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Overcoming rejection

Overcoming Rejection – Practical Alpha-Mentality Advice

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I recently got a really good email from a reader who was responding to an email I wrote for The Adult Man’s email newsletter. 

In this letter, he basically asked two questions—both of which contained basic undertones of one very foundational question:

How do you overcome rejection?

Here’s the email he wrote. 

“Hi Joshua

Even though I’m probably not your average reader I still hope you’ll be able to give me some advice.

So basically, as a guy, I’ve fallen in love with a guy. I’m 17 and he’s 16. We know each other from playing in the same sports team for multiple years. It didn’t really come as a big surprise when I realized my feelings for him, considering I’ve known I’m attracted to both sexes for a few years. Actually, most surprising was the intensity of the feeling, love or maybe just desire. It’s something I haven’t experienced before. 

Reading your article, the word Oneitis describes my situation pretty accurately. 

So I tried to reach out to him by asking if he wanted to hang out after school sometime. But he’s not interested in being my friend. He says he already has his group of friends and wouldn’t really have time to hang out with me, so he declined. 

From my perspective, we seemed to get on really well. And I guess we do in our sport setting. 

Hanging out outside of that seems to be different. Seeing as I’m a bit of an introverted guy, our interactions were really special for me and I felt very happy being around him. But my guess is that for him it was simply casual conversation without any greater significance. 

I do fine on my own, I know I will be able to live happily without him. But I’m still sad because of the immense joy I feel being with him, knowing we won’t be together. What do you think? 

Secondly, do you have any advice on how to be a more social person? How do I become more interesting to be around? 

I notice in social people, like this guy, how easygoing they are. They have very expressing body language and are good talkers. It’s almost as if they don’t talk about anything interesting in itself, but rather what they talk about becomes interesting.

Sometimes I think of myself as a very confident person, not seeking too much approval from other people. But I wonder if it’s simply indifference.

Thank you for letting me express my thoughts.”

I thought that this was a very interesting email for one very important reason. 

Both of these questions were based on the topic of overcoming rejection. 

The first part, the rejection from a crush. 

And the second part, the rejection from acquaintances, friends, and other people in his social circles. 

So I did some thinking and took some notes, and wrote back this email in reply. 

I’m now publishing it as a blog post because I think it could be useful for my other readers as well. 

Here it goes.

Overcoming Rejection: The Basics

I read through your email. You’re right, you’re not necessarily a typical reader of mine, as most men write to me wanting advice about how to succeed at dating women.

In other words, I tend to talk more to heterosexual guys. 

However, love is a very universal concept, and feelings of love and attraction can most certainly apply to all kinds of different situations. 

The fact that you fell in love with a friend isn’t so unusual.

When we spend time around someone we like, we tend to develop an attachment. This is how we make friends. This also plays into how we date. 

If someone seems attractive to us and we also enjoy spending time with them, and then we actually do spend a lot of time with them—well, that really primes the conditions for attraction, infatuation, love, and affection to take place. 

I’m glad that you pursued your feelings by asking him if he wanted to hang out. 

I know that telling someone you like them and that you want to date them is a scary thing, especially if it’s not something you’ve gone through before. 

Your situation could create even more anxiety for you, because there can be an almost ‘homophobic’ type mentality among some men, which is unfortunate. 

I’m sure there was a part of you that had to fight against your fears of being ostracized as a result of your feelings. Thus, I see it as inherently masculine and brave of you to take the initiative to ask him to spend time with you.

On The Subject Of Being ‘Sad’ As A Result Of The Rejection

overcoming rejection quote joshua sigafus

It’s completely understandable that you’re sad because the hangout didn’t work out, and there’s no shame in feeling sad about it. 

When you like someone, it’s probably because they bring you a lot of joy. And realizing that they don’t feel the same way that you do can be a very demoralizing feeling.

To put it very plainly, you’re probably experiencing some feelings of loss. 

If you really like someone, and then they reject you, it’s understandable that you may grieve that relationship—and that’s okay. 

You shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to not feel sad about it. 

Feeling sad is a completely understandable response and a natural part of life. 

So in that sense, I think that you’re doing pretty well. 

It sounds like you’re handling it in a very common sense and practical way. 

On The Subject Of Overcoming Rejection By Being More Sociable

In regards to how to be more social, I’ve actually created some content about that. 

Here are some links to some posts that may help.

The first one is a post I wrote about alpha male body language

The second one is titled: How Can I Improve My Personality And Communication Skills?

And the third one is about 4 steps to overcoming social anxiety

What I will say about this right now is that confidence can be a learned behavior. 

Confidence Is Partly Natural—But It’s Also Linked To Competence

In my experience, there are two different types of confidence. 

Some of us seem to naturally be born with it, and some of us seem to develop it early in our lives, almost naturally as a result of our nurturing experiences. 

