Repercussions of Rejection

This past Sunday I woke up to something every woman has come to dread: a text from a man she isn’t interested in asking her out on a date.

I had barely opened my eyes and was scrolling through perhaps the most shallow of social medias, Snapchat, when I clicked on a chat from my new guy friend.

Most girls my age have mastered the art of slowly sliding over on the chat so you can read it, but the person who sent it doesn’t know you’ve seen it. However, I’ve never been one for subtlety, and I just click on everything. This was the first entry to my downfall.

The text was simple: “I was wondering if you’d ever want to hangout like just you and I. Like a date.” There was some poor emoji usage, but overall, the text was sweet. (Despite the fact he sent it at 3:30am the morning before, insinuating he must have been drunk or high when he typed it up).

The problem is that I am not interested in him. Of course, I’m flattered that he would think of me like this. More so, that he would take the initiative to actually ask me out on a date and want to see me romantically. It’s very kind, don’t get me wrong! Especially in today’s world, where most men are too chicken to be that open with girls and say what they want.

Because he is my friend, and I thought the situation to be one of slight awkwardness but really just a normal interaction, I responded as follows: “That’s so sweet! Thanks for asking me. I really like being your friend, and I think that’s how we should stay.” I thought this was a perfect response. I affirmed his behavior, complimenting him, and then I was straight to the point and honest about my own feelings. That’s better than leading him on or pushing it off, isn’t it?

But I guess not. He left the message on open and didn’t respond, and two days later, I still haven’t heard from him.

It got me thinking about the fragility of masculinity. It also got me thinking of why as a woman, rejecting someone feels like a loss.

I know that being rejected doesn’t feel good. It hurts your pride and self esteem, and you’re embarrassed that you seem to have opened up to the wrong person. But at the end of the day, vulnerability like that is so admirable. But what isn’t admirable is his behavior after rejection.

I told my dad about this situation, and he said something that I thought was uncomfortable. “No man likes to be told no.” To this I say: boohoo! Life isn’t rainbows and butterflies. You don’t get everything you want, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. I understand, it sucks! You’re allowed to feel bad. I guess I just don’t know why he has to treat me like I have done something wrong.

In the aftermath, I feel this guilt. I feel like he now thinks all women hate him and he’s going to stop putting himself out there and being upfront. I don’t want to be the rejection responsible for his loss of respect and care for women! I know deep down that if this is his genuine reaction, he didn’t respect women to begin with. But I can’t help but feel slightly responsible for pushing him off the edge.

The reality that I am learning is that I don’t owe men anything. There is nothing wrong with not being attracted to someone, no matter how much they think you should be.

What should have been a simple and awkward encounter has turned into one of hurt pride and eerie manliness. It’s starting to feel like every encounter will be of that caliber.

I just hope that he continues to pursue women in a somewhat respectable way. I hope men quit asking me out over Snapchat. I hope I stop having to reject them when they do, and I hope the next guy who asks me out is one I am truly interested in. I hope the idea of being masculine stops being a front for crumbling strength, with hurt and soft egos underneath.

Honesty always wins, so if he never talks to me again, at least I told him what I really felt and didn’t lead him on a wild goose hunt.

College student, woman, master of sarcasm, occasional inhabitant of this brain. Nebraska. Washington.