How To Keep Your Cool (And Your Friendship) After A Rejection

Friendship
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Colonoscopies. Stepping on a Lego. Accidentally drinking spoiled orange juice.

A lot of things are more fun than being rejected. When you muster up the courage to ask someone on a date and they turn you down, it hurts. You laid it all on the line, got told no, and at least for a second wanted to swear off dating forever.

Take a deep breath. Rejection will never be a cakewalk, but there are healthy ways to react when you hear “no” that keep your dignity, and your friendship, intact.

  • Keep calm and carry on. Don't get angry or lash out, in the moment or afterwards, no matter how much you want to. It's not someone's fault if they're not interested in you, and it's not your fault if you have feelings for them. In both cases, it's just the way it is and no one owes anyone anything. Take time to yourself if need be, then come back to the friendship when you're ready to accept the situation.
  • Avoid “over it” overkill. Friendship is a shaky thing after rejection. You don't want to act like you're still into them, but you also don't want to go out of your way to show how “over it” you are. Acting like you're better off is childish, potentially hurtful, and may come off as intentionally trying to provoke jealousy. Take the high road.
  • Address the awkwardness. There's no way to avoid it – being around someone when you both know how you feel is uncomfortable. The best way to make that awkwardness disappear is to acknowledge it. It's ok to say things are still a little weird. You'll probably both agree, have a giggle about it, and release some of the tension. Remember: we mostly take cues from each other, so if you act awkward around someone, they're more likely to act awkward around you.
  • Actually be a friend. Yes, the best way to keep a friendship intact is to keep being a friend. That means no holding onto false hope, no rudeness when they start seeing someone new, no constant reminders of your feelings, and no schemes to get them to fall in love with you. You are just friends – act accordingly.

One of the best ways to handle rejection is to go into it with the right mindset. Before asking someone on a date, set appropriate expectations. Keep your hopes and emotions to a reasonable level. Remember that rejection is almost never a reflection on who you are. And at the end of the day, you still have a friendship worth cherishing.