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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    Rejected Friendship – How to Come to Terms with Disappointment

    When a person extends a friendly hand in kindness and sincerity, only to be met with dismissal, the blow can deliver more than an emotional boom. Rejection from a potential friend can leave one in a vulnerable position, feeling exposed and unworthy. The power of self-resentment can not only cause short-term sadness, but leave behind a lingering guilt that is hard to shake off. Having been in this situation before, I understand how much the unreciprocated gesture of friendship can hurt. But what should you do if you find yourself begrudgingly surrounded in disappointment?

    Having experienced a lack of acceptance is enough to make anyone feel ashamed and inadequate. It is important to remember that rejection doesn’t mean the other person didn’t value you. Usually, it is a consequence of something being incompatible between the two people. Take this time to assess if there was anything on your side that didn’t meet the desired standard or anything incompatible with what the person was looking for in a friend.

    Although it can be difficult to see past aching sentiment when first rejected, dwelling in despair for too long is a sure-fire way to let suffering become the norm. But instead of letting despondency consume you, strive to pick yourself up and focus on what works in favor of your own self-worth. Acknowledging that the best isn’t always meant to be can be difficult, however, understanding that the situation should be used constructively is key.

    By exploring oneself, we can take the focus away from being rejected and put it onto ourselves. Is there something missing in our own life? Maybe there’s a lifestyle habit that can act as an obstacle, such as toxicity or negativity? Or perhaps there is something new you can explore, like books or hobbies, to help improve one's attitude, outlook, and wellbeing. Rejection is undeniably hard to restyle, but viewing it as an opportunity to rediscover yourself can move you into a productive direction.

    Of course, it is incredibly easy to feel holed in by sadness. That’s why maintaining a healthy balance of activity is essential. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, like friends and family ones that have an unconditional appreciation for you, or pursue fun activities that bring you joy. Discovering and channeling joy is the antidote to treating sadness as an ongoing state. Be mindful of and grateful for simple everyday pleasures in life to ease your sorrowful disposition.

    It is important to note, too, that learning to come to terms with rejection is an individual experience that doesn't always come with a timeframe. Allow yourself the freedom to process and understand what happened without expecting speedy closure. Resilience will come with patience, allowing you to regain balance and perspective. Unexpressed emotions may anger us, preventing us from being able to interact in a healthy way with being rejected. Acknowledge grief as two separate stages - the emotion of sadness itself, and the reaction based on unresolved memory.

    When you don’t achieve the level of success you were hoping for, even if it’s in relation to just wanting to be friends, it can be hard not to fall into a slump. As difficult as beating rejection can be, removing yourself from its grip is possible. Learning to recognize and adjust for imperfection will bring about a sense of harmlessness to your overall outlook, giving hope and a better perspective. From bad experiences we can take away positive things, maybe even a newfound sense of understanding. So when it comes to being rejected from a friendship, embrace the feeling but know that it won’t last forever.

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