Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Some recent writing about dates who say "I'll call you,"and never do, and one from a while back on "Bigots," stimulated me to vent about rejection. We learn it early enough, if not from parents being busy or neglectful (even in the best of families) from other kids. There's always someone more popular. There's the famous triangle, in which your latest best friend has found a new best friend. Then, there's the boyfriend situation, anywhere from a revolving door to heartbreak coming after supposed commitment. Of course, that happens in marriage, too.
I was just rejected by my long-time pen pal of 50 years, a childhood friend, for voting differently from him, actually for confiding that I had done so. Hopefully, the friendship may survive to some extent, whether or not the correspondence does. Why would someone become so rigid and intolerant over simple politics, in which half the country disagrees with the other half, especially someone extremely smart, well-educated and sophisticated? My guess-insecurity outside his social comfort zone as he ages and questions his own abilities or position in life. Or simple bigotry. Certainly, differneces of opinion, and ours aren't even that different, lead to educational debate or avoidance of certain topics in favor of others, among grown-ups with normal self-esteem and broad-minded intelligence.
Then, there was another type of rejection, too, which happened to me and happens to lots of folks I know quite often. I can think of many examples of befriending people, really hitting it off, thinking ahead of discussions and fun together, and then never hearing from them again. Even after leaving a message or three, nothing..., not unlike disappointing dating. For the more obsessive of us, then come the questions. Did I say the wrong thing? Does the spouse not like me? Did someone gossip badly about me? Was there something found on the internet which bothered the person? Was it just not a good fit, after all? Did something unforeseen come up in her life? Should I forget about it or call again some day?
Lastly, what about the rejection of old friends not staying in touch, even when we've tried--left a message, sent an email, written a note, etc.? Should we just take the hint that she's not interested in our friendship anymore, with all its memories and sharing? Is she preoccupied with herself, her life and her other friends, to the point in which we've become insignificant? Or, is there really a gripe, a disagreement or something we don't know about? It's a mystery which may never be solved.
On the other hand, maybe instead of focusing on our rejection experiences, we could concentrate on our present and available friends and thank them for caring.