wikiHow to Deal With Rejection from a Guy You Asked Out

Three Parts:Responding in the MomentRecovering Your Self-EsteemFocusing on Other Goals

Romantic rejection can be a painful experience. People who have been rejected actually feel hurt in the same way as someone experiencing physical pain.[1] Despite how much it can hurt for a guy you ask out to say no, you can recover from the pain and come back even stronger than before. Learn how to respond in the heat of the moment, recover from feeling bad about yourself afterward, and focus on other goals in your life.

Part 1
Responding in the Moment

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    Accept his decision. As much as you may want to convince him to change his mind, this will only cause embarrassment. Avoid arguing with him or trying to get him to see what he's missing out on. [2]
    • For example, say "I'm sad that you're not interested, but I understand and respect your decision."
    • Additionally, this will show him that you're mature and self-sufficient.
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    Acknowledge your feelings. You may feel dumb for asking him in the first place. You may feel devastated because you really thought he was the one for you. You may be angry at him (maybe he led you on) and need some space. All of these reactions are okay. Give yourself permission to feel whatever pops up in your body after the rejection. Avoid suppressing your emotions for his sake or because you feel like you should feel something else. You can't control how you feel, but the best way to move on from these feelings is to give them space and let them pass. [3]
    • Acknowledging your feelings doesn't mean you have to accept them as true. For example, you can acknowledge that you feel stupid in the moment without thinking that you're actually stupid in reality.
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    Recover the friendship. If you are friends with the guy, you may be worried about things being awkward between you after the rejection. This doesn't have to be the case, especially if you have a close friendship with the guy.[4] You may want to let him know your intentions so he can feel safe rather than pressured in his decision. Here are some things you can say to let him know how you're feeling:
    • "I hope we can still be friends even though you don't want something more."
    • "I need some time, but after that would you like to hang out as friends?"
    • "I don't want it to be awkward between us. I'd still like to be friends. How about you?"
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    Make an exit. If you're really sad about the rejection, don't force yourself to stick around. Make an excuse for needing to leave. You can go home and handle your emotions there, or call a girlfriend to talk with. Whatever you do, avoid using him as a shoulder to cry on, because he will be in too awkward a position to comfort you.
    • If you're really nervous, you can even tell a friend to call you at a specific time, so that if you do get rejected they can "save you."
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    Be honest and sincere.[5] It's okay to tell him that you're disappointed, that it may take some time before you can see him again, and whatever else you're feeling. This isn't the same thing as asking him to support you emotionally. Being honest about your feelings will show him that you're still interested in communication and that you respect him enough to let him in on your own emotional process. Also, since he was honest with you, it's good to match that honesty in your response.

Part 2
Recovering Your Self-Esteem

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    Ask yourself what you were hoping to receive. When we want to be in a relationship with someone, it usually means there are things we want from that person, such as care, intimacy, and companionship.[6] Try to figure out what you were wanting, and then see if there are other ways to get the same things.
    • For example, do you have a close friend you can spend more time with? Is there someone else that would actually be a better fit romantically for these needs? Once you've discovered what it is you need, you can address those needs directly.
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    Recognize that each situation and person is unique. Just because one guy rejects you doesn't mean everyone else will. Avoid over-generalizing and thinking that you're undesirable just because it didn't work out with one person. It's possible he doesn't even dislike you; sometimes guys are just not ready for a relationship or the timing is off. Avoid making assumptions about your self-worth because of a rejection. [7]
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    Make a list of things you love about yourself. When a guy rejects you, it says nothing about you. All it does is show that you two weren't compatible. There are other guys who will appreciate what you have to offer. Make a list of these things to remind yourself of your worth and desirability. Here are some potential examples:
    • Are you a great cook?
    • Are you confident in yourself?
    • Are you financially independent?
    • Are you pursuing an education? Do you already have one?
    • Can you deal with spiders and insects? Some guys are afraid of them!
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    Avoid blaming yourself.[8] Avoid the temptation of trying to figure out "what you did wrong" or how you aren't "good enough." There are guys who will accept you for who you are, so don't think you need to change in order to be appreciated and loved. If a guy rejects you, he wasn't the one for you.
    • A common mental mistake that people make is called "personalization." This involves thinking that everything someone does is a reaction to you personally. Avoid personalizing the guy's reaction by thinking that it reflects directly on you and your self-worth. Him saying no does not mean anything about your self-worth.
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    Take some pain relieving medication. It may sound silly, but social rejection activates the same pathways in the brain as physical pain. If you're experiencing a lot of pain over the rejection, take some acetaminophen (Tylenol). It may not completely eliminate the hurt, but studies show that it can help. [9]
    • There's no replacement for engaging your support network of friends and family, though.
    • Avoid trying to cope with intoxicating drugs or alcohol. This won't help in the long-run.

Part 3
Focusing on Other Goals

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    Work on your education. Are you in middle school? High school? College? Focus on what really matters in your life, like completing your education and becoming a more informed, more capable, more mature person. You'll encounter guys all along the way, but you probably won't have endless opportunities to educate yourself.
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    Pursue your own goals. Have you always wanted to travel to Europe? Would you like to start an exercise routine? You can distract yourself from the pain of rejection by focusing on things in your life that are meaningful and will make you happy.
    • It's also okay to mope for a little while. It's natural to feel bad after rejection. Don't be too hard on yourself if it takes you a few days to get on your feet again.
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    Spend time with friends and family. Where rejection really hits us is in our sense of social belonging.[10] Rekindle your relationships with friends. Find a community you can attend such as church or a reading group. Even joining a chat room can be helpful for your sense of self-worth and belonging. Surrounding yourself with good people and communities will help you feel better about the rejection.
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    Deal with emotional side effects. Rejection can cause other painful, destructive emotions such as anger and aggression. There are ways you can deal with these emotions, such as: [11]
    • Expressing yourself in words. A journal can be a good idea, or posting on an online forum, or talking to your best friend.
    • Practicing deep breathing. One way to reduce anger and other powerful emotions is to remember to breathe. If you calm your body, your mind will follow.[12]
    • Seeing a counselor if you need additional help. Psychological counselors can help you learn to handle your emotions and promote your self-esteem so that rejection won't be so hard in the future.
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    Practice letting go.[13] It's normal to have difficulty getting over a guy who rejects you. If you feel like you're obsessing or you just can't get him out of your head, practice these techniques to make a speedy recovery and get on with your life:
    • Write down what attracted you to the guy. Was he smart, funny, cute? Was he a good listener? Acknowledge what made you want to be with him.
    • Let yourself grieve the loss of not going out with him. You probably imagined possible future experiences with him, but those futures are closed off now. It's okay to be sad about that.
    • Ask yourself what isn't closed off now. Are there other guys that you're interested in? If not, maybe you'll have extra time to work on yourself and your other relationships? Maybe you'll have more free time to have fun or take care of responsibilities? Shift your imagination to the future rather than mourning the past and would could have been.

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Categories: Handling Rejection