I’ve been trying to catch up with my YouTube subscriptions, which means I watched a lot of zeFrank. I still think he’s absolutely brilliant. Some days, his vlog entry is light-hearted and amusing. Some day’s it’s not, and it resonates with me. This time, it’s his entry “Dealing with Rejection.” It’s talking about college applications, but it spoke to me on other levels as well.
Rejection has been something I’ve had to deal with quite a bit over the last year or so, professionally and personally. Professionally, rejection has never hurt me a whole lot, because I have a great deal of confidence in my professional world and have always known that the rejection wasn’t really about me – the job wasn’t a good fit, or the employer had constraints on them that precluded hiring me.
In my personal life, it’s always been harder for me. I don’t find it easy to make new friends or meet potential dates, so I decided to try online dating a little over a year ago. I have met some nice people, and even made a friend or two, so it hasn’t been a total loss. But then there’s a pattern that bugs the snot out of me. I’ve chatted at length with a few guys, gone on several first dates, a couple of second dates, and even had one guy where things seemed to be great after four dates. Then they just disappear… they don’t return my email or text, and don’t call again. If I hadn’t kept seeing them around online, I’d have assumed they were abducted by aliens or Mexican drug cartels.
It’s very disconcerting for me, and it’s hard for me to not take it personally. In this age of technology, I can’t help wonder what would have been so hard about sending an email or text saying essentially “it’s been fun, but I don’t want to keep seeing you.” Apparently that’s not the way things work in the current dating world. My nephew assures me that this is just how some guys think. He says they’re insensitive cowards and not all guys are like that, but that doesn’t take the sting out.
I find myself feeling the “feels” that zeFrank talks about:
- anger – Fine, your loss, jerk.
- shame – I’m not good enough, I’m too outspoken, too fat, too something. I’m too desperate, or not desperate enough.
- sadness – It hurts when someone doesn’t want me.
- hopelessness, fear – What’s the point of trying, it never works out anyway.
I’m doing better with the whole thing, really. I used to spend weeks (or longer) analyzing every conversation, re-reading every email exchange, trying to work out for myself what happened, what I did wrong. I’d agonize over whether I should send one more email or text, in the event that my messages had gone astray or into someone’s spam folder.
Now, I do still wonder if I should send another email, just in case (I don’t), and spend a short period of time wondering if there was something I did that I regret. Ultimately though, my goal for my next relationship is to be authentically me. To not bend or conform myself to meet what I think the guy wants from me, but to be true to myself. So what if I was too liberal, too outspoken, too confident, too weird, or too fat? It just means that he didn’t appreciate me for the person who I am, and I’m better off without him. Maybe the next guy will. Or not.
ZeFrank says that rejection means you’re playing with your upper limits, and not playing it safe. I suppose that’s true. Doesn’t make it any more fun, though.