THE ART OF REJECTION –How to Give It and How to Take It
A friend of mine who also does Public Relations for a living dropped me a note on facebook which inspired this blog. She told me that she was considering changing her cell number because some guy she only liked as a friend, started to crush on her. She wasn’t interested and made this known mostly by actions. She stopped communication and hoped he’d get the hint. This only challenged him more. She’d post a comment on facebook and he’d “like” her comment three seconds later. ALL THE TIME. He’d like and comment on all of her pictures and just became a social media leech. NOT HOT. He started to call her and text her asking if he did anything to turn her off? Ummm… YOU’RE DOING IT GENIUS!! When a person is feelin it they let you know. When they like you and want more than friendship they’ll make it very clear.
I totally empathized with my friend. I also have to deal with rejection. Men are either brave or delusional. I choose to keep thing positive and say brave. They see a woman they are attracted to and don’t for a second think if they have a shot. They presume they do and they step up to her and say something. This is brave! Such bravery shouldn’t be crushed with a sledgehammer. I have been told by many guy friends that my vibe is friendly and open. “Lisa, you’re a cool girl, there’s a confidence to you because you’re real and guys pick up on that so they think they’d have a shot with you.” So the downside to this open, friendly, real vibe is that it invites advances from about 97% of people I’m not at all interested in. So how do I reject guys without a sledgehammer?? One of the things I like to do is bring up the subject of celebrities. I’ll ask a guy who seems to want to become a Lisa fan club president what celebrity is his type. Then he’ll typically ask me which celebrities I like. I reply with “THE ROCK, Dwayne Johnson. I like em big, with a handsome face and sexy bedroom eyes. I like the tough jock look.” This sparks a lot of discussion. Guys get a little pissy. It’s interesting. They tell me they like Salma Hayek, or Sofia Vergara or some other brunette bombshell and I nod and even agree with them. Then I list my celebrity ideals and it’s met with, “WOW, really Lisa? You like meat heads?” Well no I mean I like a man who works out…WITH WEIGHTS.
Let me be clear. I like muscles and height and just a big beefcake of a man at my side. Some guys like big boobs, mine are real and smallish. Some guys like blondes. I’m brunette. Some guys like girls over 5’5″. I’m five foot three. I understand that my look isn’t for everyone and the world is filled with beautiful people. I don’t get offended when a smokin hot guy tells me he goes for tall blondes. If anything I’ll start scanning the room to help find him one.
Yet, so many guys I meet take offense and get pissy when I say I like hard body guys. I don’t like meat heads. Meat heads are guys who grunt two word sentences and are well, dumb. I like smart, witty men with a warm compassionate heart and enough of a temper to not take my shit and put me in my place. A meat head is no match for me intellectually and they like what I look like but after talking to me for 5 seconds, they don’t like me. Anyway the point here is the celebrity discussion or the response to the “what’s your type” question is an excellent way to tell someone that you’re not attracted. If I say I like THE ROCK to a guy who looks like Joe Peci then they hope is the guy will put two and two together and presume he doesn’t have a shot in shit and move along to securing a spot in the friendzone.
There are a few key facts people need to understand when it comes to rejection. Understand these facts and your life will be changed, precious time will be saved, and the world over all will be a happier place.
FACT #1: Just because someone isn’t into you doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. You’re just not a fit for them for whatever reason. This THE most difficult thing for people to wrap their head around especially when there’s chemistry, attraction, rapport, respect, humor, basically all the things that would appear to be the seeds worth planting to see if a relationship could possibly grow. The simple truth is that there are other factors that determine if a person even wants to plant the seeds of relationship in the first place. Think of it this way. You have all the ingredients to make a fantastic dish of linguini white clam sauce. However, as long as these ingredients remain in the fridge and the cupboard, you’ll only have ingredients but you won’t have a meal and you’ll remain hungry or… you’ll eat something else until you are truly ready and in the mood for linguini white clam sauce. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with linguini white clam sauce. It’s wonderful! But for some reason you’re just not open to it. In relationships timing is everything. As we get older other factors come into play. Perhaps the person really likes you, the sex is amazing, you crack each other up all the time but maybe they want to become more secure financially and don’t really have the time to dedicate towards having a relationship. Maybe they just see you as a friend with benefits. The challenge here is what to do next. There are basically two options. Which leads me to…
FACT 2#: As soon as you learn they aren’t into you on the same level you are, you should no longer be into them. Think about it. Do you really want to waste time and energy on someone who isn’t into you? Using the above example if you spend time with someone, get physical with that person, sort of a friends with benefits situation, then you must must must proceed with pure intent. That’s the only way you maintain your dignity and self respect. The person was honest, they said they, for whatever reason don’t want a relationship with you. What’s interesting here is that if they seek you out and you talk about all sorts of things; have fun THAT IS A RELATIONSHIP!! It’s just a different, unique kind. Now, I never thought I’d be the kind of woman who would be open to a “friends with benefits” (FWB) arrangement. But life takes twists and turns and one thing I learned is to never say never. I was always a girlfriend to someone, and then I was a wife. So I never swam in the water. Instead I would leap from safety raft to raft until a better raft came floating along. So