A Guide to…Handling Rejection Gracefully

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I’ve talked about my fair share of tragic dates, and terrible guys. I joke about being a millennial spinster, and I think my share of stories has become quite embarrassing. But my friend recently made a sassy comment along the lines of, “wow, you’re always the one rejecting them, huh? You don’t ever get rejected, do you?”Β 

And I do, I mean, everyone does. It’s part of dating and meeting new people…but people don’t really like blasting that they got rejected across the Internet, and sometimes, it’s hard to do.

People (mostly older people) are usually under the assumption that millennials are narcissistic, shallow, flighty, irresponsible, and reckless. Quite honestly, they string a lot of really negative words together, and when confronted with how mean it all sounds they try to twist it into a way that makes us sound “cute” and “adorable.” But just because we’re young, does not mean that we are fools. Just because we are young, doesn’t mean that we have no idea what we want or what we’re doing with our lives. We just have a lot of time to figure it out, and a lot of opportunities that we can take and choose from. Which is why this segment exists, and why for the very first week that I’m test-driving this weekly feature (I’m still thinking of other weekly features to have!), I will be writing multiple random guides for all of you.

I digress.

Well, this stereotype seems to follow everyone, and it seems to be applicable to many situations. Especially relationships.

And well, I’m here to prove this stereotype wrong…because guess what? Everyone takes rejection terribly, and it’s hard for people to do. It’s truly hard to have someone tell you that you completely suck, after some drama or unnecessary disappearing, or that kind of nonsense. In order to date successfully, you have to be confident in yourself…but also, when letting someone down you have to be honest…therefore knocking down their confidence.

And spoiler alert, a lot of people are not honest, nor they do not know how to handle things well, which just kind of stinks for both parties. But the secret is, no matter how terribly people might handle things, you don’t have to resort to their level. You don’t have to be petty, rude, snarky, or try to rip them to shreds.

Here’s what you could do. (I’m not going to say should, because I’m not going to try to obligate anyone into listening to me).

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#1- TRY TO UNDERSTAND THEIR PERSPECTIVE

This sounds crazy, right? I mean this person just rejected you completely, and here I am, telling you to consider what they’re thinking. I mean, who the f-k cares?

Okay, here’s why I’m not crazy.

Once upon a time, I was friends with this girl who really, really wanted to be in a picture perfect relationship and live happily ever after. And by my friend, I do not mean me, because I would have never handled the situation in the way she did.

She really, really liked this guy, and even though she was blinded by what she thought was love, all of us thought it was really obvious that he was just using her for some “action” (which was horribly rude on his part, and there is no way that I’m siding with what he did either!). She decided to leave him “subtle hints” by leaving actual literal objects at his apartment. She left her clothes, tampons, her toothbrush, a hair straightener….and then he totally rejected her. She was miserable, sad, and really upset, until one of us finally got the guts to tell her what we had all seen.

He didn’t want a relationship, and she did. The guy just wanted to keep getting some attention, and then keep living his life. They never wanted the same thing, and once she looked at how he viewed things-as a fling-she quickly realized that it was perfectly fine.

Sometimes it just takes looking at things from a different perspective.

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#2- TRY TO IMAGINE HOW THINGS WOULD BE LONG TERM

This coworker once told me that there was people that you have a fun time with, then break up with eventually once the relationship expires. And then, she told me that there’s relationships that are forever, and that at my age I shouldn’t be looking for forever.

But I am, and that is my own personal choice and preference. I don’t really date for fun or short-term gratification. Although I argued with it (there’s a story coming), I believe in true love and soul mates.

I once went on a date with this guy named Zephyr. He was really, really into skateboarding and photography, and his dream was to move to Hawaii and skateboard for the rest of his life. His favorite movie was The Lords of Dogtown (???) and he had friends that were stereotypical stoners. And this was his lifelong aspiration.

And after asking him when we were going to hang out again, I got a scripted, stereotypical, “I don’t think it’s going to work out between us,” text. I was, of course, annoyed and a little bit irritated because I had decided to give him another chance! It was a normal human response, but truthfully immature. And it had annoyed me, until a couple minutes later when I thought about it a little deeper.

Was I really the type of girl that wanted to ride off into the sunset on a skateboard? No. Could I stand hearing about The Lords of Dogtown for the rest of my life? No. Did I want to move to Hawaii and take care of Zephyr and his stoner friends? NO.

So why did I care?

And that is my advice to you. Think, and imagine for a brief second, what things would have been like long term with that person. And if it fits exactly what you hoped and imagined, well, all I can do is promise you that you’ll find someone else if it really doesn’t work out. But if it doesn’t–then this person definitely was not worth the seconds/minutes/hours/days of bad vibes that you had because of this experience. You’ll find someone that fits.

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#3- REALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT

This is an extension of #2, because it is so important.

Sometimes, in the moment, we have someone fit the mold of what we want, because we get a little discouraged, or impatient in the hunt. You should never settle for less than you deserve, or try to make someone be someone that they are not.

Post-break up, once upon a time I dated this guy who was significantly older than me (he’s turning thirty next week!). He was in the field of medicine, super handsome, charming, and classy. He oozed of confidence and sophistication, and I really thought that he was what I wanted (for about like a week or two, nothing too crazy).

So, when he rejected me, and dumped me, I was pretty bummed. I had thought that this was what I wanted, and that he was what I wanted. But then, I really thought about what I wanted, and who I wanted to be with. I wanted to be with someone who was kind, smart, funny, intelligent, easy to be with, and fun to hang out with. I wanted someone that gave me sparks and made my heart beat faster, someone who was adventurous and courageous. Someone who respected me, my thoughts, ideas, and wishes. A man who was culturally aware and who adored me for me.

And upon realizing that, and really thinking about it, this jerk that I thought had been “perfect,” really was not perfect.

Sometimes we convince ourselves otherwise, and we really just need to sit and think about what we really want, to realize that we are getting upset over something that we don’t even really want.

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#4- REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES

Even if you feel like there’s not–there really is. There is over seven billion people on this Earth, one of them is bound to be your soul mate.

And if you think you’ve met them already, with these odds I’m sure that you have at least seven other soul mates out in this world waiting for you!

I kid.

Regardless, there is so many other amazing people out there, and I’ve been in a situation where I think that I won’t meet someone else phenomenal. It happens, and yeah, it stinks.

But you can’t let a bad experience stop you, because you could be missing out on someone really, really great out there. I’ve found that whenever I think I cannot meet someone greater, I do. And I always look back, and wonder, “what did I ever see in him?”

I heard it happens a lot to people.

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#5- LOOK AT HOW YOU CAN RESPOND

My friends will never forget the guy that followed me twenty blocks, and harassed me asking me why I would not date him.

In any given situation, you are given a choice on how you can respond. Some choices are far worse than others.

So, when given the choice on handling rejection, you have a few options.

You can beg them for another chance, and look a little desperate and a little sad.

You can harass and interrogate them for an explanation.

And you can do a lot of other things, but more importantly…

You can be graceful, kind, and walk away, keeping your dignity and reputation intact. People never remember the person that says, “Okay, whatever,” who shakes it off, and moves forward to have a happy and fulfilled life.

Your ex-whatever’s friends will remember the person who went crazy, the person who went petty, or the person that did something ridiculous and immature. And you are far too great to be remembered for something that marginal and dumb.

So in this situation, really look at what’s given, and make a choice. Because someone who doesn’t appreciate you, really is not worth any effort.

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