December 11th 2012
Story originally written and experienced: May 6th 2012
We’ve all been there.
Been the victim of a good old-fashioned rejection, even if we didn’t know it (except we really kind of did) and then made excuses for them. Such as:
The Texting Rejection
“They must have not gotten my text. Did it go through? Let me check. Okay yeah it went through. Idk my reception is really spotty here. Oh shit my phone went off! Okay – not them. Damnit, Mom. Maybe they didn’t get it. Should I send it again, just in case?”
The “You’re a booty call and das it” Rejection
“Well I thought he wasn’t interested but then he called me Friday night!…at 1am…”
The Bar Rejection
“Well I bought her and her friends drinks and I think she is super into me bro! – Oh- where are they? Well they ran to the bathroom…30 minutes ago.”
The Dating Rejection
“Yeah he said he wasn’t looking for anything serious right now so we’re just going take things super…wait…what the fuck do you mean he has a girlfriend?”
But hey, let’s not play victim quite yet. Because truth be told we’ve probably rejected just as much if not more than we’ve actually gotten rejected. And for those of you who claim to have never be rejected, I suggest you get over yourself, because you really really have. And so have I. And so has the person eating a crunch wrap supreme at the nearest Taco Bell. And the happily married woman in your office. And even the best looking person in the room. (who is most likely you) I promise.
So no worries, champ.
It’s between us anyways. And I agree, it sucks. Really, it does. Whether you’re the guy mustering up the pride to talk to that cute girl at the bar just to have her laugh and walk away with her friends as soon as you courageously carry yourself over there. Or if you are that cute chick who spent all night getting ready for one person in particular, just to find out he sort of likes your friend…better. And wondering wait wtf. I feel like shit! All thanks to you. Not realizing that, we’re probably just as guilty.
We kind of just laid in bed together. My friend and I, I mean. And what happened was she was in a relationship for a little while. And what happened after that was post break up she took a more “free- spirited” approach to life. Which sort of started as flirting at the bar and may or may not have ended in late night drinks and could have possibly resulted in “late night cardio” in either his bed or hers. And not once in her romantic career did she ever suffer from the “no call back” move. Except now.
We kind of just laid in bed together. My friend and I, I mean. And she basically just turned to me and said “You know Olive, I slept with him knowing full well that he could potentially never talk to me again. But I guess I’ve never really dealt with the consequences of rejection before. I’ve handed it out plenty, but I’ve never really tasted it. And as it turns out, it really doesn’t taste so good. And it sort of just makes me feel foolish. And it kinda makes me wonder if I’ve ever made anyone else feel this way?”
“And if I’m the reason that maybe someone feels like shit about themselves.”
“And that even though it’s perfectly fine to not be interested in someone.”
“There’s no reason to be a dick about it.”
(Disclaimer: Stage 8 clingers not included in this statement.)
Because just because laughing at someone at a bar, writing a solid reject text or using someone because they know how much you like them, isn’t so hard.
I can’t imagine being the person walked away from, reading the text, and being used feels quite as easy.
Touche, friend. So then I got to thinking. About the rejections I’ve gotten and the rejections I’ve given away. About the rejections of my friends and the ones that they gave away too. How one second their “no response” tactics to unfavorable attention was effortlessly applied with each passing buzz while simultaneously making excuses for their person of interest who was applying the very same tactic to them.
And how it’s just sort of a weird circle that we never even realized we were in. And that actually.
The rejector and the rejectee are one in the same.
I remember the look on Laura’s face that night she wore her royal blue dress, tousled her hair just a little bit more, rouged her lips and walked into the party waiting to see him, him in particular, but only because he said he was excited to see her too. And then she saw him…as he was walking out…with someone else.
And then later that night that same royal blue dress laid crumpled on the bedroom floor of someone else. Someone she knew was completely enamored with her. And had been for a while. And she knew that. But Chase was the perfect bandaid for her freshly bruised ego. And she didn’t like him back. But he didn’t know that, yet.
And I remember the look on Leyla’s face when she told me that she met the most amazing man, and they had the most amazing night, and it was right after their business dinner, and truly they couldn’t keep their eyes off of each other from across the table. And it was kind of scandalous because they didn’t want anyone else at the business table to notice. Even though they kind of did. And he mostly looked at her because he knew how much she liked looking at him. And later that night after their business dinner, they went back to the hotel room, and one thing lead to another –
First the shirt
Then the belt
Next the shoes
Then the pants
And then it stopped because he finally told her
“Wait – I have a girlfriend. I just…I’m sorry I lead you on for the last 5 months and didn’t say anything I just – I thought this would be fun.”
You thought this would be…fun? And Leyla was really hurt. And mostly embarrassed. But then she thought of the time she invested in infidelities two relationships ago, and recalled how heat of the moment attraction isn’t so easy to resist sometimes.
So the thing is. As much we’ve swallowed our pride in a moment of rejection, we may have caused someone else to do the exact same thing, and we didn’t even know it. We’re not terrible people. I’m not. You’re not. And neither are the people who’ve rejected us. We all have our hands painted red with unintentional actions simply because we know what we want. And what we don’t want. And that’s awesome.
Chase remembers what it felt like to be a back up plan from the girl in the royal blue dress.
And Leyla remembers what it felt like to take the shirt off of the man of her dreams. Just to hear him say “Oh by the way – no thanks.”
And I’m hoping chances are low – they’ll put someone else in that position but only because they know how it feels, right?
So listen. Rejection needs to happen. You need it to know you deserve something better and you give it away to tell someone the exact same thing. And honestly, if no one ever had the balls to reject anyone we’d probably find ourselves with many pickles in this gambling game called love. Because truth be told:
Humans by nature are filled to the brim with desire, but the way we use it is sort of a personal choice, isn’t it?
Whether it’s as a tool to get who we want, or as a weapon to hurt the ones that want us.
Whether it’s throwing yourself out on the line for just a glimmer of hope with the person you’ve dubbed “perfect”, or having someone permanently on the back burner, who doesn’t know they’re on the back burner. But just because it’s nice to have them on the back burner. We put them there.
And maybe every once in a while we just need to take a minute and
II Pause II
For a community reality check. Because remember that time they didn’t respond? Laughed at you at the bar? Lead you on? Disappeared until they needed something? Well. As it turns out, it stings a little bit when we do it too.