Dating often involves rejection. Us finding someone may involve disappointments along the way. When we face rejection, we’re usually told to just ignore it and move on. But that rarely helps. We can only ignore it to a point, before we start to question ourselves, worry that we’re not enough, and maybe feel like giving up. We need advice that offers us more.
My colleagues always tease me and comment that all my posts start with me saying ‘I was talking to a friend the other day…’. They joke that I cannot be having this many conversations with people about relationships, and/or that no one can have that many friends.
I always smile and say that I do indeed love to talk about dating, relationships, and faith with lots of people (maybe too much), and I do have many friends! In fact, I was talking to one last week (honest) about her experience of online dating.
We were talking about the fear she had around online dating.
She said she didn’t want to use it at first, but gave it a go because her friends were encouraging her to, she was celebrating another birthday and was a year older, and there was still no one in her current social circle to date.
She has now found someone and is very happy in her relationship. As she was talking to me she was reflecting on what her experience was like. Especially because she never really wanted to use online dating in the first place.
She put it off for so long because of her fear of rejection
One thing she said which really struck me, was that she put it off for so long because of her fear of rejection.
This fear can be overwhelming whether we’re dating online or offline. The fear of meeting some you like, then they just end it and say no thanks. Or when it comes to online dating in particular, just the thought of knowing that people are looking at your profile, but deciding not to take it further.
It can be hard. My friend found this part of her online dating experience very hard.
This conversation reminded me that talking about how we can date well, and how to prepare for a date, etc., is important, but some people are still trying to get over some initial barriers.
The thought of going through any rejection is a big barrier. Especially when the reality is it could happen more than once as we search for someone.
We end up questioning what went wrong, if there’s something wrong with ‘me’
Most of the time, people say ‘just ignore it and move on’. While moving on is important (Read Revealed: Why Some Break-Ups Feel Good (After A While)), ignoring it is often not possible. We end up questioning what went wrong, if there’s something wrong with ‘me’, why it happened again, and getting our confidence knocked along the way.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee for avoiding rejection when we date, but we can think about how to overcome this barrier and replace some bad advice about rejection, with some good advice.
What To Do
There isn’t a simple solution on offer, but after talking to my friend, and thinking about some other experiences too, I hope that some/all/a mixture of the following points can help us get past the fear of, and the experience of, rejection.
Not Everyone Will Like Everyone
Firstly, we need a way to remind ourselves that not everyone will like everyone. If we could just start a fulfilling relationship with anyone, we would marry the first person we bumped into. But it doesn’t work like that.
There are good and nice people out there who we will not like romantically, and vice versa. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean we’re being rejected as a person, it just means it won’t work out. Not everyone is suited.
Some People Need A Distraction
It can be hard though, if you like someone and thought a date went well and they then feel differently. And you may just naturally dwell on it. That is understandable.
So you may need a distraction. We can’t ignore it, but we can’t dwell and obsess over it either. I’ve written about the importance of planning something in for the day after you go on a date because it will help you keep a healthy perspective. (Read The 3 Best Ways To Prepare For A Date).
We need ways to remember our lives are about more than just dating
We need ways to remember our lives are about more than just dating, especially if we have a negative experience of rejection. Doing something we find fun and fulfilling the day after a date can help us do that.
We Need To Talk About It
Often (online) dating is done in secret, and we don’t let many people know about it. Or we just tell people the good stories, and not about the times we felt hurt or let down by it. But we need to talk about the times it went wrong.
We need to share it and process it with people we trust, otherwise, the fear and rejection can really start to negatively impact, or even stop, our search for love. We need reassurance and support. (Read Who Else Wonders If Christian Online Dating is Okay?)
We May Need A Break
Dating is in many ways about perseverance. But no one can go full pelt indefinitely. We all need a break, and time away from things so we can re-group.
If it’s been hard lately, maybe we need some time away.
No one likes rejection, it affects us and we can’t just ignore it. But we can find ways to overcome the fear as we enter this crazy thing called dating.
Imagine if we stopped letting it hinder our search by remembering that: Not Everyone Will Like Everyone, Some People Need A Distraction, We Need To Talk About It, and We May Need A Break.
What others good bits of advice can you think of? Comments welcomed below.
Originally posted 18/12/2017