Advice About Getting Rejected, From 6 Mentors That Have Seen It All

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s this: Rejection can be a tough pill to swallow. That goes for any area of life, including your career, education, and friendships. But when it comes to dating, rejection is particularly painful. After putting yourself on the line, getting turned down can be a major disappointment, not to mention detrimental to your self-confidence. Luckily, a mentor can often offer up some immensely helpful advice about getting rejected. What’s a mentor for, after all, if not to put things in perspective when you’re feeling defeated?

That’s not to say you won’t occasionally find it difficult to bounce back. It takes a lot of energy to get up the guts to invite that cutie at the office out for drinks or to casually ask that bartender for their digits. And when they don’t respond favorably, it can be quite the blow to your ego. You might wonder: What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t they interested? Is it because I’m not pretty/smart/funny/fit/cool enough?

But a wise friend once told me: Rejection is a gift. It’s an opportunity for learning about yourself, for growth, and for re-evaluating your priorities and your goals. More importantly, she told me that rejection isn’t necessarily an indication that you’re not right for that person, but rather a sign that they’re not right for you.

So before you start beating yourself up after getting turned down, consider these wise tidbits of advice from mentors about how to deal with rejection.

"Seek out rejections."

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'Figure out how many no's it takes to get a yes.' If you talk to 21 people and the 21st person says yes, then you know you need to close another 21. It’s all a numbers game. Seek out rejections.

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"Rejection gives you a thicker skin."

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It sounds cliché, but my older sister always told me, 'What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.' The first time you experience rejection, it’s devastating. But the more you take risks, even if they don’t work out, you get a little bit more you're willing to put your heart on the line. Rejection gives you thicker skin.

—Jordan, 29

"Keep shooting."

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'You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take, so keep shooting.'

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"The more rejection you get, the closer you will be to success."

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'Everything you want is on the other side of fear.' Nobody likes getting rejected. But in order to get what you want in life, you have to be willing to take the risk. You can’t think that things will just happen to you. That’s not the way the world works. You yourself have to go out and make things happen. Always remember that the more rejection you get, the closer you will be to success.

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"This is only a very small thing."

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'Hey man, this can be resolved and will pass. In the grand scheme of things, this is only a very small thing that you’re going to encounter throughout your life.'

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"Every time someone rejects you, they’re only rerouting you."

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My mom told me, ‘Every time someone rejects you, they’re only rerouting you to something better — someone who’s better for you.’ That was really hard for me to see in the moment, because rejection leaves you feeling a little broken. But months down the line when I had found someone who was just as excited and eager to get to know me, I was glad the other person had turned me down.

—Melissa, 30

No one ever said rejection was easy to take, but consider this: So many of the things in life that benefit us are the ones that challenge us most. Too often, we allow the behavior and words of others to dictate how we feel about ourselves. However, rejection isn’t a reflection on who you are — it’s a reflection on the other person. Once you begin to see rejection as a gift, you’ll be able to recover from it much more quickly. In the meantime, turn to your trusty mentor (or those cited above) for some much-needed wisdom.