How will a hypothetical 22 year old feel if he has developed some romantic sentiment for a young person (classmate) aged 20, but she unknowingly said that 'I will be your sister always.'

Context: This is very much a generic case. It is very common in India (especially among classmates) to say 'I will be your brother/sister' which basically means there is no chance of any romance. In this case this person had not even started to express his sentiment, but it is already finished. How will he feel? I have considered some common words like disappointment...

sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one's hopes or expectations.

Source: Google

...but I am yet to get that word that feels 'just right' to express how he will be feeling.

What is a single word or phrase for that feeling?

Model sentence for SWR:

In this situation he felt ____ (adjective/noun)

Other ideas are also welcome, as in phrases or idioms.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 1:49

9 Answers 9


It is to be sad and disappointed in one go.

1. dejected; dispirited; discouraged.

Other options include:

sad and depressed

1. depressed in spirits; disheartened; low-spirited

displeased due to a failing in expectations

adjective 1. depressed or discouraged by the failure of one's hopes or expectations
to defeat the fulfillment of (hopes, plans, etc.); thwart; frustrate

  • Excellent options, thank you very much @gabe3886 -- I had considered 'disappointed' to begin with; both dejected and (especially) crestfallen fit the case. Not I, but some other members might insist that you include some standard dictionary definitions and links for these suggestions, and I would agree it strengthens your answer when read by a reader not very familiar with the use of these terms; also useful for somebody interested in the fine differences in meaning. Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 8:22
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    @EnglishStudent I've updated the content of the answer to include links and terms
    – gabe3886
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 9:51
  • Very nice, @gabe3886, and I upvote! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 9:52
  • I think crestfallen especially captures going from a high (excitement about the potential outcomes) to a low, more so than the others which just emphasise the low.
    – Samthere
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 10:58
  • To whoever downvoted me, can you let me know why so I can contribute to the community in a better way? If the answer can be improved, let me know so it can benefit everyone
    – gabe3886
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 8:03

In simple words, rejection is what is actually felt. But consider these terms:

Friendzoned (or brotherzoned, in this case)

Although, not a term for the feeling per se, the concept is, in popular culture, referred to as getting friendzoned, where your love for someone is not reciprocated, and instead they say something along the lines of "I consider you as a good friend, and nothing more".

Read about friend zone on Wikipedia, and similar slang expressions on Urban Dictionary.

  • 1
    FRIENDzone, @NVZ, as in 'boxed into the endzone' -- "dreaded situation [for] the rejected person", says the linked wiki: "the sense of zone is one of being stuck in an unwanted and distant relationship." -- thanks for the tip -- new word indeed for a very old concept! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 12:04
  • I meant 'as in endzone' which is the scoring BOX at each end of the field in American Football -- possibly a case of mixed metaphors: but a player cannot ordinarily run into the endzone, not until the proper game situation occurs, which is what I was referring to! Boxed into the friendzone: as bad as the fridge/ freezer. Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 12:10
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    +1 'Rejection' is a very good option for 'that feeling.' Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 14:22

You could say "His hopes were dashed."

4 a : (ruin, destroy) "the news dashed his hopes"

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    many thanks for the suggestion -- I had forgotten 'hopes...dashed' and am now reminded of old novels that used this expression: "his hopes were dashed by the cruel caprice of fickle Chance, etc..." upvote! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 11:42

In British English the most likely choice here would be the term gutted - as in having your guts ripped out.

From Cambridge Dictionary:

Gutted - extremely disappointed and unhappy: He was gutted when she finished the relationship.

  • Top suggestion -- I had forgotten this expression but now remember hearing it on TV from cricket and rugby union -- we were gutted to lose by 1 run... upvote! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:17

I guess there isn't a universal one-word-fits-all answer to this question, as it would depend on how the individual person feels. I would assume that most people would feel some sort of displeasure, but that could be sadness, anger, depression, annoyance, etc. Their feelings could also be aimed at different people. It could be aimed at themselves (because they might feel they could have done something differently that would have changed this person's mind), it could be aimed at someone else, or it could not be aimed at anyone or anything. Therefore there are many options, below are just a few (you may also like to look up some of these words, and those given by other answers in a thesaurus to find other potential options):

  • Frustrate verb, Frustration noun, Frustrated adjective

    Feeling annoyed or less confident because you cannot achieve what you want - Cambridge Dictionary

    Especially appropriate for this situation because it can be used to describe an emotion that cannot be expressed. It can be used as a verb to describe her actions with respect to him (she had frustrated his advances), as a noun to define his feelings (his pent-up frustration seethed inside him) or as an adjective to describe his feelings (his frustrated love for her).
    It is possibly less appropriate if he is feeling more sad or depressed and not at all annoyed, as frustrated implies some sense of annoyance.

