The INSIDER Summary:
- Getting rejected stinks, but your reactions afterwards can make it worse.
- Experts told INSIDER the worst things you can do after being rejected are taking it personally, wallowing in sadness, and taking it out on the other person.
- This can affect your mental health and your relationship with the person who rejected you.
There is nothing easy about getting rejected by a potential partner. It’s embarrassing, it can bruise your ego, and it’s disappointing. The future that you thought you might have with them has been ripped out of your hands and that is never going to feel good.
It’s totally natural to want to comfort yourself in moments like these. No one will blame you if you have a little cry, lock yourself in your room for a night, and watch your sad movie of choice with some ice cream. And of course, you can cope in non-stereotypical ways too.
That comfort might be physically needed because the feeling of rejection can actually light up the part of the brain associated with physical pain. You’re not only soothing your emotions, but your physical well-being.
And while there’s no “right” way to deal with rejection, there are a few wrong ones that can not only damage your emotions but put you on bad terms with the person who rejected you.
When I asked experts about this subject, the same answer came up fairly often: Don’t take it personally.
“When we are rejected it feels personal, but it usually has to do with many other factors; the person we are attracted to is not in a place for a relationship, the job interviewer had too many candidates, the publisher was looking for a different kind of book,” psychologist Helen Odessky told INSIDER. “Taking it personally means, you blame yourself entirely for a situation that is two-sided. A better option is to look at it from the other sides point of view and consider it not a good fit.”
Taking it personally can be hard on a person’s mental health because it’s easy to blame yourself when someone turns you down. But, what I heard from so many people is that most of the time, rejection has little to nothing to do with you.
Psychologist Devon Berkheiser told INSIDER that some solid reflection may be in order after a rejection, but the key is not to go overboard and think there is anything inherently wrong with you.
“Much of the time, rejection does not mean that there is anything wrong with you, but simply that you are not the exact fit that the other person was looking for,” she said. “Just because you aren’t right for somebody does not mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. At the same time, it may be worth taking an honest look at yourself and considering whether there are some changes that you may want to make, in order to make yourself a better partner.”
In addition, one of the worst things you can do when rejected is allowing that aforementioned Netflix binge go on more than a few days, according to behaviorist Linda Williams.
“The worst thing you can do when romantically rejected is to wallow in the rejection,” she told INSIDER.
And while all of these can potentially hurt your own mental health, trying to convince the person who rejected you that they made a mistake or getting angry with them can harm your relationship and ultimately make you feel worse.
“After a rejection, continuing to pursue that person demonstrates poor boundaries,” psychologist John Paul Garrison said. “Poor boundaries often suggest dysfunctional personality traits that stem from issues entirely unrelated to the romantic interest.”
“One of the absolute worst things to do when you are rejected is to insult the person who rejected you,” said Michelene Wasil, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “That doesn’t give you a free pass to be a hurtful a-hole. Take the rejection with dignity and learn from the experience.”
Rejection is never going to feel good, but it’s also never a dead-end. In the end, that person may actually be doing you a favor so you can find someone better suited to you, Bette Levy Alkazian, a psychotherapist, told INSIDER.
“In most cases, the rejection has nothing to do with you,” she said. “You are a perfect match for someone out there, just not that person.”
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