The Two Sides of Rejection

I’m willing to bet all of my scrunchies that those of you reading this article right now have seen at least one movie where someone gets rejected by their crush.

Cue the sad music and the depressing montages; we all know this scene too well, and we all feel for the person who tried to shoot their shot.

Photo courtesy of tenor.com

It’s not easy making a move on someone you like. You have to sort through your emotions, seek advice from friends, and then finally muster up the courage to find a way to tell your crush you have feelings for them. More often than not, if the asker  gets rejected, we usually empathize with them.

But I don’t think I, and the majority of others, ever looked at the situation from the rejecter’s side until I got my feet jammed into their shoes.

I remember it was towards the end of freshman year when one of my closest friends told me something I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to hear. I had been fearing this conversation for months, and I had been dropping hints and explicitly stating time and time again that all I wanted was a friendship that would last.

He had confessed his feelings for me, and now it was time for me to reciprocate my emotions. I remember specifically asking my friend before I met with him again to tell him how I felt, and I told her: “I always knew it was difficult telling someone how you feel about them. But now I’m wondering if it’s harder being rejected, or being the rejecter.”

Again, this isn’t to disregard the copious amount of effort being put in from the asker’s side; it’s more so to highlight the truth about what it’s like to be the person who rejects someone, especially if they’re a close friend.

It’s one thing to give someone else power over you and hope they use it in your favor, but it’s another thing to be given the power to make a decision you knew you didn’t want to make.

The worst part is that the person you’re rejecting is someone you love and care about as a close friend. You yourself would rather get hurt than put them in a place where something unpleasant might happen to them, yet here you are knowing you have to tell them something nobody wants to hear. You know they’re better off hearing the truth rather than you going along with a lie that would never last.

At the end of it all, he had his own reasons to approach me with his confession. He sought out advice from people who knew nothing about our dynamic and our friendship, and my attempts to clarify the status of our friendship were paid no heed.

What hurts the most is that I can feel his glare on my back during classes that we have together. I know our mutual friends, or people who used to be my friends, have heard just about everything else except what I’ve been able to pour out into this article. I can tell that they look at me differently now, and I don’t blame them, nor am I upset with them. It wasn’t a nice thing for me to do, but I think their lack of understanding comes from their inability to empathize with the situation I was put in.

He had the pressure of his emotions and his friends’ encouragement on his back, I had the pressure of my feelings, his feelings, and pretty much everyone and their mom’s feelings after I had said what I needed to say.

I guess, now that I’ve reached the conclusion of my rant, I just want those who have ever been put in, or are in, the same situation, understand this: you are not to blame for the way the person asking handles the circumstances after you’ve given your response. You need to look out for yourself, and if people outside of the situation don’t respect you for that, you will find others who do. Life goes on, you lose friends, and you make new ones.

It took me some time to realize that maybe because I loved and cared about him, I needed to let him go because he had convinced himself he had feelings for the wrong girl. I know in the future, he’ll find exactly what he’s looking for and thank himself that this hadn’t worked out.

Photo courtesy of We Heart It

It’s definitely not easy being rejected, but I think after this, it’s clear that it's not easy being the rejecter either.