The sting of rejection

Unless you have really thick skin, nearly all rejection has a little sting. Even from someone you aren’t really interested in!

mosquitoIf you email a guy and he responds, even with a nice “Thank you, but we’re not a match,” that has a mosquito-size sting. You’re over it in a nanosecond. You might not even notice.

If you’ve talked on the phone and he either doesn’t call again, or sends an email saying he doesn’t feel a spark, that hurts a little bit too. Like hitting your elbow on your desk. You barely notice.

You go out to dinner with someone after a nice phone conversation. You have an enjoyable time, he’s a very nice guy, but you’re not feeling a spark. However, you have been advised that often there isn’t a spark until the second or even third date, so you’re willing to have another encounter. At the end of the date he hugs you and gives you a quick kiss on the lips.

You send him a nice email thanking him for dinner, telling him the qualities you liked in him, and saying you’re open to another outing if he’d like. You get a nice email in response saying he could see you as a friend, but there was no romantic spark.

Ouch. Not a big ouch, but an ouch. It stings a little even though you didn’t feel drawn to him. Why does it smart a little? You knew there wasn’t a big draw on your side, so why should it hurt at all?

My theory: Because it was he who said “there’s no attraction,” not you. Silly, in a way, because the end result is the same. So why does it matter who pointed out the pink elephant in the living room? Neither of you felt “it” so why should it sting at all? Heck, this was much less painful than dental work, stubbing your toe hard, or falling off your bike. But the ego gets a tiny bruise just the same.

But I think most of us would rather have some closure, even if there’s some brief discomfort, rather than not hear anything.

The key is to not wallow in the pain. Feel it, notice it, and then move on. Remind yourself that it is good that this happened now, as you could have wasted time thinking about and trying to set up another encounter when there really wasn’t a spark. Let it go.

bandaidPut a bandaid on your ego, if necessary, and move on. Athletes with injuries much worse than this keep playing the game, they don’t give up because they’re clear on their priorities.


Technorati Tags:,,,,,,,, , , , ,

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to


4 responses to “The sting of rejection”

  1. Elena Avatar

    Yes, it does sting and quite frankly, it doesn’t get any easier, at least not for me. I find those little stings demoralizing. I’m probably in the minority here but after many of these first dates generated by online dating sites, I’d rather not hear “Thanks but no thanks” after that first outing. If the guy doesn’t call, email or ask for a second date after the first meeting, that’s all I need to know that he wasn’t really attracted/interested. No need for me to hear the words “I really wasn’t feeling it” from him to get “closure.”

  2. PreviouslyQueenofE Avatar

    This struck a nerve, because I have experienced some rejections that felt more like stings, but were actually the “get out of jail free” cards I’ve seen elsewhere in this blog. I was more angry that I hadn’t pulled the plug first even though I was eternally grateful the plug had been pulled!! I’m working on that…anyway, this is what scares me about online dating. People just aren’t themselves online…they may write well (or cut and paste) and be totally inarticulate in person, or write terribly and be totally charming in person! That’s whay I am forsaking online dating. I’ve had only two experiences, but the first one was a first date that felt forced and I didn’t see him again, and the second one resulted in a totally wrong four month relationship – if I had met this man at a party, we would never have dated each other, and he knew it too, we actually discussed it. I guess at first we thought we could be the poster couple for that site, but after a short time it became pretty apparent we weren’t made for each other, and yet we stuck it out a while longer, on my side because I had placed my faith in this online matching service instead of on my own gut feelings. Probably on his side, too.

    So these little rejections sting, and why go through them? Get out and meet people. I was worried because I live and work in a very shallow dating pool, and yet I have friends in big cities who are facing the same problems. The upshot is, when it’s right, it will happen. Not to say we don’t need to put ourselves out there – no one gets a date sitting at home waiting for Mr. Right to magically appear in some romantic comedy plot twist. I’m thinking that the online dating thing makes us lose some of our natural filters. After all, if you’ve already spent some time emailing, talking on the phone, etc, you’re more likely to give Bachelor #1 the benefit of the doubt…and possibly spend more time in making allowances than you would have if you had met him face to face first. Some of those “Next!” statements might have happened more quickly, and without the sting of rejection to add injury to indifference.

    Sorry for the digression. from the original topic I’ve been enjoying this blog for a month or so and finally felt the urge to comment!

  3. Ellen Avatar

    I was told something long ago that has made rejection not painful and here it is: If someone rejects me, it tells me something about him but nothing about me. In other words, it has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with him. This has really kept me from feeling rejected at all. I’m all for taking stock when a relationship goes bad and finding out what part I had in it, if only that I pick the wrong men and ignore red flags, but a rejection just says something about the other person. Try it!

    xo Ellen

  4. Gatti Avatar

    In my round of Internet dating at the end of the year (before I found the dearest man on earth and gladly gave the whole thing up) the only one that stung a bit, and only for a day or so, was a fellow with whom I had several nice telephone chats, he was **very** keen to meet. We had a lovely chat on Christmas Eve, he said he would call on Boxing Day but on Christmas morning I got the “have a nice life” email. After the conversation with me, he said, someone from before called him and he was going to go back with her, as he couldn’t do two relationships at the same time. Nothing to do with me, he said. I’ve heard that one before…

    I was a bit shaken and annoyed, it wasn’t a nice thing to get on Christmas morning.

    Then for the next week I see that he was still logging onto the site every day. Hmmm….. After about a week I couldn’t resist and wrote him an email asking if perhaps he was still available and I would hate not to meet because of a mis-communication. No, no, he wrote back, it was all true and he was logging onto the site just to check up on “favourites”. Oh. Of which I was, obviously, not one. Now I was ticked.

    He had told me about some of the dates from hell he’d had, much, much worse than anything that happened to me (actually all of my dates were perfectly nice, just not the men for me). I wondered what on earth I had managed to say in three telephone conversations that indicated that I was worse than some of the fruitcakes he’d been out with. And then I said to myself…NEXT!

    On the first of February I met my darling boyfriend (through the same site, I might add. It is a decent site actually). And several months later, just for fun, I checked if Mr. Christmas was still there (possible without actually logging into the site, if you know how). And there he was, with the same profile and everything.

    I hope he’s happy. I’m very happy that it didn’t continue. I’m happy for every moment that led me to where I am now.