These are people that I would describe as naturally confident people. 

I would recommend that you read Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules For Life to get a better understanding of how this natural confidence tends to come about. 

You can also read this post about confidence, which I published on my blog. 

But for other people, those who aren’t the naturally confident type, confidence may need to be learned. 

And generally speaking, you learn confidence by winning or succeeding at the things you care about.

How To Build Confidence Naturally

So for example, if you’re low in confidence in the sense that you feel like you struggle to make friends, then the best way to help yourself build confidence in that area would be to go out into the world and do your best to try to make friends. 

Study how to do it. Read good articles, read good books, and really deploy yourself in an attempt to become better with that particular skill. 

(I’d recommend the classic book How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.) 

As you take risks and start to experience small wins in this area, your confidence will naturally grow. 

This is where competence comes in. 

Increasing Your Competence Tends To Naturally Increase Your Confidence

When you learn how to be competent at a particular skill, your confidence at that skill will naturally increase along with it. 

And when you apply this to social settings, making friends, and dating, that’s what tends to happen. 

You tend to go from being unsure of yourself and less confident, to actually being good at it (or at least better at it than you were before), knowing that you’re good at it, and then feeling confident in your ability to do it successfully. 

So my advice to people who want to be more socially outgoing is always pretty much the same.

How To Overcome Rejection By Becoming More Socially Interesting And Outgoing – 3 Crucial Steps 

joshua sigafus quote about value and rejection

Step 1: First, study up on it and learn basic social skills. 

Step 2: Secondly, start spending time around new people, and try to be a socially adventurous person. 

Also, spending time around new people, as opposed to trying to spend time around the same old people you used to lack confidence with, is actually important. 

Because when you spend time around new people, you’re starting off with a brand new slate. 

This helps to avoid past biases that could be built into the hierarchies of your old friend groups. 

Step 3: And then, step three, continue to learn about it. 

Continue to get better at it, and continue to persevere even if you find it difficult. 

If this skill actually matters to you, then continuing to practice it will only result in you getting better. 

Of course, you need to be patient and give yourself some time. 

Things don’t always come fast or automatically.

The Golden Rule Of Practice

Here’s the golden rule about practice. 

Even if you’re not naturally good at something—if you tend to continue practicing and trying to level up that skill, you inevitably will get better at it. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll ever be the best at it in the world, or that you’ll become a veritable master of that particular skill. 

But it does mean that if the skill is important to you, and you continue to put work into it, you will get better at it.

I Used To Suck At Graphic Design—But Through Practice, I Improved

Take me and drawing for example: 

I’m an absolutely terrible artist. 

In fact, I’m actually pretty naturally terrible at graphic design as well. 

However, especially with graphic design, I’ve really applied myself to practicing and trying to get better. 

Am I currently a master at graphic design? Definitely not. 

However, I’ve taught myself to create graphics for my blog posts. 

And honestly, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t hate the graphics I create. 

I actually think that they’re pretty good. 

At the very least, they add to the blog posts—and I enjoy creating them.

Do I ever think that I’ll be the best graphic designer in the world? Not really. 

However, I’ve developed the skill enough to be able to utilize it successfully in my life, to a point where I find fulfillment and satisfaction in it. 

And that’s really all I wanted from it to begin with. 

A Few Final Notes

I hope that this helps you in your search to figure out how to be more socially savvy. 

Let me also finish off this email with some words of encouragement. 

Being socially outgoing can actually be a scary thing.

So don’t kick yourself too harshly if you struggle with it a bit. 

One of the scariest things in this entire world is rejection. 

There’s a very real reason for this. 

We’re inherently social creatures. 

And when we feel rejected by other people, well, there’s really not much else in the world that hurts more than that. 

Both of the questions you’ve brought up in your email really reflect back to the question of rejection, how to handle it, and how to overcome it.

So as a final piece of advice, I’ll just tell you this. 

Rejection isn’t easy for anyone. 

But the fact of the matter is that you seem to be doing pretty well.

None of us will ever be completely immune to rejection. 

And all of us will be sad, to a certain point, when we get rejected.

However, our lives have a great capacity to be meaningful and important. 

And social interaction with others, including in the domain of dating, is important enough that it’s worth the work. 

So don’t give up on it. 

You’ll definitely want to make sure that you’re not succumbing to Oneitis. But honestly, the best way to do that is to continue to level up so that you create more options for yourself. 

So once again, that just goes back to practicing your social skills and putting yourself out there more. 

Also, don’t be too down on yourself when you feel like you’ve failed, because it’s admittedly a difficult thing to get right. 

However, I will promise you this. 

If you keep working on it, stay positive, and don’t beat yourself up about the failures—then you will most definitely begin to see forward progress. 

Just be patient. It does take time. 

You’ve got this. Just stick with it. 

Go with grace, my friend. And never give up your power. 

Joshua K. Sigafus.