since being separated, my comfort zone tells me to find my next raft. However, the bigger part of me that wants to grow and better myself tells me to take a step back and have a relationship with myself. There are things I want to do for me. I want to get my career back on track. I want to have the level of income I once had. I want to set up a life of security for myself. I’m seeking stability but I’m not looking for a man to provide that for me. It’s scary. It’s hard. But I’m a smart girl with a smart blog and I believe in the pit of my soul that the more I write, the better my chances that something big will happen. Anyway back to the choices… Ok so once you have truth about how someone feels about you, you can bail and free yourself up to find a more serious relationship or… you can look inward as I did and realize that the reason you entertain this arrangement is because deep down, you aren’t ready for a serious relationship. If you were, you’d be in one or actively seeking one. Make peace with this. You are human. You need sex; you need companionship, moral support and whatever else and if you find happiness in keeping things casual yet respectful then just be open. When it comes to navigating the FWB arrangement, never ever operate from a place of hope that someday this person will see the light thinking that the more time you spend with them, the more wonderful or “worthy” they will perceive you to be. This is a trap people fall into. Instead just use the time together as an opportunity to grow. Don’t obsess over WHY they rejected you. Don’t presume if you knew you could change it to please them. Just be true to who you are and move forward with them in your life or without. The choice is always YOURS. Which leads to…
FACT #3: The reason why the person isn’t into you will not change the situation so why bother asking? Asking just leads to an awkward conversation forcing the person to judge and criticize you. Why give them that opportunity? Look we all want a reason. But that’s just a hurt ego whining like a 3 year old. “No, you can’t have the cookie, says mom.” “But whyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee wehhhhh I wannnnnnnt ittttttt.” When a person rejects you and you fail to take it with maturity and dignity it only turns the person who rejected you off more and justifies WHY the rejected you in the first place. So instead let the rejection roll off of you like water on a duck. You put yourself out there and that’s brave. You took a chance which took courage. Be grateful for the friendship for what it is able to be currently and then make decisions from there. My rule is simple. I will be with anyone who wants to be with me, provided I am attracted to them. Otherwise I’ll happily extend myself as a friend. If they don’t want my friendship, that is fine, toodaloo. That’s all I’m able to give them. I’m not attracted. Sorry! We’ll hang out have fun I’ll help you find a woman but I’m not getting naked with a man I’m not attracted to. I don’t care how nice he is, how great a job he has. We will be friends. My clothes will stay on. I believe that telling someone honestly that you find them smart and funny and welcome a friendship but don’t feel any spark. There’s no need to be mean and judgmental. OR… maybe there is spark. LOADS AND LOADS of spark. Maybe you have a FWB arrangement and it’s fun and fine and a perfect fit for where you are in your life right now. Then the rejection is more about you than it is the other person. “I like you. I’m attracted physically, I have fun with you. I respect you and think the world of you. But right now I’m working on myself and have a lot going on and it wouldn’t be fair to the person or me to enter a relationship at this stage in my life.” This is the kind of rejection that is sharing and sensitive. You’re showing vulnerability and who wouldn’t empathize? So don’t be the whiny 3 year old leading with the ego. Instead, lead with giving instead of getting. Give friendship. Give what the person is able to handle which is demonstrated by what they give to you. DO NOT…I REPEAT DO NOT overcompensate by giving too much. You want to be the person someone confides in, opens up to not the person who doesn’t get a phone call or a text for a week, then is asked for a ride to the airport which you jump at just to be in their presence. PLEASE. Smack yourself. DON’T BE THAT PERSON. THAT PERSON IS PATHETIC. Show interest, be brave and then listen to the feedback and also observe the actions. A person can SAY one thing and BEHAVE in another. Handle yourself accordingly.
FACT 4: Begging is annoying. No one likes a beggar. When a woman politely declines an advance be a gentleman, tell her it was lovely to meet her and excuse yourself. “Awwwh c’mon, just let me talk to you for a bit.” Ewww. Gross. I had this happen to me recently at HAVEN. This guy who I knew I wasn’t interested in in about .006 of a second thought I was interested in him simply because I asked to squeeze in by the bar to get a drink. Note to guys… when a woman is interested in you and purposely wants to squeeze in at the bar she will either brush up against you with her tits, or if she’s a bit more classy and not leading with the sex appeal because she knows she’s hot but has way way wayyy more to offer, she’ll touch your arm or shoulder as she slides in beside you. She’ll probably turn in your direction INVITING conversation. She doesn’t slide in with her back to you and proceeds to keep her back to you until her drink arrives and leaves without any eye contact whatsoever, which is what I did to this guy. Then he pretty much begged me to listen to him. I felt like I was JLo during an American Idol Audition and the singer was a tone deaf mess yet thought they were a star. He persisted and persisted even when I said his friend was handsome and proceeded to speak to the friend. “Awwwh c’mon man, you’re sliding on in and I’m trying to lock this one down.” I just started laughing. Lock this one down? Really? Good luck with that. I walked away which leads to a very very important tip. When you reject someone and they start begging walk away. Smile politely and say, look your girl is out there. I’m not her. Good luck. And GET OUT OF THERE because if you are anything like I the whining and weakness will make you angry and that’s when you slice someone with words. Keep it clean, not mean and reject and walk away.
