One thing that life and dating have in common is it’s harsh way of reminding you of your vulnerabilities and humanity. In every Dating Mastery Class cycle and workshop that I’ve coached in the last few years, questions around rejection always come up.
I’m going to make one thing clear and remind you of one definite fact of life and dating that you’re going to have to accept no matter how experienced or inexperienced you may be… Rejection hurts, period.
But, here’s the catch: you can either let it destroy you or let it toughen you up and learn from it. Understand that overcoming rejection is not about pride or saving face, but rather about becoming comfortable with and confident in who you are and accepting the risks that come with going after what you want in life.
It’s a fact of life, just like learning how to accept failure and growing from it. We all have to face it at some point. Before we get into the solutions, let’s get into the “why” first.
Why Rejection Hurts
This is probably one of the most important points that I stress with my newer students who haven’t developed the ability to cope with rejection from a girl they’re attracted to. Every now and then, even some of my more seasoned students struggle with this.
So why does it hurt when a girl rejects you? Did you ever stop and ask yourself?
Back during my undergraduate years at Rutgers, during one of the very few times when I was actually paying attention in class and not trying to recover from a horrendously bad hangover, I remember sitting in a lecture in my cognitive psychology class. The lecture was about the concept of “metacognition.” In a nutshell, metacognition is essentially thinking about thinking.
Metacognition refers to the study of memory-monitoring and self-regulation, meta-reasoning, consciousness, awareness and auto-consciousness and self-awareness. In practice, these capacities are used to regulate one’s own cognition to maximize one’s potential to think, learn, and evaluate proper ethical and moral rules.
When you employ metacognition, you’re employing your self-awareness. When you reflect internally, you’ll notice fairly quickly why rejection hurts. It’s because you feel like the girl you’re attracted to is directly saying to you that you’re not wanted. It’s because she seems to be rejecting you. At the heart of it all, you’ve been deemed “not good enough” and that cuts into the very core of our self-esteem.
We all go through these moments when we’re under a tremendous amount of stress. It’s those types of moments where you sit and ask yourself, “Wait, why am I thinking like this? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I figure out why I feel so uneasy right now?”
If you get this reference, for all you 90s kids, remember that cartoon show Doug where the main character was always worried or stressed about being worried and stressed and would start to over-analyze and imagine himself in really crazy scenarios that never ended up happening?
There’s a reason why break-ups and rejections are so painful. Not too long ago, I saw an interesting video by a cultural anthropologist who covered this very topic and argued that on a psychological level, we go through the same withdrawal feelings that recovering drug addicts go through after stopping their substance abuse.
You’ve gone through this, I’ve gone through this, and it’s just a normal part of life that you’re just going to have to live with and grow from.
Women by nature are non-confrontational, and with that it’s sometimes very difficult to determine if you’ve been rejected or not. A lot of men oftentimes complain, “Why can’t women just be straightforward?”
I’m not saying all women are non-confrontational, as I’ve had my fair share of really harsh and cold rejections, but in general, women are much more emotionally in-tune and perceptive to people’s emotions then men. Besides that, women are also aware that not all men will respond well to their rejections.
Since men are naturally prone to aggression and violence, this is one factor that plays into why women prefer to not be straightforward with a lot of men. It’s a defense mechanism meant to safeguard herself and her personal well-being, along with the guy she’s rejecting.
There are several different types of rejection that we’ll all end up facing at different stages of our relationships. It’s essential that you learn how to identify and constructively deal with each type as you experience them.
5 Types of Rejection & How to Deal With Them
1. Ruthless & Cold-Blooded Rejection
This type of rejection is most commonly portrayed in the movies, and it’s something you’ll run into if you’re out in major nightlife cities like New York City and Los Angeles.
Have you ever walked up to an attractive girl standing at the bar, started with a friendly non-threatening introduction, and in return you get a really insulting Regina George like response such as, “Why are you even talking to me?” followed by a pretentious hair flip? Sometimes you’ll get the classic “Fuck Off” or “You’re not on my level, don’t talk to me unless you’re gonna buy me a drink!”
Depending on what kind of headspace you’re in, this type of rejection can crush any man’s mojo. Fortunately, these rude rejections are pretty rare. The best way to respond is to never show an ounce of fear, anger, disappointment, or frustration. As I always say to my students, “He who loses his cool, loses the war.”
How to Deal With It:
- Keep your cool.
- Be self-amused, smile, laugh, and say, “I love it.”
- Move on and immediately start chatting up the next group of people.
As I’ve said before, these types of rejection are pretty rare, unless a girl is under the influence, just a rude person by nature, or is having a bad day. If it’s happening to you consistently, then there is probably something that you’re doing that you’re not aware of that’s putting off women very quickly, and it’s important to fix that right away.
If you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, I recommend you do one of a few things…
- Record yourself on your earbuds or smartphone. As cringe-worthy as it may sound, in the beginning I recommend you listen to the conversation, pay attention to your tonality, what you’re saying, and what the girl’s responses were that you may need to account for.
- Get a friend or wingman to go out with and record you on video. You can then analyze your body language and what you need to fix from there.
- If you have enough money, work with a professional dating coach like myself or somebody else to quickly identify and fix these problems.
2. Friendly Rejection
This is probably the most common rejection you’ve faced. As I’ve said before, women are very emotionally perceptive creatures, and most of the time when a woman turns you down, she will do it in a fairly gentle manner.
For example, she’ll talk to you for a few seconds or minutes and then say, “It was nice talking to you, I’ve gotta run…get back to my friends…get back to my crew…get back to work…do x, y, z.” In other instances, you may approach her at a bar, but she’ll keep turning to her friends and pretend to ignore you.
