It can really suck when you get rejected and it’s usually just as bad to be the person put in the position of rejecting. There were a few times in high school when I got asked out, and I just wasn’t interested. The guys were perfectly nice, but as I’ve shared before, I don’t really like dating.
I really wanted everyone to think of me as a “nice girl,” so I always resented being put in the position of rejecting someone. Looking back, that was a pretty selfish attitude, especially considering it takes a lot of guts to put your feelings out there. Anyway, though I was scared of being mean to these guys, it definitely doesn’t mean that I handled rejecting them well.
When I was 15, I went out on a couple dates with a totally nice guy, but I kind of freaked out about where things were going. We didn’t know each other super well, but we did have some mutual friends. I am cringing just thinking about it, but I had my friend reject him for me since I couldn’t tell him to his face. I guess I convinced myself that if I didn’t have to actually do the rejecting, then I would still seem “nice.” As you can maybe guess, I barely saw him again after that.
A couple years later, a guy I knew asked me out when I was not expecting it at all. My initial response: “Oh, maybe.” That was a mistake when I knew what I meant was “no.” When he checked back in a couple days later, instead of calming down and explaining that I didn’t think it was a good idea, I told this very elaborate story about how I was kind of hooking up with another guy. Now, this wasn’t a lie, but I probably exaggerated my involvement with this other guy as a way to give myself an excuse without seeming “mean.”
This ended up being a bad idea because my tryst with that other guy was very much on the DL, so I just looked really suspicious pulling his name out as my excuse. Naturally, the guy I rejected asked our mutual friends if it was true… but they didn’t know I was hooking up with someone. When they said no, I suddenly found myself having to explain my business and do some damage control to make sure I hadn’t exaggerated too much. It wasn’t the “easy” rejection I’d imagined.
Cut to my freshman year of college when one of my guy friends told me that he liked me. I got panicky flashbacks for a second, but I thought about how badly my previous attempts at rejection had turned out. I decided for the first time to just be totally honest with my rejection. I mean, this guy was cool and I wanted us to be friends. I didn’t want to have to chart new paths around campus to avoid ever seeing him (yup, totally did that in high school).
So I took a deep breath and explained that I didn’t think us getting together was a good idea, but that I really liked being friends. Yeah, he was kind of bummed out (which obviously made me feel kind of bad), but he understood. And you know what? Though it was a twinge uncomfortable in the moment, we both made it out alive and even stayed friends.
I realized how much I’d matured since that first rejection that had left me with a lot of awkwardness and regret. I had realized that rejecting someone doesn’t make you a bad person or not a “nice girl.” If anything, it shows your character if you can stay true to yourself without being reckless with someone else’s feelings. In these situations, it really is just best to be straightforward. I know that doesn’t seem like a mind-blowing secret, but I will stand by it as the method that works the best.
Have you ever rejected someone? How did it go? Do you have any regrets about how you handled your rejection of someone? Tell me in the comments.