The Guysexual’s Guide To Handling Rejection like a Gentleman

The Guysexual’s Guide To Handling Rejection like a Gentleman

Last week, Kartik took a personality test to decide what to do with Amrit’s invitation for drinks. He could either a. tell the truth and say that he wasn’t interested, b. ignore the message, c. lie and come up with an excuse, or d. throw the question right back at him.

After much deliberation, he chose option ‘e’.

He chickened out, and agreed to meet him for drinks over the weekend. I sigh. ‘No’ can be a tough word to say. But what’s tougher?

Being at the receiving end of a rejection.

In The Art Of No, Jennifer P spouts these wonderful words of wisdom: "Imagine you’re at a party. A guy offers you a drink. You say no. He says 'Come on, one drink!' You say 'No thanks.' Later, he brings you a soda. 'I know you said you didn’t want a drink, but I was getting one for myself and you looked thirsty.' For you to refuse at this point makes you the asshole. He’s just being nice, right? Predators use the social contract and our own good hearts and fear of being rude against us. If you drink the drink, you’re teaching him that it just takes a little persistence on his part to overcome your 'no'. If you say, 'Really, I appreciate it, but no thanks' and put the drink down and walk away from it, you’re the one who looks rude in that moment. But the fact is, you didn’t ask for the drink and you don’t want the drink and you don’t have to drink it just to make some guy feel validated."

‘But men don’t take no for an answer’, self-proclaimed men’s right activists would grunt at you, as they thump their chests and drink their flat beers. But when have groveling men ever been attractive, you ask. They stare at you for a few seconds.

‘One must never give up on their dreams,’ they turn their stance, but unless you are applying for your dream job, or training for the dream run, rejection is a lesson that we all need to sit through.

Ask Amrit, but more on that later.

So how do we handle rejection?

Don’t make anyone uncomfortable

Someone rebuffs your advances at the bar? Smile, bid them farewell and back off. Don’t get a reply on a dating app? Don’t text twice. If they say you aren’t their type or they aren’t interested, reply with a succinct ‘not a problem’ and a smile emoji. Actually mean the smile emoji. Nothing else is acceptable.

...But respect yourself

Spurned hearts do the silliest things. As you comfort yourself in the deep recesses of your dark space, your damaged, broken heart will tell your head not to accept it. He’ll reconsider his decision if I change, you think aloud, as you obsessively doodle his name in your notebook. Maybe I should just text him again, you soothe your soul. Your heart tells you to plead and whimper, to beg and simper. It will work. It has to work. It works in the movies, doesn’t it?

You owe it to yourself to not be that person. No one wants to be this person. No one wants to be with this person. Respect yourself, because that’s the only way everyone else will respect you.

...And be polite.

You might think that bombarding someone with texts and calls will force them to reconsider, but they will only feel sorry for you – or worse, get scared of you. A no will always mean no. Even the feeble ‘let me think about this over a drink’ ones. Back off and be a gentleman about it. No questions asked.

Don’t write yourself off

Rejection stings so hard, it could be an incensed bee. But fortunately, no one is allergic to failure, so you don’t need to make a quick trip to the emergency ward. It might feel personal, but sometimes it really isn’t about you at all. Like the weather (or a swarm of angry bees), there will always be elements that you can’t control.

Use it to change

Make it a point to learn from every ‘no’ that’s thrown your way. Polish it and wear it like armour. Do you seem needy? Do you seem desperate? Do you seem to care too much? Or care too less? Understand that a ‘yes’ is not an automatic right. Applaud yourself for this epiphany as you move on to point number 6.

...And move on

Possibly to the next boy.

Illustration by Amrai Dua

Aniruddha Mahale