Rejecting someone can be very difficult, I have always found it difficult because I don’t like hurting others feelings and I am equaly uncomfortable with the emails after a date asking me to explain why they are not my Mr Right.
The Americans have an expression I like, which is “he’s just not that in to you” which of course can just as easily be she’s just not that in to you. You may meet someone that has every quality you are looking for but for some unexplainable reason they just aren’t that special someone. I say unexplainable because they may be great looking, funny, intelligent, in fact they tick all your boxes but the chemistry just isn’t there.
The real difficulty comes when that person is ‘in to you’ because for you it is almost like rejecting a coffee, there is no emotion at stake but you know you will hurt their feelings. There is nothing you can do about it, people will say “I can change and become the person you are looking for” but they are just kidding themselves, if the chemistry doesn’t exist nothing can force it to.
Rejection is not something a majority of us take well, we all want to be special, we want people to like us even if we don’t like them – it’s strange but true.
It took me years to learn the art of rejection and I would either string people along in order not to hurt their feelings or torture myself trying to work out why I was not ‘the one’ for them. My lesson came when I met someone that was good at rejecting people kindly and it is one of my most memorable dates.
We had been chatting online for some time, he was funny, intelligent and I liked the photos he sent me. We had a lot in common and online seemed perfectly suited. Eventually we met for lunch and whilst there was no wow factor when we shook hands I felt he could certainly grow on me. We had lunch and went for a walk around town, there were no uncomfortable silences and things went well. Late afternoon we reached our cars and he shook my hand and said “it has been great to meet you, you are terrific and just like you are online but I’m afraid not the one for me. I hope you find your Mr Right soon”. With that he pecked me on the cheek got in to his car and drove off.
For the first time there had been no uncomfortable moment, I didn’t feel the need to ask why and I felt in no way hurt. There were no silly promises of staying in touch or remaining friends, we both knew we were looking for something special and for him I was not it. Yet ten years later I still remember our date and remain content with it.
What did he do that was different? He was totally genuine, when he said it had been great to meet me he had meant it and when he told me I was terrific he looked me in the eye and said it with confidence, I believed him. He wasn’t rejecting me because I wasn’t special, he was rejecting me because I wasn’t that special someone for him.
That is the key to the art of rejection, to make someone feel valued and special, to say plainly you are not the one but I genuinely hope you find what you are looking for. That allows them to walk away with head held high and not feel inadequate or question their appearance or character.
I am very grateful for that lesson and hope in the past decade when I have rejected someone I have done so in a way that makes them equally valuable as a person and accept that for me they are simply not my special someone.
On a final note, there is someone out there for everybody so please don’t feel the need to explain to people what you find unattractive about them, what is unattractive to you may be just the thing someone else is looking for. It is okay to suggest they put a more recent photo or tell the truth about their age but leave personal appearance and character traits out of the discussion.
Not sure what to say to people when you want to say thanks but no thanks, Ronnie Ann Ryan gives10 kind ways to say it in one of her online articles.
Jamy explains a perfect example of what can happen when you don’t give a clear message and allow things to flow beyond the first date in her how to say no blog post.