How To Deal With Rejection
Getting turned down is never easy, but we all get a “No” sometime in our lives. Here are some strategies to weather the storm of rejection.
Getting turned down or rejected is never easy. Being rejected can bring up uncomfortable feelings: you may feel ashamed, unattractive, or undesirable. It takes strength to put yourself out there.
That being said, we all get rejected at some point in our lives; it’s a right of passage and an opportunity to learn and grow. So what are some strategies we can use to brace ourselves against the possibility of getting turned down?
Accept That You Might Get A “No”
Walk into a situation with realistic expectations. Whether it’s a stranger at a bar or a friend you’ve been crushing on, steel yourself for the possibility that they might respond with a “No, thanks.” In that case, you’ve just saved yourself a lot of time and energy finding out it wasn’t the right match from the get-go.
Walk into a situation with realistic expectations … steel yourself for the possibility that they might respond with a “No, thanks.”
Keeping that in mind, you never know how someone is going to react until you ask, so why not pump yourself up and try? After that you’ll know, and you can either move forward or move on.
What To Say If You Get Turned Down
Remain calm! You could smile and say something like, “No worries, just thought I’d ask,” or “Oops, I didn’t know you were already seeing someone! Have a good night.”
Getting turned down might have nothing to do with you, so get ready to brush it off! What might sound like an excuse or a cliche could be the truth, or they may not be ready to disclose their truth to you in that moment. For instance, maybe they’re working on themselves or going through something. They might not be ready to tell you all the details of their recent messy breakup, their family struggles, or what-have-you.
It could also be possible that this person checked their manners at the door, or never learned them in the first place. In that case, congratulations, you just dodged a bullet and you’re better off continuing on your way.
Maybe there isn’t a specific moment of rejection; maybe they just stopped responding to you over text or on a dating app (aka ghosting). Again, this could have NOTHING to do with you, and it’s definitely not an isolated incident.
Ghosting: this kind of thing happens to darn near everyone who’s ever used a dating app.
This kind of thing happens to darn near everyone who’s ever used a dating app. It’s possible they could have gotten overloaded with projects at work, met someone else, or maybe they just dropped their phone in the toilet.
Getting Stood Up
The same goes for getting stood up on a date. That person may have gotten cold feet, be struggling with anxiety, or maybe they’re discouraged from previous first dates for some reason. All that to say, it’s a bummer, but it’s most likely their problem, not yours.
How To Get Back On Your Feet After A Rejection
Some say healing post-rejection takes one week for how many months you were involved with someone (i.e. involved for five months = healing for five weeks). However, there is no right way to heal after a breakup or rejection.
Sometimes people close to you may want to give you advice but they end up projecting their own unrelated experiences onto you. Just remember, all your feelings after the fact are valid, and it’s up to you to decide what balance of processing versus distraction you need.
If you’re having a hard time with that balance, think about this:
- What would you say to a friend in a similar situation? Have you tried saying it to yourself in the mirror?
- When was a time you were rejected non-romantically? How did you deal with it then? Who did you turn to for comfort?
- Where can you focus your emotional energy? What hobbies or other friendships can you focus on?
- Try not to compare yourself to others. You have a unique experience that you will process on your own time and in your own way.
It’s kind of amazing that we’re all constantly growing in our personalities, identities, and goals, and somehow we manage to cross someone’s path at the right place and time to build some kind of connection. Life isn’t like the movies; relationships don’t usually start like a rom com. Relationships take work, and we can all benefit from learning how to define the relationship you want. Remember: there is no correct age to have met a serious partner or a soulmate. Better to find the right person than force an imperfect connection.
Myths and facts
Setting the record straight.
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Is It A Date Or A Friend Hangout?
Have you ever wondered: are we on a date? Did they just invite me on a date? Or are we just hanging out as friends? It’s not always clear, read on for tips to figure out where things are at.
You’ve been hanging out with someone new, someone cool, maybe even someone you have a bit of a crush on. But is your time together just a hang, or something more? Let’s discuss how to read the signs, send the right signals, and have an honest discussion about what you both need and want.
Reading The Signs And Signals
There’s no foolproof way to know if someone is interested in you as a friend or as a potential romantic or sexual partner. To make matters more complicated, feelings can change! You or your friend might be interested, but not know where you want to take things yet. As you both explore how you feel, it can be hard to ask or be asked what your feelings are.
Some signals are easier to read than others.
Some signals are easier to read than others. If your friend finds little ways to be affectionate - touching your shoulder while complimenting your jacket, a hug held a beat longer than it needs to - or if their compliments tend towards the physical, that can be a good indication they’re interested in you, physically.
But then again, touch or praise aren’t always a sign of sexual desire. Lots of signs that scream “crush!” to some people can say “considerate friend!” to others.
The best way to know if someone is giving you a signal that they’re interested in being more than friends is by getting to know them. If you haven’t known them long, observe how they spend time with you.
Is your time together different than when they hang out with other friends? Do they come up with nice activities for the two of you to do alone? Do they talk about other crushes or dates?
Still not sure? There’s only one way to find out: ask them!
Is This A Date, Or…?
Your first step is knowing what you want. Do you want it to be a date? Have an idea about what you want from the other person, even if it’s just to go slow, and about what level of clarity you need to feel comfortable hanging out with them.
Remember that you want to avoid miscommunication, so keep it short and sweet and as direct as possible: is this a date?
“Is this a date?”
You can acknowledge that the situation is a little awkward but you’re having a nice time and want to be on the same page. And if your time together is over and you’re on your way home still wondering if it was a date, now is the best time for a post-hang text: I had a great time and I’d love to go out with you again.
Setting up an actual day and time to meet up instead of a generic “let’s do it again sometime” sends the sign that you’re interested in more than a casual hang.
Bottom line: if you’re not sure whether or not you’re on a date, ask!
Have A Crush On An Old Friend?
You hang out together all the time, talk and text constantly, and feel like you ‘get’ each other. Maybe you start having feelings you never had before: romantic or sexual fantasies, pangs of jealousy if they go on a date with someone else, sudden nerves when it’s time to say good night.
As with finding out where you stand with new friends, having a clarifying conversation with an old friend about where things are going can be equally uncomfortable. Ultimately, the stress of not knowing where things stand can be worse than the stress of having the talk.
You can acknowledge that the situation is a little awkward.
Before you talk, have an idea of what you might want to try with your friend (a date? a kiss?) and how you want to proceed if they’re not interested (still be friends? take some space?)
It’s normal to start feeling like you want more, but it’s also normal if your friend wants to keep things as they are. Maybe you have a romantic future ahead of you—or maybe you’ll have something to laugh about together years down the line.
No matter what the context, it’s always a good idea to know how you’ll respond depending on what they say. Imagining their response can help clarify your own feelings, too. It never hurts to ask, so ask yourself how you feel before you ask someone else what they want.