September 24, 2019

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.
Written by
Megan Healy
Published on
September 24, 2019
Updated on
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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.

Getting Ghosted

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.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Megan Healy is a queer sex-positive kink-friendly social justice advocate with a passion for sexual assault crisis counseling, comprehensive sex education, and petting cats. She one day dreams of handing out business cards labeled "Certified Sexpert."

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