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How to Handle Rejection


What do rejection and taxes have in common? They are both inevitable parts of life that everyone has to deal with. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, smart, funny, charming, or awesome you are, there will be times when you meet people who just don’t see it.

If I could write a note to my younger self it would be: “Don’t take it all so personally. You’re wonderful, and if someone else doesn’t see it, let that be their problem, not yours.” Unfortunately, my younger self didn’t get the memo and any type of rejection (especially from the opposite sex) would wreak havoc on my self-esteem. And those kinds of wounds can take a lifetime to heal and will inevitably carry over into your next relationship. If you end up in a place where you fear rejection, you’ll start to anticipate it and then you’ll be more likely to be rejected, thus confirming your initial prediction and affirming your belief that anyone you like won’t like you, which may pave the way for more rejection and on and on the vicious cycle goes.

It took me a really long time to learn to deal with rejection, and it’s something that I still need to work on to this day even though I’m a relationship writer and am supposed to have some degree of expertise in this area.

The upside is that my experience and past pains have helped me develop certain skills and insights to deal with rejection while keeping my sense of self intact. And here they are…

You can’t win them all

The fact is, you can’t make everyone like you and you can’t make every guy attracted to you. There will be people who don’t get you or who don’t like your look but none of that matters. Most women have this inexplicable need to make every guy want them and then they get upset when they find one who doesn’t and start to wonder what’s wrong with them.

At the end of the day, all we want is to find that one person who sees and appreciates us. If you have that, you don’t need to be the object of desire for every other guy. And if a guy does reject you, then it means he’s not the one for you and can’t appreciate how great you are and you should be thankful that he pulled the plug before you wasted anymore time.

Rejection happens to everyone

When someone rejects us, most of us will immediately think there must be something intrinsically wrong with us, I mean, why else would he dismiss us? Yet oftentimes it has nothing to do with us. Maybe their life is overly complicated at the moment, maybe they’re overburdened, maybe they are in a cynical place in their lives and are unable to see the good in others.

I know it can feel really personal when someone rejects you, like you and only you aren’t good enough to get what you want, but it happens to everyone. Every supermodel was rejected by countless agencies before she found the one who saw her potential, beautiful women get rejected and cheated on, the smartest people don’t always get the job… rejection is a part of life for everyone, no matter how much you have going for you. You’re setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary misery if you take it personally and think that it has to be something about you.

MORE: How to Heal a Broken Heart

You will find someone better.

The hopelessness that we experience after  being rejected is our irrational fear that we’ll never find anyone as good as the one who decided we weren’t good enough. The fact that he’s not with you is all the proof you need to confirm he’s not the right guy for you…the upside is that the right one is still out there.

We’ve all been brought up to believe in the concept of “the one” or “soul mates.” The problem is if you meet someone and think that they fit the bill and then they leave….you feel like there is a hole in your life that can’t be replaced.  Remember, the person who rejected you didn’t see the full spectrum of who you are and that’s not the kind of person you want to be with.

MORE: 5 Signs He’s Not the One

Don’t hold onto hope

Hope is a wonderful thing in most cases, but if he dumped you or rejected you, take it at face value and move on. Don’t hold onto hope that he’ll see the light and will change his mind. I’m not saying he won’t, but whether he does or doesn’t is irrelevant. No one can predict the future, you can’t know how the story will unfold. All you have is the present and if he doesn’t want to be with you in the here and now, take it for what it is and find someone who does.

Don’t punish yourself for someone else’s stupidity.

Don’t try to make yourself feel better by drinking excessively or hooking up with random dudes at bars for an ego boost or binging on ice cream or starving yourself any other destructive behaviors. Being rejected by someone you have feelings for can be agonizing, but it doesn’t help matters to hurt yourself even further. See it as his loss rather than turning on yourself and finding reasons why this is your fault and why you’re not good enough for him or worthy of love. You are all you have in this world, so be kind to yourself.

Always remember….

Happiness is an internal state, it’s something only you can achieve and it can’t be gained from the outside. Someone else can contribute to your overall level of happiness, but they can never be your sole source of happiness. You also can’t develop a sense of worth or self-esteem from the outside.

If you rely on men to tell you who you are in this world, you will always be at their mercy and your life will be a painful series of ups and downs with no solid sense of self-worth to stand on. Before you can be in a relationship with someone else, you have to work on the relationship you have with yourself. Once you have that, you’ll find that any relationship issues you’ve struggled with in the past disappear.

What are your tips for coping with rejection? Tell us in comments!

