let (one) down gently

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let (one) down gently

To deliver bad news to someone in the kindest or least upsetting way possible. When you tell Ed that somebody already asked you to the dance, please let him down gently. I tried to let Susan down gently, but she burst into tears nonetheless.
See also: down, gently, let

let someone down gently

seek to give someone bad news in a way that avoids causing them too much distress or humiliation.
See also: down, gently, let, someone
References in periodicals archive ?
I have to let them down gently or even, if they are being really persistent, walk away or tell them to get lost.
25 per min SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov 22 Ever yone wants a piece of you but if you don't have time for them right now let them down gently.
Just type in the name of the person you want to ditch and two reasons why you want to leave them and they will come up with a song to let them down gently.
If you're not interested, let them down gently - it's kinder than letting them wait for a phone call that will never come.
Sometimes victims can unwittingly encourage their behaviour by feeling sorry for them and trying to let them down gently.
Manager Graham Gooch tried to let them down gently, saying that they could still have a part to play in the World Cup .
We let them have their five minutes, then we let them down gently.
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