How to deal with rejection from a guy? Reminds me of the song 1 Sided Love by blackbear, “You’re too busy talking over me to hear what I’m saying…You’re so into yourself, everyone else is overrated…You don’t even notice, do you? Everything perfect to you…”
One-sided love sucks. To feel deeply for someone and not have those feelings reciprocated is just too painful and tiring. How not to let it destroy you from the inside and fill you with self-doubt? After all, rejection has the power to crumble your self-esteem, only if you let it.
So how to respond to rejection with dignity? For this, we talked to emotional wellness and mindfulness coach Pooja Priyamvada (certified in Psychological and Mental Health First Aid from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Sydney). She specializes in counseling for extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief and loss, to name a few.
11 Ways To Deal With Rejection From A Guy You Asked Out
Takes me back to the last scene in Fleabag when Phoebe says, “You know the worst thing is that I fucking love you. I love you. No, no, don’t. No. Let’s just leave that out there just for a second on its own. I love you.”
Then, in one devastating motion, the priest reaches across, grabs her hand and says matter-of-factly, “It’ll pass.” As crushing as this scene is, so is the pain of unrequited love. How to cope with that heartbreak? In other words, how to deal with rejection from a guy? Here are some expert tips:
1. Understand the psychology behind feeling rejected
Studies suggest that physical pain and social rejection activate common brain regions. These findings have been interpreted as evidence that physical pain and rejection are interpreted by the brain in the same way. So, being rejected almost feels as painful as a slap on the face.
Pooja points out, “The human mind is programmed in such a way that it seeks validation from others. When the validation is denied, the person feels they are not worthy of being loved and then there is a spiral of self-criticism and self-hate.”
So being rejected by a guy ends up triggering a deep subconscious wound that spells, “I am worthless”. What is it that hurts inside you? Your ego. Your sense of identity. Because you made all your worth dependent on the amount of validation you get from a single person.
Related Reading: How To Not Fall In Love Easily – 8 Ways To Stop Yourself
Hence the first step to deal with rejection is being aware of the fact that you are seeking your happiness and the solution to all your problems from the wrong place. Just because one person didn’t like you back doesn’t mean you are not worthy of being loved. The more you define yourself in relation to others, the more lost you become.
2. How to deal with rejection from a guy? Don’t take it personally
Being rejected by a guy can make you feel invisible and you start doubting yourself to the core. To this, Pooja says, “Most importantly, don’t take it personally. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back cannot be a measure for your entire existence. Try to remember your achievements and accomplishments, and most of all, who you were before this association.”
How to deal with rejection from a guy? Don’t let it turn into self-hatred. Think about all the monumental moments of your life. It could be the time you won that dance competition in seventh grade. Or the day you were selected to the college of your dreams. Or the day you chose to stay and fight, instead of giving up. Instead of thinking about all the times you failed, shift your perspective to all the times you shined.
Being rejected by someone you love can raise questions like, “Is something wrong with me? Why do I keep getting rejected by guys?” Pooja answers, “This is what most women wonder about often and they become self-critical. Rejection doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. It could also mean that this is not the best fit for you and there could be something better in the future.”
3. Think twice before acting out impulsively
The first phase of dealing with rejection can cause deep unbearable pain. After all, it’s not easy to accept the painful signs he doesn’t want a relationship with you. When this happens, focus on allowing yourself to feel all emotions. When your ego gets hurt, you may feel like making erratic decisions, and end up saying and doing the wrong things. Be conscious of it and try to limit the damage.
Know that you are triggered right now and try to delay that hateful text or phone call until you can trust yourself again. You will thank yourself later for not acting out impulsively. As time will pass by, you will wrap your head around it and will be able to accept it gracefully. This hatred and anger burning in your heart right now is just a temporary emotion.
How to deal with rejection from a guy? Pooja emphasizes, “Revenge is the first instinct of anyone dealing with rejection. But hatred and anger toward that person are only going to keep you suffering longer. Instead, invest this emotional energy in your healing and moving on.”
Related Reading: 10 Ways To Deal With Heartbreak
4. Don’t see it as a challenge to convince him of your worth
When my friend Carol got rejected by a guy, all she did for the longest time was to try to convince him of her worth. She started dressing better, started putting her best self on social media, and started trying too hard in front of him.
She would constantly say to me, “Why do I keep getting rejected by guys? If only he gets to know the amazing person I am, he will change his mind. He is just not able to see it and I want to show him how mature, humorous and intelligent I am. Once he gets to know that side of me, he will say yes.”
How to respond to rejection with dignity? If you notice signs he is not into you, take a step back. Know that his lack of reciprocation is NOT a challenge to convince him of your worth. Continue being you. You don’t have to try harder and your words, clothes and actions don’t have to scream that you want your feelings to be reciprocated. That will just show desperation and an obsessive need to be loved back on your part.
5. Draw an emotional boundary
Being rejected by a guy can cause confusing emotions inside you. Staying friends with him is torture because all you can think about is kissing him. But staying away from him is painful because all you want to do is talk to him and be close to him.