– SABRINA ALEXIS

22 comments… add one

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Cuddles#1

I once had the opposite experience: I rejected a boy. This was last year, and a guy asked me out. He was a really sweet guy and really cute (kind of chubby, though) and slightly tall. I really was fond of him (still am), and I would have dated him if it weren’t for my parents’ strict policy about no dating. It was really sad, but I knew I had to reject him. He was heart-broken, and we hugged it out.
I’m just saying, just because a person rejects you doesn’t mean that person is not attracted to you. I really liked that guy’s personality (and masculinity). I mean, some things just have to be done….. It’s hard for the person who was rejected, and it can also be really hard to reject someone, as well.

Reply December 1, 2016, 3:53 pm

Ms V

This is such a great article and you are such a great writer!! Omg thanks so much!!

Reply September 15, 2016, 12:32 am

Skyline

Ive got several rejection in a month… Even thought we had situation, i can understand him…. He reject me for everything i ask him.. I knew i shouldnt ask him for that he had his reason. And feel that is my fault inviting him only bring me to rejection cycle… Hes changed to be good one i just cant understand myself why i keep asking him when i knew he keeps say no to my invitation… This is my fault…. As a human, cant move on… Feel not worth… Etc… It hard to believe this articles make me more sad that fact i should move.. And its breaking my heart… Because i cant… Sometimes i blame myself for loving too much, caring too much, feel so much and this is who i am… Once he is so open, feel vulnerable together… But now heis resist to feel that emotional feeling… Even i knew he still there… I guess i should stop… But i already commited to be there whatever he needs me and id learn the different…

Reply August 30, 2016, 5:17 am

Amy

Great article. Thanks.
It’s been two months since my ex left me and I haven’t stopped crying because I feel so worthless. He left for someone else and they are so happy and it hurts me more and more each day.
I’ll read your article over and over and try to follow your advice as I’m dying of this rejection slowly.

Reply July 16, 2016, 7:21 am

Lacey

Wow! What a great article Sabrina and thank you for sharing. This article not only helped me realize we are just humans but it also helped me with the realization my issues with feelings of rejection is much deeper than “feeling” rejected. My experience of an abusive relationship with a partner and not allowing myself to heal afterward is a significant factor in my self-esteem, and thus, I take rejection harder. I thought I was strong and ready by moving on and exploring my options without involving my feelings, but I still ended with a sad, broken heart. I made it a point to be disconnected as I approached each new relationship. So what was I searching? On a basic level, I just wanted a genuine friendship. I was searching for empty relationships because I thought I could somehow protect myself, but of course, none of that worked.

I have to work through my pain until it passes. I know what I need to do now.

Thanks.

Reply April 30, 2016, 11:27 pm

Shivani

This article really helped me. I see that the reason I got rejected is because he wasn’t ready and it had nothing to do with me. I just found out that his dad left them and was an alcoholic and never cared for them. I can relate to him in a certain level because my dad isn’t so great either. After finding this out, now all I want to do is just be there for him when he needs someone. I don’t care anymore about being his girlfriend. I just want to be there. I remembered when I asked him out that he kept saying that he wasn’t right for me and that he wasn’t a good boyfriend. I don’t know why he would say that. He seems so happy and everything, that you wouldn’t even know that a person this happy would have such a terrible past. I really wish him happiness if not with me but someone else. But I will always be there for him.

Reply April 24, 2016, 7:47 pm

anon

sorry for the double post lol

Reply February 16, 2016, 1:53 am

anon

This is a really good article. Had something happen to me as well in one of my part time jobs I met a guy. I was nice to him and then he suddenly kept showing up at my work area and started talking to me a lot. Then, I got the impression that he liked me so, I started to develop feelings for him. When I was starting to test out the waters, without me even asking the question out right. He told me that he was not looking for a relationship. After hearing this, I was at a loss and I felt ashamed to be put on the spot like that. SO, I denied it then asked a different question. Although on the inside, I felt like I was a failure and there was something wrong with me. Because of what people thought, I liked him for some characteristics that he had like being tall but now that I think about it, I did not have much in common with him anyways and I did not really know him well. I guess I was feeling lonely and just wanted someone as well after seeing my peers have their relationships but after that experience, I have put relationships to a halt and have put it in the back of my mind. I don’t think I can start anything right now because I am not happy with my state and my self worth is in the gutter. I think I have to learn to love myself first before looking for affection or acceptance externally. Because, as you said, my happiness should come from within and if it comes from the outside then, it will just be at the mercy of whoever has my liking or affection and then I will be at their mercy when they do not reciprocate the feelings that I have. Then, I suppose the take home message is love yourself maybe a version of the bieb’s song holds true for this one.

Reply February 16, 2016, 1:48 am

Chad

Im going through this right now with a girl I cared for very much. What complicates it is that we were friends first and then I told her I wanted to be more than friends and she told me she didnt want a relationship and I believed her. This week was her birthday and I wanted to treat her to a birthday dinner and she refused and told me she is seeing someone. Im very hurt by the whole thing because it makes me feel like im not good enuff while this other guy is. I cared about her soo much but it hurts soo bad right now.

