Accepting Rejection with Grace

So you go out on a date and one person is digging the experience far more than the other. The movie was awkward. The dinner was even more so. At the end of the night, the interested party looks for signs that the other person found them to be the most fascinating thing on the planet, but none are forthcoming.

There is no return phone call.

With so many reactions to the above scenario, the most prevalent seems to be anger and or depression. The infatuated person now deems the object of their affection as selfish, stuck up, a jerk, frigid, a good for nothing, and on and on.

Whether any of the above things are true or not, the rejected person soothes their bruised ego by casting stones at the other. Normal, perhaps, but is self esteem that is attained at the cost of another true self esteem?

So, if anger isn't the appropriate response, what is?

I wasn't always sure of the answer to the latter question myself.

I suffered numerous missteps in dating, and subsequently, dating became a nightmare for me. Either guys were just trying to bed me on the first date, or the ones I really liked weren't interested. Walking this romance minefield I felt dejected and rejected.

Then I came across an article by an Indian Guru about the nature of anger. He said anger stemmed from the idea that things are supposed to go a certain way. This realistic and unfair expectation causes us to become angry. Entering any given scenario with the idea of what is supposed to happen can cause a let down that can be tremendous.

However, if you remove any hint of expectation than something miraculous happens, you simply enjoy the time you spend whether it will be the last time you see the person or the second...you are in the moment and the moment can be sweet and divine in and of itself.

When I discovered this little gem of having no expectations as to the outcome of a date, I relaxed. And because I relaxed, I actually had more fun on my dates. I wasn't worried about the impression I was giving so much as simply enjoying my time with this new person.





To my surprise, I got more return phone calls. Men saw a confident, self assured woman, the hint of desperation to please and be liked was no longer there. In fact, even though some of the potential romances fizzled, I was able to maintain a polite acquaintance with the guys, of whom I gained a wealth of knowledge on the male perspective in dating.

Was I never disappointed? Heck no, I wouldn't be human if I said that there were certain times I would have loved a better outcome--but I didn't harbor anger or bitterness, I just relished the time I had in the presence of a wonderful human being.

Long and the short or it--I found the man of my dreams, and here I am, happily married with a beautiful daughter.

Anyone can have happiness, but here are the tricks:

1. Know what you want, but don't impose it on your date.
2. Have fun! Don't put pressure on the situation - dating is not "do or die".
3. If you don't get a return phone call, don't sweat it.
4. Don't hold high expectations that later may lead to disappointment.

A first date is not marriage--it is a date--the person has a right to see other people and explore their options. If it turns out to be you, great. If not, move on. Dwelling robs you of the time to meet the one who is best for you!

There is too much anger in the rejection aspect of dating, but if we step back and evaluate why we are angry it shows that this reaction is a little silly. The anger does not reward you, it only detracts. While the other person has moved on without a backward glance, there you are all bent out of shape and poisoning yourself with bitterness.

We cannot control outcomes, we can only handle our reactions, and once we learn how to do that with grace and dignity, our lives are much fuller.


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What Guys Said 6

  • As one of my friends says " expect nothing and you're never disappointed." Pessimistic, yeah, but whatever. That said, I would likely get somewhat mad after rejection. Hell, I would actually be glad to have gotten a first date, up to this point I've just gotten flat rejection.

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  • If I wore hats, I would tip mine to you, miss - excellent article.

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  • I never get angry when the person doesn't dig me. I hardly care...why should anyone care? it is the rejecters loss, not the rejectee's.

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  • You are a great guru as well, you article help me a lot. thank's again....

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  • I don't take rejection too personally, Sure it hurts, but it's life, I move on, I've always had to. I'm not sure I'd be very sane today if I couldn't.

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  • I like the part about the Indian Guru. I had a similar experience - though my intro came from a basketball coach, Phil Jackson. Eastern spiritual thinking has a lot to offer, particularly in letting go and in handling painful emotions and thoughts.

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What Girls Said 4

  • Mr. Schneider, I find your comment quite interesting. It's unnatural NOT to be upset when your date is uninterested. Wouldn't this mean you're not connecting with them emotionally as well as physically? The only time I'm not put off by someone's lack of interest is when I myself am not interested in them. Being upset (but not necessarily angry) is a natural response. Perhaps you're going on dates with the wrong women?

    Yet another excellent article.

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  • Wow I wish you would hurry up and write that book already.

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  • This is more awkward when you live in my country where people don't date until they know each other and not much then either...The Irish situation is you meet someone talk to them( if its in the day) or kiss them (if its in a club) depending on the context and then if he's interested( can only speak for girl's POV) he'll take your number..but usually they dont..so we don't even get to the first date! The whole thing about expectations is bang on though

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  • If it's just the first date, fine to say he's not into me, oh well, not his fault or mine.

    If it's a year later, it's not as easy to say 'no expectations, no disappointment or anger' - if we didn't feel that, what kind of people would we be?

    But I do agree that expecting things to go a certain way has been part of my disappointment and being able to see beyond that a bit would allow me more mental freedom from emotional pain.

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