How to deal with rejection from a guy? Pooja answers, “Responding to rejection is never easy, the emotions are hard and complex. Staying friends can be possible for some but not easy for all, whereas maintaining your distance is also tough. In this choice, one has to see what seems safe and doable for them. One must always draw emotional boundaries in relationships.”
How to overcome rejection from a guy? Choose the middle path. If talking to him all day is taking too much of your headspace, try reducing communication instead of drastically blocking him. Be patient with yourself and don’t force yourself to take any action that doesn’t come naturally to you.
6. How to deal with rejection from a guy? Self-care and self-love
Pooja says, “Self-care and self-love often overlap; do something you love. How to love yourself? Do something that relaxes you, take that day off and head to the spa or go on a limited budget shopping spree. These acts of self-care help you improve your self-worth and help you heal from the hurt.”
So instead of waiting around anxiously for his text and obsessively fixating on him all day, go do some activity that requires your full attention and focus. It could be reading a book. Or watching a movie. Or writing in your journal. Or creating art. Or listening to music. Find healthy distractions that work for you.
7. Try seeing him in a more realistic light
How to deal with rejection from a guy? Pooja answers, “As they say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Sometimes things/people inaccessible to us seem very attractive but that isn’t essentially the fact. Give other people a fair chance, don’t keep comparing everyone else to him, he is not the gold standard here.”
Since you are in love with him, you have constructed a near-perfect image of him inside your head. And then for days and months on end, you worship this fake idol. You have put him on a pedestal and have started believing he is too good for you since he rejected you.
Related Reading: How To Get Over Someone You Love Deeply – 9 Steps To Follow
To overcome rejection from a guy, try seeing him for what he truly is. Try seeing him from the eyes of a friend or sibling. Then you will see that there are certain negative attributes too that you have overlooked. Is he rude and acts entitled sometimes? Does he lack hobbies, passion and a bigger purpose in life? Whatever it is that makes him human will make you realize that he is not as perfect and irreplaceable as he seems to you.
8. Use this experience to become humbler
Being rejected by someone you love can bring a lot of childhood trauma to the surface. Maybe as a child, you felt neglected, unheard, unseen and unloved. And this experience is bringing all those negative emotions back.
How to deal with rejection from a guy? Use this as a blessing in disguise. Let go of the belief that you know what’s right for you. Stop wasting your energies trying to bend reality or getting what your heart desires at any cost.
Sometimes you just don’t know what’s in store for you. So try surrendering to the universe. Try being humble for once. Humility doesn’t mean you start feeling worthless. Humility means you start to become aware of your relative insignificance in the bigger scheme of things.
9. Channel your energies
How to deal with rejection from a guy? Use all that fire in your belly for a greater purpose. All these hours that you are wasting fixating and obsessing over someone…Use that time for something more important or worthwhile.
It could be working harder at the gym. Or taking up another freelancing job. Or meeting some childhood friends. Or taking up a new hobby like pottery. It could be anything that makes your soul happy and makes you feel good about yourself. Take all that pain, grief and sorrow inside you and find a place to bury it.
If you don’t, you will find yourself buried in unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, smoking up or drinking. Instead, try to make healthier choices. Put on those headphones and do some yoga and meditate to calm your anxiety and overthinking.
10. Try being happy for others
How to deal with rejection from a guy when he goes on to date your best friend? Pooja answers, “Well, unreciprocated love is still love but not the real thing as they say. Having the person around dating your best friend can be an emotional trigger but instead of thinking about him try to focus on your friend’s happiness.”
What are the ways to get over and cope with unrequited love? Poets often say that true love is a feeling that is unconditional and devoid of expectations to be loved back. I know it requires you to be the bigger person but try opening your heart to be happy in his happiness. Loving someone without the expectation of being loved back is a powerful place to be in.
Related Reading: 8 People Define Unconditional Love In Beautiful Ways
11. How to deal with rejection from a guy? Seek professional help
Pooja says, “Sometimes we get stuck on someone and this could be due to our unhealthy codependency on them. If this is affecting your mental health, speak to a relationship counselor, they could guide you toward healing from rejection.”
If it has been months and you are still feeling triggered, stuck and worthless, maybe it is high time you seek the help of a therapist. Talking about it to a licensed professional can ease your burden and help you heal and let go with generosity the guy who is not able to love you back. Our counselors from Bonobology’s panel are just a click away.
Finally, let’s end with a quote I read on The Artidote, “When you let go of people you are painfully seeking approval or love from, you return to yourself. You return to what feels truer to you and to what brings you happiness. You are reminded that life does not always have to feel bad, that you do not always have to feel like you aren’t enough, that what you want for yourself and your future goes beyond a single person’s regard of you. You notice the energy starts to shift and flow more fluidly. Pay attention to all of this.”
How to deal with rejection from a guy? Accept and respect his decision, even though it hurts you. You don’t have to argue or convince him to change his mind.
You cannot force yourself to stop thinking, it is something that comes organically if you focus on self-love and ways to take care of yourself. You can even treat yourself with some self-care and wellbeing gifts to feel better. Take your time to grieve, process and move on.
If talking to him is torture and is too painful for our mental health, there is no harm in taking some space. You can just communicate with him that you need time to make peace with it. Use this time to love yourself and move on to people who can reciprocate your love.