Reply January 24, 2016, 10:41 am

L

Except 15 years later I’m still alone and keep getting ditched for other women.

I give up.

Reply December 21, 2015, 9:59 pm

Tallie Smart

I really needed this article in my life since I recently experienced rejection It is hard to deal with, but life goes on.

Reply December 3, 2015, 7:36 pm

monic

If I feel rejected, I just think of my goodness in me and move on…

Reply October 9, 2015, 7:15 am

Smiler

I’ve been dating a man for 3months, all appeared to be going really well, until I received the following text. I hope someone can make sense of it, because I can’t. Morning, had a good long think over the weekend about me & you. As much as I like & fancy you I don’t think it will work between us, so I can’t see you again. Really enjoyed meeting & spending time with you & wish you all the luck in the world as you are an amazing girl. Take care xx

Reply December 5, 2014, 6:27 am

Joanne

Wow, shocking. I received a similar text after one month and that I was really special? A text after three months is even more confusing. How are you now?

Reply February 21, 2016, 11:42 am

Bella

I totally understand. This happened to me too, except it wasn’t totally out of the blue, we had a bit of an argument, but nothing we couldn’t get through. No one deserves to be dumped over text, it’s truly brutal.

Reply March 3, 2016, 4:14 am

maryann quigley

I have gone into many sites to find relationship advice, and your site is the best one yet for advice on detailed problems within relationships … it is good that the advice seems to cover all ages, as most people can give advice only for teenagers in love!
I shall certainly hold on to this site and consult it regularly for good reading and information….thank you

Reply July 27, 2014, 8:29 am

tk

wow wow nd wow you reqlly are helping women with this website’ I am trully thankful to you, I developed a sense of confidence I didnt knew I had…thanks

Reply June 3, 2014, 3:16 pm

Dana

Loved this article and I forwarded it on to friends! This is my new go-to site for advice and I’m grateful to have found it!

Keep up this great service to us all!

Reply March 8, 2014, 8:09 pm

melinda

Thanks for the article, I am currently going through the samething. It’s heartbreaking, I thought my relationship was the real thing! I don’t understand how much things can change in one day.
I can barely breathe it hurts so bad!
Trying to keep telling myself this:
The fact that he is not with you, is all the proof you need to confirm he’s not the right guy for you.
Just dissappointed.

Reply December 4, 2013, 12:39 pm

annie

i understand what you’re going through cause i’ve been in a similar situation. when a guy doesn’t want to be with you that’s his non verbal action telling you that he really doesn’t see you in his future. regardless of what he tells you, you shouldn’t take it close to heart. he’s just telling you what you want to hear so that he doesn’t appear to be that bad of a guy. do yourself a favour and let go, as you will eventually start to see everything clearly.

i do believe that when a guy truly wants to be with you, he will make every possible way to be with you. in your case, it really wasn’t the circumstances that tear you guys apart because he had a choice. if he doesn’t want to try it means that he doesn’t want to invest in someone that he didn’t see himself being with long term. you start to see the truth behind it all if you stop all contact with him. if he doesn’t contact you to give you the relationship that you want then you can assume that he did not miss you or is no longer that interested.

Reply November 23, 2013, 8:46 pm

Chloe

Very interesting article. I have handled rejection badly in the past and have improved on it since, partly by tellin myself much of what you have outlined in this article. Especially about not taking it personally, focusing on the here and now (not hopes for the future) and happiness comes from within.
Something I would add, is to not let relationships or men decide your happiness (realizing what else makes you happy in this world, including from yourself). And also, I would sugges that even though many people may over analyze the situation after rejection, I think it’s important to realize no matter what you could have done differently, the end result would have been the same eventually. Because if the guy or girl wasn’t interested enough or recognizing your assets from the beginning, he probably would have rejected u for one reason or another, because the flaw is with THEM, not with you. And over analyzing can be very self destructive. Sometimes it’s easier to just let go of all those thoughts, stop thinking about what could have been or what you could have done differently, and instead focus on the present and future, what you can do now to be happy or to find someone who is worthy of you 🙂

Reply November 21, 2013, 3:41 pm

Shelby

I really appreciate this article. I’ve been keeping up with all of the articles from a new mode for a while now, and i’m amazed at how much i needed to work on myself before receiving love from another person. But, working on yourself only gets you so far, rejection can play a big part in destroying the self worth you have built up as a person. It’s helpful to know how to pick yourself up. I guess a tip i would give would be to write it out, it’s helpful to get things on paper and out of your head.

Reply November 21, 2013, 2:46 pm

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