I was recently rejected when I took a chance and decided to ask out the guy I’m into. To be quite honest, it was mortifying. I’m still trying to come back from it. The moment it happened, I texted everyone I knew, frantically hoping for someone to tell me it wasn’t the end of the world, even though to me it was. It was among the dozen or so replies I received in the wake of my dilemma that I realized just how useless it is to seek comfort after something as silly as someone saying no.

There’s this weird habit among girls when it comes to helping each other face rejection. When a boy says no to us, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to exclaim “He’s intimidated! We’re too smart, we’re too pretty, we’re too funny and they’re too insecure, too scared or their egos are too fragile to be able to deal with it.” As though the worst thing in the world is for a boy to just genuinely not like us. 

I’ll tell you right now I’m the furthest thing from being intimidatingly pretty, smart or funny. I stand at 4 foot 11 with frizzy hair and big scary eyes. I laugh way too hard at my own jokes even when no one else is laughing. I’ve been known to make awkward comments and talk far too often about chickens. I’m nothing extraordinary. In fact, I’m a little weird. There’s no way anyone could ever find me the least bit intimidating, unless I’m hungry and even then I’m probably more akin to the puny Scrappy Doo, always futilely trying to fight the big monsters.  

The other fraction of the answers I received consisted of some variation of “You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you anyways.” Technically this is true. I don’t want a guy to lie and string me along pretending to like me for the sake of protecting my feelings. I understand what my friends are saying is only a defense mechanism to try to make me feel better. But I don’t think we should cut down the guy who rejects one of us, or tell each other that we “wouldn’t want to be with him anyways” — because we do. We want to be with the boy who doesn’t like us. We still think he’s great and his rejection isn’t a good judge of his character. We’re allowed to be hurt and still want the boy who doesn’t look at us in that way. I think that’s OK. 

Sometimes we like a boy and he doesn’t feel the same. Is there something inherently wrong with him for not being into me? Am I an unlovable little troll?

I like to think of this as the cultural equivalent of men saying women are crazy when we show our emotions. It makes us feel inferior, as though we are unable to handle ourselves. The implication is very much the same when we jump so fast to the conclusion that men are just intimidated of a woman asking them out — that men can’t handle not being the dominant figure.

How many times have we, as women, rejected a guy who was perfectly nice based on a simple lack of attraction? It was nothing against them. We weren’t intimidated by their intelligence, their looks or how funny they were. They were perfectly wonderful guys. We just didn’t view that guy in that way. So why is it so hard to accept the same might go for us?

Guess what? Sometimes men just don’t like us. Plain and simple. There’s nothing wrong with us and there’s nothing wrong with them. Moments like mine are humbling reminders that I’m good enough regardless of whether or not he likes me. Rejection sucks, but it’s not a testament to who I am as a person and it doesn’t mean he’s terrible for saying no.

Sometimes a simple no is all we need to hear for us to move on to things that are better for ourselves.

Olivia Puente can be reached at opuente@umich.edu.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.