FACT 5: Rejection is not to be debated. It is to be accepted with grace and dignity.
The worst is when a person becomes mean after they were rejected. A guy hits on you and you politely and firmly say, “I’m flattered you see me as someone you’d like to get to know better but I don’t feel the level of attraction I need to take it down the path of romance.” Then this guy snaps back, “Well what the hell do you want? You’re not so special. What makes you think you can get better than me? That’s pretty stuck up of you to think you’re better than me.” Blah blah blahhhhhh. Before grabbing him by the neck and growling FUCK OFF in his ear, take a deep breath and understand that despite your being polite, this guy’s fragile ego has been bruised. Conversely if a woman after rejected snaps back, “whatever you don’t know a good thing.” Or, “wow you like those fake ass bitches with fake tits, good go find a stripper. Or, “screw you then, you’re not worth my time. I’m too good for you anyway.” All of these responses are coming from a bratty ego and not from a level headed person in control of themselves. Instead smile and reply, well you are lovely and I’m sure you would make for a great friend. Let’s exchange numbers and hang out sometime. OR…if you feel like you can’t hang out with this person without breaking into a sweat and without fantasizing about your wedding day, then say “well you’re an interesting, attractive person so I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for, good luck.”
It has been said that a person’s character isn’t determined when they are at their best but instead when at their worst. Rejection can bring out the worst in all of us. It sucks! We all want to be approved of, loved, adored, and admired by as many people as possible. The problem is in our quest for mass approval we lose sight of what we really want. We think ooh this person likes me. They are smoking hot, smart, and funny and WOW they like MEEEEEEE! I’m valued. I am awesome. They like me. Yay! I rock! Who cares if this person is working on getting themselves where they wants to be financially, who cares that they lives like they are 14 and need someone to clean up after them. Who cares that they talk to their mother 3 times a day and have difficulties making solid decisions. Who cares?? This person likes me so I automatically like him. WRONG!! I did this for YEARS. It’s common with only children and extroverted people who see the world as their stage. If you clap I perform more. It becomes more about attention and ego boost that it is about the other person. Then when you pursue a relationship with someone just because they like you, you’ll spend your time trying to change the things in them that aren’t a fit.
The best approach I have learned is to consider every person who sticks a blessing. You know what you like and what you don’t. Some people are meant to be in your life for a specific reason. It’s bigger than you. I rejected a guy that I really, really, liked in a horrible, classless manner. I freaked out. This was a man I could really love and I haven’t met one of those in ages so, yeah it freaked me out. The timing sucked and I was confused and stressed out. My grandmother and dog died, my husband was back in the picture through the emotional turmoil and this other guy was right at the early stages. I handled myself like an idiot. I sabotaged it. I acted like a total snob. I was me at times but when I felt like I was too authentic I’d guard up. Stupid.
A month went by and the dust settled from the explosion of drama and bullshit the late summer and early fall brought me. It was the holidays and I was lonely, very lonely and very sad. I was sitting on my terrace looking at the view south of fifth and I thought of the last time I laughed. I was crying. I didn’t buy presents. I didn’t decorate. I opted out of Christmas. Sad and dark. But then through the tears I had a memory of the last time I cracked up laughing and it was something the guy I had rejected said. My tears were replaced by a smile and I texted him. I apologized and learned that he was more upset about not being my friend than anything else which meant a lot. I made a decision right then that I’d be myself with this person for better or worse and that I’d accept him for better or worse. I wouldn’t try to change him nor hold him to this expectation and standard that I THINK will make me happy. Instead I’d just happily offer any support if asked as we both try to improve ourselves. I’m not impressed with dating.
I’m not dater girl. Never was. I don’t like telling my same story to 10 different people. I’d rather just be social and if I meet someone I can tolerate for more than 10 minutes in a row, I’ll see if I can tolerate them for 4 hours. Then if that goes well I’ll see how much of them I can tolerate. That’s kind of how this friendship has been going. It’s more real. It’s not based on me having sunshine blown up my ass and being yessed to death. It’s not about me having a guy please me but more about me deciphering based on what I see. In some ways he’s totally for me and in others he’s not and I know the same holds true for me. I get to make choices as opposed to passively tolerating what I’m given. It forces me to look at things for what they are currently and not obsess in fantasy land.
Sometimes you can reject someone, recognize you made a huge mistake, apologize for it, and move forward. In the end people know what they like, what they don’t, what their red flags are. I admire this guy for not ignoring his red flags. It made me do the same. I’m not interested in seeking approval anymore. I’m just interested in having a man’s back and him having mine, like a team taking on the bullshit the world dishes out and celebrating the good. Rejection is hard to dish out and hard to take but either way it is truth and with truth smart decisions can be made.