The sting of rejection · 8/10/2007

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Unless you have really thick skin, nearly all rejection has a little sting. Even from someone you aren’t really interested in!

If you email a guy and he responds, even with a nice “Thank you, but we’re not a match,” that has a mosquito-size sting. You’re over it in a nanosecond. You might not even notice.

If you’ve talked on the phone and he either doesn’t call again, or sends an email saying he doesn’t feel a spark, that hurts a little bit too. Like hitting your elbow on your desk. You barely notice.

You go out to dinner with someone after a nice phone conversation. You have an enjoyable time, although you are thinking he’s a very nice guy, but you’re not feeling a spark. However, you have been advised that often there isn’t a spark until the second or even third date, so you’re willing to have another encounter. At the end of the date he hugs you and gives you a quick kiss on the lips.

You send him a nice email thanking him for dinner, telling him the qualities you liked in him, and saying you’re open to another outing if he’d like. You get a nice email in response saying he could see you as a friend, but there was no romantic spark.

Ouch. Not a big ouch, but an ouch. It stings a little even though you didn’t feel drawn to him. Why does it smart a little? You knew there wasn’t a big draw on your side, so why should it hurt at all?

My theory: Because it was he who said “there’s no attraction,” not you. Silly, in a way, because the end result is the same. So why does it matter who pointed out the pink elephant in the living room? Neither of you felt “it” so why should it sting at all? Heck, this was much less painful than dental work, stubbing your toe hard, or falling off your bike. But the ego gets a tiny bruise just the same.

But I think most of us would rather have some closure, even if there’s some brief discomfort, rather than not hear anything.

The key is to not wallow in the pain. Feel it, notice it, and then move on. Remind yourself that it is good that this happened now, as you could have wasted time thinking about and trying to set up another encounter when there really wasn’t a spark. Let it go.

bandaidPut a bandaid on your ego, if necessary, and move on. Athletes with injuries much worse than this keep playing the game, they don’t give up because they’re clear on their priorities.



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