Hi beautiful people! It feels like 2 weeks have gone by since I last uploaded a post. Something about last week was just very slow and eerie to me, but I loved it. Also, how cute that the word eerie starts with a double e.
I was talking with my girlfriend Ashlee this morning about why women don’t hit on men or slide into DMs as often and I was reminded of a lesson I taught as part of my public speaking course one time.
Today, I’m writing about a topic that comes up again and again in relationships and really any interpersonal dynamic. Rejection. Yup! It should be a swear word because people typically aren’t super cool with this.
I think we can all agree that being rejected really sucks. Whether it’s in a work setting, a familial setting, the dating arena, or in the bedroom, it never feels good to be rejected.
While rejection affects us all in different ways, it’s been my experience that women struggle with the repercussions of rejection in a way that men don’t. What I mean by this is often, women just won’t try for fear of being shot down while men will try even if they expect to get shot down. Why is this?
Societally, men are expected to be the aggressors (gahhh, the patriarchy… but also the testosterone). He is supposed to do the asking out. He is supposed to make the first move. He is supposed to propose. He is supposed to ask for the promotion. He is supposed to put himself in more vulnerable situations when it comes to pretty much anything in life. (Needless to say, many people defy these “supposed tos”).
This aggressor expectation is something men are more accustomed to and it typically starts happening at a very young age. When they put themselves in these vulnerable positions, it is inevitable that rejection will strike. It will probably strike often. It’s not to say that men are not nervous when they stick their neck’s out, but typically, they push through and do it anyway.
Let’s place ourselves in a nightclub for a moment. A rejection cesspool if you will. Pretend you are a piece of glitter on the wall except you also have eyes? Okay, fuck that analogy. You are A FLY ON A WALL AT THE NIGHTCLUB.
What do you see? You see lots of women standing in formation with their groups of bad betches waiting to be swooned by some bottle service daddies. There are also women dancing their asses off and not giving a shit, but they’re more rare. Single or ethically non-monogamous (hopefully) dudes float around the dance floor and surrounding bar areas dropping their pick-up lines and shooting their shots left and right.
Let’s say Steven hits on Jessica and Jessica is like, Ummmm… no thank you. Next.” Do you think Steven cowers into a tiny ball feeling terrible about his outfit and telling all his friends what a terrible person Jessica is and that she must be a lesbian? No. Steven moves the fuck on and shoots another shot toward Denise. He never even thinks about Jessica again. While his ego may temporarily be bruised, I can guarantee that he won’t be journaling about Jessica the next morning.
If I reversed the gender role, the outcome would no doubt be very different. Jessica likely wouldn’t even approach Steven, even if she wanted to, and then she’d be telling her friends at brunch the next day that she saw a hot guy the club the night before. That’s the end of her story. LAME. And we’re not here for lame lives, sis!
But it’s not Jessica’s fault! I feel like I’ve been trained to be terrified of rejection because if a man doesn’t want me than I’m ew and I can’t breathe or live. Sorry, just typing that line repulsed me, but I want to set the stage for what I’m about to suggest.
Teaching communication for 5 years, illuminated the fact for me that people are afraid to voice what they want for one reason. Because they are afraid they won’t get it.
While voicing what you want can be hard, living a life that sucks balls because you’re not grabing it by the reigns is even harder!!! Trust!
With that, I know that rejection is no doubt scary, so imma equip your fine ass with 3 ways to get over your fear of rejection:
1. Expect to get rejected.
Not in a woe is me way, but in a realistic way. If you put yourself out into the world and voice your wants and needs… rejection IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU.
2. Ask yourself… If I put myself out there, what’s the worst case scenario? What’s the best case scenario?
Typically the worst case is not getting what you want followed by feelings of self-doubt, maybe some embarrassment, maybe some disappointment, maybe some shame. The good thing about this worst case is all of these are temporary, and you will absolutely, without a doubt survive! In addition, at least you have an answer, and you won’t have to live your whole life in the “what if” mentality. (See how the worst case is still a good thing?)
