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My Recent Experience of Rejection & How I've Handled it
I wanted to share with you a recent personal experience of rejection (yup, that's me feeling rejected right there above ha!) I know this is something that comes up for a lot of us so I thought what happened and what I did might be useful or helpful. Don't worry, we're not going to get *too* deep here, but I have to admit, this did put me on a bit of a temporary downer a few weeks back!
The story goes something like this….After Valentines Day this year, I decided to get back on the dating scene with a bit more purpose and commitment. I felt ready to meet new people and was open to the possibility of someone entering my world.
So I went with what's obviously the best place to start - Tinder ;)
I got talking to a guy who was conveniently based just a mile or so away from me. He seemed nice enough but I have to admit, his Tinder chat was slightly on the serious side - there wasn't exactly 'banter' but there was something about him that made me curious. Aside from the fact that he appeared smokin' hawt (c'mon, don't judge - this is Tinder!), I wanted to learn more about Mr Brooding & Serious.
So, we decided to meet for coffee in our town at 4pm one Sunday afternoon. This I thought was ideal, as it meant that if we didn't get on so well, it would be easy to cut the date shorter. I didn't really think too much about it on the day. Which worked in my favour as I felt totally relaxed and not a bundle of nerves!
I arrived a couple of minutes early, found a table and 4pm on the dot in walks Mr Brooding and Serious. Fast forward 2 hours and 2 coffees each later and needless to say I was a bit blown away. There was instant attraction and chemistry, so much in common and lots of laughs. (Just goes to show that you can't always judge someone on Tinder by their Tinder chat!)
He walked me home (gentleman - tick!) and the 2 weeks that followed were a blissful series of wonderful dates filled with incredible conversation, flirtation and him giving me all the signals that this had potential to head somewhere. He was everything I visualised my ideal man to be. Looking back, I suppose I did get swept away but it was a nice, novel feeling and I gave myself permission to go with it.
Fast forward to a date we had about 4 weeks back and I was bolted by a shift. Something wasn't right and after giving it a few days, I asked him what the deal was with the change. He revealed that he thought I was 'attractive, interesting, funny and loves the fact that we get on so well' but that he 'doesn't think his head is in the right place and he can feel himself putting up barriers'. It was the classic 'it's not you, it's me' type of conversation that's never exactly a joy to have with someone you quite like. Well, like a lot.
Bummer. Given that he'd conveyed the exact opposite impression on our dates and wasn't backwards in coming forwards about his feelings, plus the fact he communicated he felt emotionally ready for something serious, I did find it a bit confusing that he was now
telling me he goes directly from A to Z in his head and misses out the bits in between, which freaks him out. I did leave that conversation feeling disappointed and quite sad. And yes, there was an element of feeling rejected. I'm only human after all. I certainly wasn't ready to jump head first into a relationship but we clearly enjoyed each other's company, had a connection and I saw potential. It seemed such a shame!
What I Did
So here's what I did. I'm not saying that I don't still feel disappointed by this experience - but I don't see it as rejection.
- Gained perspective
. It was a 2 week whirlwind that consisted of 6 dates that were all either coffee, drinks or dinner. So of course he was going to be bringing his best self to all of those. I was caught up by all of the attractive qualities about this man but I didn't really get to see him as a whole person. I also got so easily swept up because he was the first person I'd liked in a long while. But that doesn't mean he's the only
person I'll get that with.
- Appreciated his honesty
. He could have easily rattled off the whole speech by text. But he insisted we speak in person. Not only did this make me see his vulnerability in this situation, which made what he was saying more sincere, it also showed that he did have feelings for me developing there. He just didn't know how to handle those. And there isn't a lot I can do about that.
(Obviously I'm not being naive either and he could also just be a very good liar! And if that's the case, then it's best for me to be out of this one right now!)
- I showed understanding without getting emotional
. I communicated to him that I was happy to take things step by step. Then I gave him his space. He knows I'm not waiting for him but he knows that I do like him and am mindful of where he's at. Now I leave the rest to fate. You can't control people or force them into feeling differently. And meanwhile, I'm not cutting myself off from dating other men either. Hell no, my life doesn't stop.
- It's not me - it really is him
. Yes, I did wallow in feeling rejected and questioning myself for a day or two but then I forced myself to look at the reality of the situation. This guy just isn't emotionally ready. I know we had a great time together and I know there wasn't anything I did or didn't do that caused his reaction. It's just a reflection of where he is at. It's bloody frustrating but that's the fact of the matter!
- I let it go
. I've put it down to a couple of weeks of smiles, fun, romance and getting swept away that I'm grateful for feeling. Yes it was cut short somewhat but I know I'll get that again! This one is now in fate's hands. It's so much easier to let go and put it down to experience rather than agonising over something you have no control over.
- This happens to the best of us
. It's called 'dating'!
So if any of you can relate to this or are struggling with feeling rejected when it comes to dating, just think about some of the things I've mentioned above. Every situation is different but so often, it's more about where the other person is at. It's not because you're not good enough or insufficient. Sometimes you need to take a very objective look at the situation rather than getting carried away with taking it personally.
I've also written a more in depth blog post about feeling rejection after a break-up
if you're interested in that.
So, onwards and upwards hey! And if you have any questions on rejection, experiences you'd like to share or coaching enquiries around handling rejection, I'd really love to hear from you. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a fantastic week!
PS If you liked this and think someone else might benefit, please feel free to forward!