Q: After a night of drinking, I hooked up with a girl I know, and now I’m afraid she wants more. How do I let her down easily?

A: First of all, don’t assume she wants more, just because she’s a girl and “girls always want relationships.” Please.

But if she’s acting like she expects something from you that you’re not prepared to give her? The best thing you can do is be clear you’re not interested. (And no, being clear doesn’t mean ignoring her texts, especially if she’s a girl you’re likely to see socially.)

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A lot of guys who want to “let a girl down easy” botch it by being overly flattering and giving a girl a wishy-washy rejection, which just leaves her confused. And being confused is actually worse than being rejected. “You’re awesome, and I’m totally attracted to you, I just don’t want to be in anything serious right now”—explanations along these lines do not work! It either leaves the girl hanging (maybe if I keep hooking up with him he’ll want something later?) or annoyed at your B.S. (aren’t we past the “it’s not you it’s me” conversations?).

Of course, you don’t want to be callous, so I wouldn’t tell her point blank, “The other night was a drunk mistake.” But you can be clear without being overly hurtful. Stick to what you want, not what you think she might want, because any mention of “not wanting to disappoint her” or “hurt her feelings” is just going to make her feel bad. Say something along the lines of: “I have no idea what you’re feeling about what happened between us, but I want to be clear up front and say that I want to stick to being just friends.” Or, if it’s not someone you’re friends with, give her a very simple: “I don’t want us to be romantically involved.”

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I know, this may sound a little harsh. But the problem with the ever so popular “I don’t want a relationship” line is that it leaves the door open. Do you want to date and see where it goes? Do you want to hook up again? Do you want a go-to booty call? The nicest thing you can do for her is set clear expectations about what you feel and what you want.

And the second nicest thing you can do is…refrain from texting her next weekend at 1:30am to “see what she’s up to.”

ABOUT THE HOT GIRL: Amber Madison is an author, lecturer, sex and relationship expert and dating coach. She has appeared on MTV, VH1, The Today Show, NPR, The Early Show, The Bill Cunningham Show; has been quoted in Newsweek, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan; and writes a dating column for The Metro.