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 ?
But don't worry about wondering what to bring because if it's worthless we will let you down gently.
you She has obviously tested a few ways to let you down gently and you're not getting the message.
SD, Moseley AI THINK this man is trying to let you down gently.
If your friend really cares about you she'll either respond to your honesty or let you down gently.
So far he has tried to let you down gently but if you continue to pursue him I think you could be hurt quitebadly.
She sounds like a nice girl, so I'm sure that even if she doesn't want to date you, she'll let you down gently.
AMAYBE she was trying to let you down gently by saying she wanted to keep in touch and then less gently by ignoring your messages.
He might be trying to let you down gently by gradually reducing the time you spend together but it's not making it easier for you, is it?
I wanted to take you on a rollercoaster ride and then let you down gently at the end.
My guess is that when the woman told you she needed some time to herself she was trying to let you down gently.
It could either be because she doesn't want to hurt you again and wants to let you down gently or she's realised that if she had agreed to see you, it would be as foolish as it is dangerous.
Reading between the lines, I also think your former lover did her best to let you down gently.
In fact, it looks as if he was trying to let you down gently by using the distance thing as an excuse.