• Robert Schwebel, Ph.D.

Rejections Are a Part of a Full Life

Updated: Sep 29

Rejections are part of life, so if you want to connect with new friends you have to be vulnerable and take chances. Go out on the limb:

“You wanna get together Friday night?”

No, I’m busy.

“How about Saturday night?”

I’m busy then, too, but thanks for the invitation.

Now, is this person busy or just brushing you off? You could propose yet another time. Or, blow it off and move on.

Often overlooked is the alternative of asking additional questions. You could say: “Oh, you’re busy this weekend. That’s too bad. Would you like to get together sometime when you’re not so busy? Would you like to suggest another time?”

You could even take it further: “I’m not really sure if you want to get together at all. It’s not clear to me. If you don’t want to meet up, that would be OK. I could handle it. I just would like to know where I stand.”

Maybe your “new friend” was busy and wants to get together. Then again, your new friend might have been wishing that you would gracefully depart. This latter possibility leads to a very important consideration: how to deal with rejection.

I recommend the, “plenty of fish in the sea” outlook. It starts with the recognition that whenever you take a risk (by applying for a job, asking for a date or whatever), there’s always a chance of rejection.

In fact, when you go after what you want in life, you can be certain that you will have a fair share of rejections.

Just as you know you will be rejected; you can also consider that you will eventually be accepted by someone. (Not everybody will want to hang out with you, but somebody will!) This point of view gives you a way to cope with any given rejection in a self-nurturing way, for example:

“Oh well, that person isn’t interested. Too bad. They’ll miss out. I guess I’ll ask that other person. If that other person isn’t interested, I’ll go on to yet another. Then, a fourth and fifth, etc. It’s just a matter of time until I connect with someone who is interested in me.”

Another way to put it is: “Don’t take rejection too seriously.” Don’t waste energy trying to second-guess why one person didn’t want to get together with you.

The tendency is to find fault with yourself. Don’t forget: It could be that the other person is extremely busy, not looking for new connections, recovering from a bad relationship, or any number of possibilities.

Rejections are overrated. Furthermore, if someone is vague in response to an invitation, you don’t have to hesitate about getting to the bottom of the matter. Give that person an opportunity to “say the worst.” If anything, direct and straightforward rejections hurt less than indirect ones, which may be protracted and build up over time.

Bear in mind, if you want to live your life to the fullest, it’s worth risking rejections.


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These articles are written to share ideas about how to create and sustain loving and cooperative relationships based on equality and mutual respect.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Schwebel, Ph.D.

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