Handling Rejection

Life's about taking occasional risks and, even though that means letting yourself flirt with the unknown, you need to approach any new experience or challenge with the courage and determination to succeed.

You may not succeed all of the time but by adopting a healthy attitude to success and realising that sometimes you'll make mistakes along the way, you can view flirting failures as chances to learn from experience. Ultimately, you reach your flirting goal.

Make any rejection work for you by not dwelling on it, but turning it into a positive learning experience. The way you handle rejection says a lot about you as a person.

Rejection isn't personal; it's just life's selection process. Whether you're doing the rejecting or are on the receiving end of it, it's part and parcel of dating. Getting rejection out of the way without fuss or recrimination is best for everyone concerned.

When you're doing the rejecting

If you're the one doing the rejecting, start giving them the message by cutting down on all the body language signals that you like them - lessen eye contact, smile less, and move further away from them (explained in Chapter 11) - and on the secret flirting signals -less hair play, preening, and so on (discussed in Chapter 12). Doing so should be enough to alert them to the fact that your flirtation has come to an end.

Thankfully this is enough to give most people the message. However, if they still don't get it you need to spell it out to them in the most low-key way possible. Keep your composure, so as not to excite them into a debate over it, and calmly explain that it's unfortunate but they're not your type, and that you don't get to find these things out without giving it a go first. Chapter 18 can give you more advice here.

Telling someone why you don't like them may be spoiling for a fight. Avoid saying things such as 'You're not my type because you're too short, tall, fat, noisy, quiet, unattractive'. Personal comments aren't necessary; the person has nothing wrong with them, they're just not the right one for you. Avoid a scene and stick to neutral comments.

Turning the rejection to the other person's advantage is a better solution; try 'It's been nice to meet you, but I don't think I'm the right person for you. I'll get out of your hair now to leave the way clear for Mr/Mrs Right.' You're actually doing them a favour by telling them not to waste any more time or effort on you.

Avoid ditching them in front of their friends, because nothing's more likely to cause a scene than someone jumping to defend their friend's honour.

When you're being rejected

If someone's told you that you're not for them, accept their decision.

Now is not the time to ask them 20 questions to justify why they don't want to carry on the flirtation. Even if they did give you a justification, you're unlikely to change their mind with any of your responses. The time to challenge their thinking was when their body language started going off track (as Chapter 11 explains). Trying to remedy the situation now is too late.

Moving on graciously increases the speed at which you're likely to meet someone more worthy of your flirtation. Don't waste time hovering around the person trying to change their mind.

Managing rejection at Work

Possibly the worst place to be rejected by someone is at work, because you're likely to bump into them regularly; if you're in the same department, you'll have to deal with seeing them every day.

However the rejection manifests itself or who is responsible for it, take the initiative and clear the air before it affects your working relationships and career prospects.

How you're seen to be managing rejection can have a big impact on your reputation, so aim to manage it with dignity. Meet them (or send them an email if you can't get a quiet word) and say, 'Just to clear the air, I feel it didn't work out between us. It's no reflection on you; we're just not right for each other. However, I don't want this to spoil our professional relationship and I'll be making every effort to ensure things are fine between us at work. I hope you share this sentiment.' Or, if you're the one who's been rejected, simply say 'I don't want what's happened to spoil our professional relationship, and I hope our working relationship will continue to thrive without this impacting on it'.

Lynn's way and the wrong way

Lynn was quite adept at chatting to men but was a bit overpowering, especially when she'd had a drink. Actually, she wasn't every man's cup of tea. She didn't take the hint and would follow the men she fancied round and round until they had to tell her in no uncertain terms that they weren't interested. She'd then interrogate them about why they didn't fancy her. When they told her, she'd be indignant and argue with them in a bid to get them to retract their rejection and agree with her on their suitability as a couple. If they still wouldn't agree, she'd drag their friends into the argument, until it all got very messy and unpleasant. After some flirting coaching Lynn learned to see rejection as a lucky escape and the opportunity to move on to Mr Right. She also cut back on the amount she was drinking and put more effort into reading the body language signals that let her know how someone felt about her, rather than relying on booze to do the talking. Her friends commented on how much more fun she was to go out with and her reputation as an aggressive man-eater faded away.

Learn to graciously accept someone's decision to discontinue the flirtation with you to minimise the trauma associated with rejection.

Now you're redundant, now you're not!

Stefan had been selected for redundancy by his company and met with his managing director to discuss the terms. Although the company was going through a consultation process with the staff about how the redundancies could be avoided, they were pretty much a done deal. During the course of the meeting, however, the MD was so impressed with Stefan's dignity and his gratitude for the opportunities he'd experienced with the company that he decided Stefan had a side that he hadn't yet had the chance to experience and qualities that he was unaware of. He decided it would be a mistake to let Stefan go, based on his reaction to the news of his redundancy, and kept him on in a newly created and more senior post.

Accepting rejection with dignity can pay off, even when you think you have nothing to gain by it.

Never chat about rejecting someone at work. Office gossip will circulate the story in no time and it'll probably bear little resemblance to your original version of events.

Continue reading here: Ten Or So Opening Lines for Almost Any Occasion

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