Best case scenario is that you get what you want. And fuck yes. We love this shit. Again, you would have never known/received an answer if you hadn’t have put yourself out there in the first place! Winning!
3. Practice getting rejected.
Ew. This one is the worst, and I’m sorry it’s on the list, but it’s so important! I’m gonna tell you a quick story here! Yay! Story time!
I was teaching a communication course a few years back and my students and I were doing a round table discussion. The topic was our greatest fears. Said in a variety of words, rejection kept coming up. Again and again.
“I’m afraid that I’ll die alone.”
“I’m afraid that I won’t be successful.”
“I’m afraid to put myself out there.”
“I’m afraid to fail.”
“I’m afraid to tell someone how I feel.”
I had just read an article about rejection and how we need to practice it, so I had every person in the classroom stand up, put their cell-phones on their desks, leave their backpacks and books in the classroom, and head out onto the campus with one mission:
While this seemed like a terrifying feat, I made it sound fun and exciting. Like, everyone is getting rejected! It’s what the cool kids do! I told them that they couldn’t tell the people they were approaching that this was for a class project, and that we’d tell our rejection stories when we all came back to class in 20 minutes.
What happened next was riveting and I’ll never forget it. What happened next was awesome.
One young woman in my class told a hilarious story of complimenting a guy on his leather jacket. When he said “Thank you!”, she asked if she could keep it. She was rejected in her initial request, but he said if she was cold, she could borrow it until she was done with class.
A football player in my class, a cool guy with a don’t mess with me attitude, saw a group of guys eating lunch. He approached them and asked one of the students if he could have a bite of his banana. When he recalled this part to the class, we were in tears laughing (as you can imagine). It must have been so awkward! But what’s wonderful is the kid said no. “You can’t have a bite of my banana, but if you’re hungry, man, I’m happy to buy you lunch.” Great, now I’m crying.
Other students got flat out rejected. Some were laughed at when their requests were ridiculous.
But guess what? ALL OF MY STUDENTS CAME BACK TO CLASS. They all survived. And they all had a story to tell. Even the ones that reported being laughed at said it wasn’t as bad as the anxiousness they felt going into the experience.
And that’s the whole point. You won’t know until you put yourself out there. You might absolutely get rejected and laughed at, but you might also get someone’s number, or get a lunch, or receive a compliment.
In the bedroom, you may get to try a new experience. Or you might realize that you and your partner don’t have the same needs. But at least your partner knows your needs and decisions can be made.
In my last relationship, I verbally asked for what I wanted and my request was rejected. I changed my verbal method and asked for what I wanted in written form. Rejected again. Did it hurt like hell? Yep! But once I had an answer, once I had been rejected. I was able to make a decision, and ultimately, I left the relationship.
At this point in my writing, I hope you’re seeing a pattern. The pattern is that whether or not you get rejected, it’s a good thing. It’s good to know the answer to questions you have. It is good to know answers because answers lead to decisions and decisions lead to fulfilling lives. It’s good to open or close chapters.
This is now me begging you to GO FOR IT. Go get rejected! And then get rejected again. Keep asking for things that you want because it’s not crazy to live a life like you want to. It’s just not.
Try out for the team. Audition for the musical. Propose an open relationship. Ask for his number. Slide into that DM. Ask for a raise. Ask for more in your relationship.
You cannot expect your life to grow and blossom if you’re terrified that people will say no to you. No successful person in history got to where they are today by never getting rejected.
Let’s say Jessica reads this blog and feels motivated to shoot her shot the next time she sees Mr. Suave. Gurl, I hope the next morning at brunch, you’re telling your girlfriends about the hot sex you had, or that when he turned around to talk to you, you saw the wedding ring on his finger and his sexy wife came out of the bathroom and attacked you like a wild hyena. Either way, life is good, and you have a story!
No more lame lives! Say it with me!