We all want to be considered attractive and awesome. It’s common to want people to look at you in a good light and this desire is amplified for the people that we admire. We want the attraction we feel to a person be returned. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Rejection can feel pretty crummy! There are things we can do to help us remove the sting of rejection but there are also things we can do to try to take it more gracefully. That way, if we are rejected by our love interest, we can still shoot for the second-best-case scenario. A scenario that may not be possible if we are to take the rejection poorly.
Why Should We Take Rejection Gracefully?
Some people may wonder why put in the effort of making it easier for our love interest to reject us. Why should we try to make it easier for them? Well turning someone down, for most people, it’s a fun experience either. Unless a person is a real arrogant jerk, they are going to care about the emotional wellbeing of the person they have no romantic feelings for. Just because they may not be attracted to you romantically, doesn’t mean they think you are a terrible person or that they don’t care about you. They just don’t care about you in a romantic way and that’s not something that should be held against them. You may not be romantically interested all the people who are interested in you, that doesn’t make that your fault. People love who they love, are attracted to what they are attracted to. Making someone feel bad for that isn’t a nice thing to do.
The other aspect of taking rejection gracefully is that it leaves the door open if they change their mind. Sometimes circumstances change and a person may be open to your romantic interest at a later time. It’s true that there is no guarantee and people definitely should not wait around for this to occur, but if you react terribly to a rejection it will never occur.
Reacting with a display of temper, harassment, abusive language, or guilting is pretty unattractive to the majority of people. These kinds of reactions can also make people, particularly women, start to get worried about their safety. Now you may know you would never hurt someone because of being turned down but there is a sadly large amount of documented cases of people who have done just that. Depending on the circumstances, such as how well you know this person and your history, the person who is turning you down may not know you that well. They may not have any assurances that you’re not prone to violence at rejection. At the end of the day, people should always prioritize their safety. So a bad emotional reaction to rejection can be a big red flag to people. It can actually cause them to avoid you going forward.
Be Prepared to Respond to Rejection with Grace
Some people argue that the key is to, “not get your hopes up” but that can be tough and hope can be what makes us excited and communicates that good energy to our crush. If we go into the conversation expecting to be turned down, the person may read it as that we’re not actually that interested in them.
The key is not to walk into the conversation expecting to be turned down, but to make being turned down less of a life-shattering event. Keeping your cool in these kinds of situations can be a bit of an art. It’s a delicate balance and it might take some people more practice than others. If you find that you get really anxious about the idea, it’s a good idea of doing some preparation work before making your romantic intentions known.
Take some time to consider what your second-best-case scenario or desire is if they don’t return your romantic affection. Would you like to be friends? Would you like the opportunity to get to know them better?
It should be something that is reasonable and respectful of the boundaries the other person has set. Sometimes we won’t be able to reach any kind of agreement with a person. There may be reasons of their own why they have no interest in having us in their lives. That can really suck but it’s important that we respect the consent of our love interest and abide by their wishes for space, whatever that may be.
Once you know what your contingency plan is and create some comfort with it, the whole situation can feel less intense. Obviously you still have your hopes for a romantic connection but knowing that there are other options you would be ok with makes it less of an all-or-nothing win or lose conversation. You don’t have all your hopes pinned to the highest point. It can be a good way to help relieve some of the stress of the situation. The calmer you feel, you calmer you will be able to respond to their answer, whatever that may be.
Tips for in the Moment
When talking to your crush, keep the conversation light. The more intense you make it, the more uncomfortable the other person could get, and the harder the rejection will be on everyone. If you can keep the conversation relaxed and comfortable you are more likely to get a more honest answer.
During the whole conversation remember to breathe. If you start feeling upset or anxious, taking a quiet but deep breath to yourself. This will help slow your heart rate down and help you feel more in control. Typically, it’s better if you can calm yourself quietly. If your crush sees you making a big show of trying to control your emotions it’s going to do a lot of damage to keeping the conversation light. This isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes more serious conversations are appropriate and helpful but context plays a really big role here. The past history you have with your crush matters. If it’s someone you don’t know well, or barely know, having a more serious conversation is going to feel awkward. They may not be able to or know how to comfort you and could try to hastily retreat from the conversation. Use your best judgment.
When the moment of rejection occurs, try not to dwell on it. If it feels appropriate, you can try asking if they’d feel comfortable giving a reason for the rejection. They may or may not. In most cases, unless you know someone well, they won’t feel comfortable giving their reasons and that’s ok. It’s important to remain respectful. Don’t demand the answer. If they say no they’re not comfortable just let them know that’s ok.
This is a good time to offer some of those second-best scenarios we were talking about earlier. Offer to be their friend or get to know them better. Once again they may choose to decline. If that’s the case, it’s best to simply accept it. Don’t try to argue or persuade. You can simply tell them that if you’re open if they were to change their mind.
At this point, it’s a good time to either change the subject entirely or gracefully excuse yourself. The longer the rejection is drawn out, the worse both you and your crush will feel.
Choose the Right Way to Handle Rejection
The secret ingredient to mastering relationships is the clear understanding that the feelings and needs of others matter just as much as your own. Don’t make rejection only about you. You are entitled to feel how you feel and it’s ok to feel sad. It’s just not ok to make others feel terrible for not returning your affection. It’s not a deliberate slight to you. Try to treat someone turning you down with the grace and respect you’d like to be shown when you turn someone down. Respect goes a long way in building better character and a good reputation.
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