I am no stranger to rejection. I’m not exactly a pariah or anything, but I’ve heard the word no a few times – as well as serving up a few rejections of my own. I don’t like settling, and I support anyone who refuses to settle, too. Desperation isn’t sexy.
But not all rejections are created equal. Sometimes, we try to say no gracefully, to keep the other person’s feelings from getting hurt (which, by the way, rarely works). Sometimes we don’t care about tact and grace and we’ll tell the person exactly why we’re not into them. Whatever your approach is, it should be honesty. (Even if you have to sugar-coat it.)
You know what rejection line is total bullshit, though?
“I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”
Even if it’s true, that’s not an appropriate reason to reject someone – and here’s why.
The best relationships are unexpected.
You don’t go out looking for a relationship if you expect to find success. Sure, you might get a date, and you might even be looking for a date – but there’s no reason to rush into the idea of a relationship. You should feel free to take your time and get to know the person without putting a label on it. If you don’t, how will you know if you love the person or if you just want to be in love?
If you asked the person out, you kinda were looking.
Even though we know we shouldn’t be trying to find our true love, we ask around anyway. What’s it going to hurt? Well, it only hurts if you pretend that’s not what you were doing. If you make a conscious decision to ask someone out, you are making a conscious decision to find a partner – and you should have made your intentions clear when you asked.
If you accepted an invitation out, you kinda were looking, too.
If you tell someone at the end of your date that you’re not looking for a relationship, the message they’ll receive is “I’m not looking for a relationship with you.” And there’s a good reason for that – you decided to take up their offer, and then basically put them back on the shelf afterward. If you already knew that you didn’t want to date, you wouldn’t have accepted their invitation.
It assumes no liability.
Hardly ever is one person completely at fault when a relationship doesn’t take off. It’s a sign of incompatibility, and isn’t usually anything personal. You just had needs that you didn’t think they could fulfill. The problem here is that, when this line is used, you usually haven’t given them the chance to show whether they could meet this need or not. You can’t know your compatibility with someone right away – often you don’t know for sure until you’re in the relationship, sometimes pretty deep in. If you tell them you aren’t looking for a relationship, you’re saying it’s never going to happen.
It gives false hope.
The idea of “not looking” seems permanent when we say it: I’m not interested in dating you. But that’s not how it comes out, and it might not be how the other person takes it: I’m not interested in dating. We leave off the “you” because it seems rude – but in our minds, it’s still there. We haven’t told the other person it’s there. They’ll find out when we get with someone else, right? But that’s not really a fun way to find out you were led on.
It’s usually insincere.
Most people are at least passively looking for a relationship, at least most of the time. This is a generalization, but humans are a generally social and romantic species. (Especially lesbians!) You mean that you’re not trying to find a relationship, but instead you sound like you’re saying you’re not willing to find a relationship right now. It’s a subtle distinction, to be sure, but it can make all the difference.
Hey, I know you probably say it because you don’t want the other person to think it’s their fault. You’ll just say you’re not looking, and the blame will be placed on you. Right? Well, sort of… But the problem is that most people can see right through this “white lie”, so they overcompensate by blaming themselves more. It’s a form of mind game that’s really not fair.
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