I’ve been rejected countless times in countless ways. The fade away, the “no spark,” the “I can’t be with someone who’s this depressed.” And then there’s my favorite [read: least favorite], the “I don’t think of you like that.” As much as I understand about rejection, I personally react very poorly to it. Usually my reaction involves a lot of booze and self pity, however this method is wholly unsupported. So here’s the advice I always give but can never seem to take.
1. The Fade Away
Pick up on the cues. Really, don’t misread this, don’t hold out hope. No one is that busy. Everyone always checks their phone. If they don’t respond to you for a while and when they do it’s only a couple words, they just aren’t into you. And that’s fine. You don’t want to date someone who isn’t into you, that’s ridiculous. You want someone who wants you, too. Just mirror their behavior, go on another date or two, they’ll eventually slip from your mind the way you quickly slipped from their’s.
2. The “No Spark”
She doesn’t feel the spark, that’s it. There’s nothing you can do, and anything you do do will be unbecoming. What if someone you weren’t attracted to did some weird grand gesture for you? How uncomfortable would you be? How desperate would they look? Leaving the gas on won’t start a fire if there’s no spark. It’ll just make everyone sick.
3. The “I Don’t Think of You Like That”
This one’s as old as time itself. I’ve been hearing this since I started liking girls, and somehow, it still sucks the most. You really only hear this one when you want something more from a personally unfulfilling friendship. You didn’t want to ruin the friendship, but you couldn’t hold it in any longer. You said something, she said no. You’ll spend the next God knows how long trying to figure out what the guy she’s dating now has that you don’t, but it doesn’t matter. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, it’s self-destructive. You’re your own person, no better or worse than anyone else. You’re just not the kind of person she’s into.
It doesn’t matter how great you two could be together if she’d only give you a chance, attraction doesn’t work like that. The most important thing to remember in this situation, is not to blame her. It isn’t her fault she’s not attracted to you, she just isn’t. You can’t force yourself to like someone you aren’t into. Be empathic and understanding, and remember, you don’t have to continue being her friend. It might hurt her to lose someone close like that, but it might hurt you to stick around. She’s not a bitch for not liking you back, you’re not an asshole for getting out. Unless you’re an asshole about it.
These are just a few examples, but the advice is pretty similar across the board, for any gender or orientation. The main thing is, they don’t want to be with you. You’re attracted to this person, right? You respect them? So respect their decision and their feelings and move on. Get Tinder, swipe away, go on dates, get rejected more, do some of your own rejecting. Don’t waste time and emotions on someone incapable of giving you what you want.
Recognize that they aren’t into you as soon as you can and free yourself from the emotional Alcatraz that is unrequited attraction. There’s going to be someone in this world that will feel as strongly about you as you do about them. You will find that person and you will be happy with them, but you can’t find them if you never look.