What’s going on Doc,
I’m in need of some advice on how to take rejection better. Not necessarily in the moment when it happens because I feel like I’ve become a pro at that, but in the days that linger on before you’ve met someone else you’re into and the person who rejected you is still in your social orbit.
Here’s a story to illustrate what I mean:
So first things first, I’m heavily involved in the stand-up comedy scene in my hometown. I perform, help run shows, and handle a lot of the marketing. This also means that I’m a familiar face at a few of the bars in town where shows take place. Second things second, there was this woman, see…like a lot of these stories go. We go from sharing smiling glances from across the bar to breaking the ice. Some nights we’d speak with each other, other nights we’d stick to our own social groups since she doesn’t normally come to the bars I do shows at for the stand-up comedy, she just has a lot of friends who go to the same places.
Anyway, on one particular night we end up socializing in the same general group after a show until the group wittles down to just the two of us, and I then proceed to ask her on a date. She tells me that she’s in a newish relationship but is flattered by the proposal. I try my best to put any nervousness she may have at ease by cracking a few jokes; departing not too long afterwards by wishing her a good night, which she smiled ear to ear at and seemed to genuinely appreciate.
So hey, seems like a positive story right? I didn’t get what I wanted but according to my own observation she seemed to find my attempt charming and I put myself out there even though I didn’t know where I would land. I haven’t dated someone in over a year due to being, frankly, devastated from losing a job I loved (albeit in a poorly paying industry), and have slowly been regaining confidence by going back to school for a higher paying career change that is finally starting to show its upside. I respect her choices and have no intentions of asking her again or even referencing it in jest.
Thing is, the next time we were at the same bar I honestly had no damn clue how to act around her. We didn’t speak, I stuck strictly by my own friend group the entire night, in the one moment where our glances met by chance I averted my eyes immediately, and I left the bar the first chance I could after getting paid. Basically I feel like I went from being a fun guy in her presence to a walled-off coward in the space of just over a week. I think a large part of this is that I’ve taught myself to roll with the punches when it comes to women turning me down because I’m confident I can/will find someone who is into me, but on some level I’m embarrassed by being the same space with someone who I’ve been vulnerable in front of, however briefly and relatively inconsequential.
So Dr. NerdLove, I’m not overly concerned about what I should do regarding this specific girl since I’ll actually be away from my hometown for the next few months for work and hopefully any residual awkwardness will have faded by then. What I am concerned with is being embarrassed about the rejection after the fact. It certainly makes me question how cool I actually am with rejection if I have a lingering shame about it. Is there a way to cope with the fact that rejection really is just irreparably humiliating and no amount of steely confidence in the moment it happens can overcome that? Is there a lesson to be learned from my letter that anyone else could benefit from?
Barfly Affected by Emotions