  • Unsatisfied adjective

    If you are unsatisfied with something, you are disappointed because you have not got what you hoped to get. - COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

    It doesn't necessarily imply much sadness, depression or annoyance, more of a neutral way of expressing his displeasure at the situation. E.g. He was left unsatisfied with the knowledge that she wanted to be his sister.

  • Disheartened verb or adjective

    If you are disheartened, you feel disappointed about something and have less confidence or less hope about it than you did before. - COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

  • Discouraged verb

    to deprive of courage or confidence - Merriam-Webster

    Dishearten and discourage can be fairly synonymous, and could be used to describe a lack of confidence or hope with regards to the situation. E.g. He was disheartened by her lack of interest.
    Discourage is also often used to describe one person attempting to dissuade another from doing something. E.g. She discouraged him from even attempting to woo her.

  • Unrequited adjective

    If love that you feel for someone is unrequited, it is not felt in the same way by the other person - Cambridge Dictionary

    Not used to describe his feelings particularly, but more to describe the situation - of her not reciprocating his feelings. E.g. His unrequited love for her left him feeling frustrated.

  • Thank you very much, @SteveES for this detailed answer giving some very good suggestions from various angles. Frustration as also being disheartened comes as a consequence of the situation itself: the element of irony was something that struck me even more, as in one type of sentiment has been 'requited' with another, very different sentiment, which also leads to frustration -- this is a form of reality to which a person is forced to get adjusted without alternative. Such archetypical situations make us think,and I want 'the most representative word' -- a very good answer which I upvote! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 10:03

In this situation he felt heartbreak

(dictionary.com) 1. great sorrow, grief, or anguish.
(M-W) crushing grief, anguish, or distress

Consider also:

In this situation he was heartbroken

(dictionary.com) 1. crushed with sorrow or grief.
(M-W) overcome by sorrow

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I had considered 'heart broken' suggested by Phil14 in comments, but felt it was too strong for the case; however a person who was just developing strong romantic sentiments might well experience heartbreak! I upvote. Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 16:16
  • I noticed that comment after I posted, and I thank you for your reconsideration and upvote. I'm sure I'm not alone in stating that I have absolutely felt heartbroken in this exact scenario at least once in my life.
    – vynsane
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 16:19
  • Very nice answer @vynsane, for coming from personal experience. You are welcome. We all know 'that feeling' dont we! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 16:26

I'm not 100% sure if this is the correct intent, but "disillusioned" could be a good choice, considering that there was some sort of expectation behind the cause of the negative emotion.

dis·il·lu·sioned ˌdisəˈlo͞oZHənd/Submit adjective disappointed in someone or something that one discovers to be less good than one had believed. "the minority groups were completely disillusioned with the party" synonyms: disenchanted, disabused, disappointed, let down, discouraged;

  • I shall be considering these excellent options, @jmarkyston, most of which fit my case -- thanks for the suggestions! Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:38

I've always been partial to despondent:

de·spond·ent /dəˈspändənt/


feeling or showing profound hopelessness, dejection, discouragement, or gloom: despondent about failing health.

Synonyms: disheartened, discouraged, dispirited, downhearted, downcast, crestfallen, down, low, disconsolate, despairing, wretched;


  • Thanks for all these synonyms of 'despondent' -- the sentiment of hopelessness has been high in my priority to describe this situation, as in, he thinks, 'there will be no progress with this one.' Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 22:27

Probably that person is feeling blindsided.



2 [USUALLY PASSIVE] to give someone an unpleasant surprise by doing something that they were not expecting
Investors claimed they had been blindsided by recent changes in the tax laws.

  • Thanks! Blindsided is very good for the situation -- the last thing he would have been expecting -- came out of left field? Took the wind out of his sails? An unpleasant surprise indeed! +1 Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 15:54

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