Friday, 24 November 2017

The cold shoulder

I'm not good at dealing with rejection. Even quite trivial rejection. Even totally justified rejection. Even perhaps unintended rejection. I can't just shrug it off as one of those things. It always hurts. It always bugs me. It always saps my confidence a little.

I know it's supposed to be a sign of maturity, of being grown up, to be less bothered by rejection and not see it as a huge slap in the face, but I do. And I bet plenty of other people do, though they don't like to talk about it.

A big rejection really hurts. If I've known someone for a while and we've been on friendly terms and shared confidences and so forth, it's hard to take it on the chin when abruptly they push you away and don't want to be friends any more.

Even when I tell myself it's their choice who they want as friends and who they don't, and it's their right to edge me away if I'm becoming a turn-off, it still cuts me to the quick.

I dwell on it incessantly. Why did they suddenly push me away? What did I do wrong? What did I say? Why overnight the big frost? Have I turned into some sort of obnoxious weirdo without realising? It takes me quite a while to stop obsessing and finally be more sanguine about it.

But even minor rejections can often sting. Just someone ignoring me, or being curt with me, or looking at me distastefully, makes me feel a bit worthless and belittled. Again, I wonder what I did to cause it. Why the visible snub?

Do other people feel as hurt when I reject them - or appear to reject them? Do they obsess about it in the same way? I hope not, but doubtless some do. This over-sensitivity is a drag, but that's how some of us are made. Like a small child who's lost her teddy bear. Pathetic really.

24 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

I think that most people have some sensitivity to rejection, but it is strange how even little things can niggle. For me it depends on who is doing the rejecting. If people I don't like reject me, I can't say I care much. If it is someone I really like then the slightest thing can bug me.

Wisewebwoman said...

You are speaking in too general terms here. If you were more specific. I.e.Length of friendship, basis of the relationship, (work, shared cultural events, social set, etc). I've been inexplicably rejected and shunned by a beloved niece who was like a daughter as her mother died when she was a child. Now that hurts. All the time. Short term friendships roll off but a long term one lingered for several years.

XO
WWW

Bijoux said...

It's been a long time since I've felt rejected, but there is a woman in my community who I've met numerous times over the last 10 years or so, and every time I see her, she acts as though she doesn't know who I am. I think she's the one with the problem, not me!

Nick said...

Jenny: Good point. It does make a difference whether it's someone you like or someone you don't.

www: I'm thinking of one particular friendship that was very intense for some 11 months and then just fizzled out. That really hurt, especially as it had been so close and so intimate while it lasted.

Nick said...

Bijoux: It certainly sounds like she's the one with the problem. I wonder what she has against you?

Ursula said...

It's not "pathetic", Nick. And, of course rejection hurts - not least when you have invested a considerable amount of interest and feeling in someone, when you thought you really clicked and then, somehow, it fizzles out.

Not that it is much comfort but I do think that some of what might come across as rejection is actually just thoughtlessness, the other not particularly aware of how you feel about them. Unfortunately blogland lends itself to the superficial, the easily discarded. I feel very lucky with "my" circle of readers who comment and are solid whether they agree with me or not, whether they gently mock or tease; every single one I trust implicitly; with every single one I feel there is a sound solid foundation in our exchanges.

And then there is LSF (longest standing friend), we are talking decades - and I am only telling you by way of anecdote and to give you some reassurance. In recent months there is a cooling off. From my side. If I analyzed it (which I do) I'd be able to identify exactly why. Main thing, Nick, and this is very important to remember: Just because a relationship - of any kind - doesn't last doesn't mean that whilst it lasted it wasn't one hell of a great thing, to be remembered fondly.

So that you don't think I only hug Jean and everyone else with a torso and in need,
Hug,
U

tammy j said...

i'm perhaps over sensitive too.
another thing I blame on the moving constantly as a child and never feeling I had a real friend. no time. they were gone. next please.
I don't let myself become close.
actually...
that's not true anymore. I have many virtual friends now.
and I feel very close to them. I am learning still how to be a friend. I think there is a window that you learn those feelings or skills. and if you miss it - it somehow leaves a strange void that is never quite right. weird but true.
I learned too early on how to appease and just get along. and for a long time lost myself in the process. silly really. i'm finally getting better about it.