Just like the previous rejection, it’s a little difficult to turn these situations around, because if she’s rejected you in this manner, it can mean many different things. As we always say in our classes, it’s important to develop as much situational awareness as possible. You’ve got to consistently ask yourself questions like:
- “Where am I at?”
- “What do I want?”
- “What are the steps I need to take to get there?”
Oftentimes when a girl rejects you in this manner, it could mean that you’re not making her feel good or comfortable, she’s worried about being judged by her friends for talking to you, there could be a guy in her group that’s her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend or lover on some level, she’s in a bad head space, or she’s out to simply have fun with her friends and wants to feel good.
Remember that seduction is all about emotions and nurturing the right emotions when you’re communicating with the girl you’re interested in.
How to Deal With It:
- Politely excuse yourself, “It was nice to meet you.”
- Plan to revisit and talk to her later when she’s in a better logistical position and after you’ve developed some positive social momentum.
- Have fun with your friends and start chatting up other groups of people. Focus on being social, developing your social capital, and flirting with other women. Nothing makes a man look more attractive than when he’s got other girls around him and is having fun. I can’t tell you how many times this unintentionally ended up working out for me along with my students. Either the girl ends up coming back to re-engage with you at some point in the night, or in a lot of cases you meet an even better girl.
3. Testing the Waters Rejection
This type of rejection is pretty common for guys who are intermediate to experienced daters. An incongruent rejection occurs when you were talking to a girl who’s displaying signs of interest or is in the maybe zone with you, but then tells you that she’s not interested or can’t move forward because of whatever reason. Another common response is the dreaded “I have a boyfriend” or “I’m sorry but you’re just not my type.”
A lot of men including myself at one point have trouble coping and dealing with this type of rejection. Just when you think you’re going to get somewhere with a girl, it feels like you got hit by a freight train.
How to Deal With It:
It’s important to understand that we’re not compatible with every single girl, and that every single girl you interact with is going to be in a different emotional or psychological head space. Just try to put yourself in her shoes for a moment. She could have been fresh off a relationship and on the rebound, she’s emotionally not ready for any type of relationship because of a bad breakup, she realized on the first date that you had nothing in common, etc.
My point is that it could’ve been a million different things. Remember, don’t take it personally and test until you either get a response or simply move on.
In some cases if a girl is feeling insecure or uncomfortable because of whatever reason, you can test by persisting and just responding non-judgmentally, “Its okay, I like you and that’s all that really matters.” This type of instinct is trained by consistently getting yourself into these situations and learning how to make these judgement calls.
In other cases, if she’s unresponsive, just move on to the next person, acknowledge it, accept it, and most of all don’t take it personally. Rinse and repeat, and learn how to develop a social callous.
4. Not That Into You/Circumstantial Rejection
Next to the first type of rejection, this is by far one of the harshest and most emotionally draining types of rejections that cause a lot of men to simply give up on dating and putting themselves out there. Even for more experienced guys like myself, you feel like you’ve been sucker punched by Mike Tyson.
There’s a little bit of emotional investment on both ends. You take her on a date or two, and may have even slept with her. Everything is cruising smoothly, and then out of the blue she tells you, “I’m sorry but I’m just not that into you” or something along the lines of “I’m sorry but, I’m kind of seeing someone else, trying to work things out with my ex, (insert situation here) you’re a great guy, but I can’t see you anymore.”
How to Deal With It:
In the first scenario, her initial feelings about you might have changed. She had a good impression, but then you did something that turned her off. Maybe your emotional baggage made you needy or insecure, or she just realized you weren’t as fun or as sexy as she thought.
If this scenario might be the case, the best thing you can do is accept that you’ve been temporarily rejected, keep your cool, don’t get needy, and just treat her like a friend. Take it with a grain of salt and just frame it in her mind that you’re new to the dating scene or a little inexperienced because of (insert situation here).
In the second scenario, an unexpected variable came into play that caused her to stop progressing and moving forward with you. I’ve personally run into something like this very recently and it took me a few months to get over her just because of the chemistry we initially had and the amount of emotional investment I had put into it.
What ended up happening was that by the time I got to reconnect with her, another man had come into her life and she was progressing towards a full blown relationship with him. Initially, I thought that it was because of our long distance from each other that played into her decision to pick the other guy over me. But I later found out that she was in a long distance relationship with him and that they were seeing each other and traveling almost every weekend.
It killed me inside but also toughened up my spirit in the long run. When other variables that are out of your control come into play, it’s easy to blame the girl or even yourself and fall into the thought pattern of “I’m not good enough.”
The best solution I can offer if you run into this is to do the same things you should be doing after experiencing a breakup. Move on and remind yourself that it will pass.
5. Self-Imposed Rejection
Apathy is the worst thing you can fall into. I can’t tell you how many men and even women in some cases I’ve coached who refuse to move things forward with a mate that they want. It’s sad because by waiting for the other person to move things forward, you’ll end up in the friend zone and pretty much do the rejecting yourself. Don’t let your negative experiences dictate the present, the past is the past. Don’t buy into your own bullshit.
How to Deal With It:
- Understand that you’re in charge of your own life and that you’re going to have to face challenges to get what you want. Don’t fold, toughen up, and learn to embrace the ride. Everyone faces rejection and failure in life, it’s just part of the game. If you’re not taking risks, you’ll stay stuck where you’re at and won’t hit any big shots.
Regardless of where you’re at in your personal development, always remember that dating is a numbers game. Even as your successes go up, you’ll still need to keep up your consistency, practice, and constantly strive for improvement.
As I always say, every girl is different and it’s important that you keep an open and broad perspective to thrive in this new age along with navigating the emotional chaos of the Art of Modern Dating. Thing will change, you will grow, and you will improve, granted you consistently apply my advice and keep working on yourself.
‘Til Next Time,