SparkNotes Blog

Auntie SparkNotes: Rejection Dissection

Hey Auntie Sparkie,

I was just reading through some of your advice on crushes and relationships and I’ve found what you’ve said really thought-provoking and helpful. But one of the things you mentioned in the Friend-zoned forever article got me wondering about what you meant by:


“Have the courage to risk rejection! And when it happens — as it does to all of us — have the confidence to accept it without taking it personally.”

Wouldn’t a rejection be all about how you as a person weren’t suitable enough for your crush? Isn’t it about you, personally? How does one not take rejection personally in that case? I’m a little confused.

Man, am I glad that somebody asked this question! Because now, we can do a Fun Experiment About Feelings. Ready?

To begin: go into your most recent yearbook and pick five people of your preferred sex at random. (If you don’t have a yearbook nearby, just write down the names of five dudes or ladies in your third-period class. Or walk into your nearest McDonald’s and pick the five people nearest the door. WHATEVER.)

Now, imagine that each of these people has just asked you out.

Now—and no cheating!—how many would you say yes to? Probably not all of them, right? (No, seriously, not all of them. You’re not that desperate. Or perhaps you attend a school that has way more than its fair share of attractive people? In which case… where is it?)

And now, tell me: how come, in this hypothetical situation, you turned down some of your asker-outers? Is it…

a) Because they’re defective, ugly, smelly, and or otherwise unsuitable to be dated by anyone, ever?
b) Because you, for whatever reason, just don’t feel like dating them?

Here’s my point: unless one of your asker-outers was a serial killer or member of the Cullen family, your reasons for rejection have nothing to do with his or her desirability, attractiveness, or value as a human being—and everything to do with your own personal taste in people. It’s about what attracts you, and what you’re into, and whether you’re looking to date. In short, it’s about the feelings of the askee, not the desirability of the asker.

So, when you make a move, and you get rejected, it’s not because you, as a person, aren’t suitable enough for your crush. It’s because your crush, as a person, isn’t suited to dating you. Which is a subtle difference, yes, but such an important one—because once you get your head around it, you can approach dating with confidence and without fear. It’s liberating! Some people won’t want to date you! For a variety of reasons! And that’s okay, because you don’t want to date every person out there, either! Because humanity and feelings and personal taste!

And there you have it: just because one person doesn’t like or want something, that doesn’t mean that the something is inherently unwanted and unlikeable. Which is why rejection stings, sure, but it doesn’t have to cut your heart out.

Does that make sense? Let’s discuss! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at advice@sparknotes.com.

Related post: Auntie SparkNotes: Fear of RejectING