

“No thanks. I’m actually not a fan of addictive chemicals.” (Photo by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay)

I’m not crazy about …

This is very similar to the previous expression. We can use it to politely communicate that we don’t like a variety of things.

If you are giving your classmate feedback on his essay (and the conclusion isn’t great), you might say:

“I think it’s a really solid essay, but I’m not crazy about your conclusion. I think we could reword it.”

If your best friend wants your opinion on the paint colors she’s picked out for her kitchen (and you feel like she’s on the wrong track), you might say:

“I’m not crazy about this neon green. Could we take a look at some other options?”

If you are watching a TV show that your coworker recommended (but you don’t like it so far), you might say to your coworker:

“I’m not crazy about it so far, but I’ll give it a few more episodes.”

Florida is a great place to live, but many residents aren’t crazy about all the alligators. (Photo by matmoe from Pixabay)

I’m more of a … person

We use this expression to politely say that we prefer something else.

We have a number of variations of this expression including:

I’m more of a … kind of person
I’m more of a … type of person
I’m more of a … type of girl/guy
I’m not a … person

If your friends invite you to see a horror movie (but you know you’ll have nightmares for weeks if you go), you might say:

“I’m more of a romantic comedy person. You guys have fun.”

If your neighbor asks you why you don’t want to pet her kittens (and you don’t like cats), you might say:

“I’m not a cat person. I’ve always had dogs.”

If your friend points out that Coke is on sale (but you prefer Pepsi), you might say:

“I’m more of a Pepsi guy. Coke just isn’t as good.”

A delicious meal, unless you’re not a seafood person. (Photo by NadineDoerle from Pixabay)

For more polite language, see How to be Polite in English.

By Bradford Jones

Hi, I'm Brad. I've spent the last seven years teaching English and creating websites for English learners and teachers. I recently moved from Costa Rica to Orlando, Florida, where I teach intensive English classes at a state college. If you'd like to contact me, I can be reached via email at bradfordcjones@gmail.com.