How to Deal with Rejection
The cause behind most online dating disappointments is rejection. No one likes being rejected and depending upon your level of sensitivity and commitment to online dating, the regularity with which you are plagued by feelings of rejection may be occasional or quite often.
However, rejection is inevitable — both in online dating and “traditional” dating. It cannot be avoided. Even the most eligible matches have experienced rejection; it is part and parcel of leading any kind of life that doesn’t involve hiding in a cave, living a hermit-esque existence and cutting yourself off from the world.
With that in mind, your success in online dating is partly attributable to how well you handle rejection and how quickly you bounce back from it. In this post I want to explore why online dating rejection should be nothing but a minor road bump on the journey to finding your perfect match.
Why You Often Shouldn’t Even Feel Rejected
There are various stages at which one can be rejected in the online dating world. In my opinion, it is natural that some might provoke negative emotions, but many scenarios of “rejection” should be of little to no consequence to you.
For instance, consider the following examples:Someone views your profile but doesn’t get in touch
- You view someone’s profile but they don’t get in touch
- Someone is selected as an ideal match but doesn’t get in touch
- You send a “wink” (or equivalent) to someone but they don’t respond
- You send someone a message but they don’t respond
- You get one or more replies from a match but then they stop responding
I group all of these scenarios into the “you shouldn’t even feel like you’ve been rejected” bracket. My reasoning is this: why waste negative energy on feelings of rejection when you don’t even know if you’ve been rejected? Not getting a response of some kind under any of the above circumstances does not necessarily mean rejection, because there are a number of alternative explanations.
- May not have noticed your view/wink
- May not have read your message
- May not be active
- May have no intention of actually engaging in online dating
The overruling message is this — don’t waste negative emotional energy on an assumption that may or may not be reflected in reality. Far better to assume nothing at all than to believe a fallacy.
Why Rejection Shouldn’t Bother You
There are however times when rejection is clear — when a match has essentially decided that you are not for them. It can be a bitter pill to swallow but it is inevitable and your negative feelings tend to grow in line with the level of interaction you have experienced with the match.
Rejection bothers everyone, if only a little. It’s only natural. But in reality the negative emotions provoked by rejection are of little practical use. In an ideal world, the effect that rejection has on you should be absolutely minimal. That’s the position you should assume from an objective viewpoint, but I appreciate that cancelling out feelings of rejection is not always that simple.
So let’s explore why we don’t like rejection. It can often feel like a personal attack — a judgment on our character and a sober reminder of our imperfections. Anyone’s going to find that tough to deal with. If you’re insecure about yourself then rejection is bound to have a notable impact but insecurity is certainly not a necessity for feeling bad about rejection.
However, it shouldn’t bother you for one simple reason: rejection is typically a good thing. It is a natural filtering process that prevents you from pairing up with someone who isn’t right for you.
Let me explain what I mean by way of a short story from my own dating life.
Third Date Rejection
I had a great connection with someone I met through Match.com. After a relatively brief message exchange we agreed to meet up.
The first date was fantastic; the best I’d ever been on. I had told her that I had a heart condition that meant I couldn’t drink alcohol or caffeine and she brought me a pack of organic decaffeinated tea — a very sweet gesture and surely a positive sign. We had a great time and agreed to meet again soon.
The second date went just as well and I even got a kiss at the end (as per my second date kiss rule). But then a week passed and I heard nothing. Finally I received the seemingly inevitable text message: a third date is never going to happen. She told me that she thought we were in different places in terms of what we wanted from a relationship and that it wouldn’t work.
The above story isn’t fictional — it happened to me. And while it sucked, I recognised that I didn’t really have any reason to feel rejected. Although it was a shame that it didn’t go any further and I was entitled to feel bad about that, I had no just cause to occupy myself with negative emotions connected with rejection. The fact is that a relationship with that girl wasn’t going to work — although we may have been well matched in terms of looks and personality, clearly there were some fundamental issues in terms of our relative positions on relationships. Why would I want to be in a doomed relationship? Isn’t it absurd to be bothered by feelings of rejection under such circumstances?
This way of thinking applies to just about any situation in which you are rejected. Consider an extreme example where you are rejected by someone who doesn’t consider you attractive enough. Would you really want to be with someone who didn’t think you attractive? Of course not — so why bother yourself with feelings of rejection from someone who you wouldn’t actually want to be with? Given that there are plenty of people out there who would like to be with you and would be far better suited, why waste any more than a moment’s reflection on someone who is clearly a poor match?
A New Outlook on Rejection
I appreciate that this way of thinking may not be intuitive but it is a healthy way to look at the world of online dating (and dating in general). It’s essentially a cyclical way of thinking that renders feelings of rejection redundant:
- If someone isn’t interested in you then they’re not a good match.
- If they’re not a good match then why feel bothered if they reject you?
We go through life experiencing rejection in many forms. The key is in how we react and deal with rejection. Take a stand against redundant ways of thinking and resolve instead to treat rejection with the indifference that it deserves. After all, you’re looking for someone who likes you for you, so why waste your time on anyone that is not able to offer that?