As usual I drove to church alone. But this Sunday I was visiting a friend’s church. When I walked in, I saw a girl near my age standing in the lobby.
I thought, I bet she’s meeting a friend as well, but it’s a probably her boyfriend. Girls that pretty aren’t single.
I didn’t meet her that day, but I eventually I did at another social gathering. We shared a perfect, short conversation that left me wanting more. Leaving that night, I had one thing on my mind — getting to know this girl.
I found her on social media, I asked for her number, and I asked her if she wanted to play Frisbee golf with some friends. She politely refused, explaining she had plans to hang out with a friend later that night.
I soon tried again, inviting her to something else. Again, a polite refusal.
I started feeling hopeless.
The very next day, she sent the text — the “just friends” text. She thanked me for the invites and for being straightforward, then politely said she wasn’t interested in pursuing anything with me other than a friendship.
Talk about rejection, regardless of the respect and kindness.
What had I done wrong? Did I move too fast? Did I cross a line in asking for her number? Should I have waited for another in-person meeting? Did she think I was creepy? Was I not good enough or is there just someone else in her life?
I questioned every detail, which only led to more pain. But I’ve learned there are better ways to deal with rejection. Here are four steps to reduce the pain that rejection brings.
1. Tell someone
When you’re in the midst of the “what happened” and “what if” thoughts, wondering where you went wrong, sit down with someone close to you and explain all the details. Not just your side, but the story in its entirety. Our personal perspective often has a victim mentality, so bringing in an outside perspective can help provide clarity and new insight.
2. Evaluate and learn
The past is not a pretty place to live. After laying it out in front of a friend, it’s time to learn from the past. Sometimes failure is the best teacher. Discuss what went right and what went wrong. If there was something that you did do poorly, learn from it and act differently next time. But also keep in mind that it might be that the other person just wasn’t interested.
3. Battle Satan’s lies
Being rejected can put you flat on your back, and Satan will use any moment of weakness to get us to agree with his lies. He whispers, “You aren’t good enough — how could anyone love you? You will never find love.”
Battle these lies with God’s truth. Psalm 86:15 states that God abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness. Did you read that? Steadfast. Firm, unwavering and constant. Even in the midst of rejection, you are loved. (Read more about this in “Rejection Doesn’t Mean You’re Unlovable.”) Your worth doesn’t hinge on whether or not a certain someone sees a future with you, it comes from the One who created you.
4. Move on
This is the hardest part. Often, whether reciprocated or not, infatuation sets in and wrecks everything. Infatuation can leave us dreaming of metal rings, last name changes and future houses. When that wave crashes, you must surround yourself with good friends who will lift you back to your feet through encouragement. Don’t isolate yourself — it’ll only leave you alone with your thoughts of self-doubt. (Read more about this in “You’re Not Alone Because We’re All Hurting Inside.”) Remember that life goes on and we serve a sovereign God, so trust Him. Not if, not when — but period.
Being rejected by that girl hurt. But it made me value the people I do have in my life and God, who will never leave me.
My friends and family, who directly saw the impact this rejection had on me, were the first ones to reassure me of my worth and lift me up.
Softly in the back of my mind, I hear my mother’s voice singing:
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
God is with us and holds us in His hand.
How do you handle rejection? What helps reduce the pain?
Copyright 2018 John Begeman. All rights reserved.