Nick said...

Ursula: I know what you mean about a solid circle of readers. I think I have that too. Most of my blogmates have been with me for quite some time - Wise Web Woman for over ten years and Kylie for many years as well.

I agree about remembering a friendship fondly. The one I mentioned above was an amazing experience, one probably never to be repeated because it was so intense. I just feel privileged to have had such a deep friendship for as long as I did.

Nick said...

Tammy: You're right about there being a window when you learn friendship skills, and if you miss that window for whatever reason, it's hard to learn those skills once you've grown up. You certainly don't need to just "get along" with me. Whatever you want to say, go ahead and say it. I'll only object if you're downright rude!

John Gray said...

Being rejected is like being told off by a favourite aunt!
It hurts
And it happens to us all

the fly in the web said...

Brexit has produced rejection for me, from some who would have voted to remain with the EU. Outright rejection in some cases, a notable cooling in others.
It does sadden me that they will not accept that there can be differing points of view held quite reasonably but I expect I will get over it. I doubt that they will.

kylie said...

Becoming a doula has been a lesson in rejection. I don't know how many people have interviewed me now, it must be around fifty and I only got about ten as clients. Every rejection feels personal even though it is probably more about my skills at sales or something like that. Even when you get over the rejected feeling it is a worry when it's your living at stake. I have got better at it, (the interviews and the rejection) I'm more philosophical now

kylie said...

also, i got burned by the same person (i think) Just remember that hurting people hurt people

Nick said...

John: It can be a lot more traumatic than being ticked off by an aunt! I never took any notice of my aunts' opinions - it was just the older generation being strait-laced as usual! But a long friendship or relationship ending is a whole other ball game.

Nick said...

Fly in the Web: There's intolerance of other people's views everywhere you look these days. I don't understand why people are so self-righteous and nasty. I agree, the way Brexit has sharply divided friends and family members is ridiculous. The same is true of transgender opinions. There's outright hostility between trans people and those who don't agree with some of their viewpoints and demands.

Nick said...

Kylie: Those constant rejections must be very upsetting. As you say, it's easy to take it personally although the rejection may be based on something that has nothing to do with you as a person. Glad to know you're getting a bit more philosophical about it!

Oh, you got burned by the same person? You're right that hurting people hurt other people. I should bear that in mind when I reflect on that particular episode.

Dave Martin said...

People change and move on to pastures new. Sometimes it feels like rejection, sometimes just a mutual drifting apart. Rejection hurts and you can drive yourself mad wondering what went wrong and how it could have been avoided, but time heals all wounds. Well, most anyway...

nick said...

Dave: Well, I don't drive myself mad, but I can get pretty obsessed with the conjecture. It's that human urge to make sense of things, to change uncertainty into certainty.

CheerfulMonk said...

I learned at an early age when a friend suddenly turns against you for no obvious reason, it's because they are hurting. The best thing you can do is to not take it personally and retaliate, but to wish them well and take the high road.

nick said...

Jean: Yep, that's what Kylie said. I'd never thought of it that way before. It's a familiar pattern that people react to hurt by passing it on to someone else.

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

I have had rejections but have been mostly able to shrug them off and move on. I have rejected others without any violent reactions. There was one instance of some unpleasantness which however got resolved quickly.

nick said...

Ramana: You're obviously fairly philosophical about rejections. I envy you!

joared said...

Thinking about or paying much attention if I don’t connect with some people isn’t typically much on my radar and hasn’t been for many years. Through the years I learned what could be interpreted as rejection generally turned out to be a problem the other person was having that had little or nothing to do with me. I might wonder at the time but don’t brood over time about it.

nick said...

Joared: That's a good way of looking at it, that the rejection is probably more to do with their own personal problems than with anything I've done.