Unrequited crushes. They’re something we deal with starting all the way back in grade school. We deal with the excruciating heartbreak of our crush sharing the cookies their mom packed with another girl. We’re torn apart seeing our crush ask someone else to prom. We struggle when that coworker who caught our eye tells us that they’re thinking about asking out the new guy in sales.
Sometimes rejection is outright. You ask someone out and they say no. Other times our crush goes unsaid but the rejection comes from our potential love going out with someone else. But whether it’s outright rejection or unsaid rejection, either way it hurts.
Here’s what you should and what shouldn’t do when dealing with rejection:
Do give yourself some time.
Especially if this has been a long crush, take some time for yourself. That doesn’t mean sit in bed and wallow. This means to avoid your crush for a bit. Reevaluate your relationship. Is this someone who can remain a friend? Or should you cut ties? Think about the hard questions, but be sure to practice some self-care.
Rejection is a hard blow to your self-esteem. Even if it seems cheesy, remind yourself that this is not the end of the world. This is not the end of you finding love. And this doesn’t make you any less attractive or desirable. This just wasn’t meant to be and there’s more out there for you.
Don’t try to “get under someone else.”
What’s the best way to get over someone? Get under someone else. That’s the saying, but it’s a really bad saying. Essentially you’d be rebounding and rebounding hurts you and it hurts the person who is the rebound.
You’re not ready for a relationship right after a rejection if you’ve been pining after the person who rejected you for a while. Your feelings are still wrapped up in that person and you need to give yourself time to heal. You cannot transfer those feelings over to a new person. To pretend that you can would be leading the new person on in a way that’s completely unfair.
Do surround yourself with people who make you happy.
Take time for yourself but remember that there are people out there who love you. Call up your friends and go out. Or stay in with them and binge watch crummy reality shows. Whatever makes you happy and reminds you that you’re not alone. Rejection can make you feel lonely. But there are plenty of people who can remind you that love is not always romantic and all those other types of love are just as important.
Don’t refuse to take no for an answer.
No means no. It’s as simple as that. If you ask someone out and they say no, that’s the end of it. Don’t try to change their mind. Don’t try to buy their affection. Don’t try different ways to ask them out. Don’t try to ask them out through grand gestures. This person said no and you have to respect that, even if it hurts.
Another important note is that sometimes people are afraid to say no. It’s an unfortunate thing but often, because we fear confrontation and hurting another person, we don’t say no outright. Be sure to listen and pay attention. If you ask someone out and they look uncomfortable and say that they can’t go out when you’re asking them to and they don’t give you a day when they can go out, it’s safer to assume that’s a no.
Don’t try to be someone you think won’t get rejected.
Going along with taking no for an answer, don’t try to change and then ask them out again. If they rejected you, don’t think that you should then become someone else that you think they like. If you notice that they usually go out with musicians, don’t suddenly take up the guitar. It’s artificial and they’ll know that. And if they don’t, do you really want to date someone who you have to keep lying to to try to get them to like you? Be yourself and wait for the person that likes you for you.
Do understand that you’re not alone.
We all get rejected sometimes. It’s just a fact of life. Ask even the most conventional attractive people in the world and even they will have stories about someone who turned them down. And that’s because it’s not a matter of attractiveness or worth. It’s a matter of the fact that sometimes one person feels chemistry that another person doesn’t. We can’t make someone else feel it and we shouldn’t want to.
The best feeling is when you meet someone and you both just feel that spark. Just because your crush wasn’t that someone doesn’t mean that you won’t find them. They’re out there but you need to move past your rejection to find them first.