There's nothing quite like that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that comes with a rejection text. Some are easier to receive; for instance, getting one after a first date when you haven't grown too attached to the person might be a bummer, but a breakup text out of the blue from a long-term partner can be totally devastating. Knowing how to respond to being rejected over text can offer at least some solace by putting more of the agency and power back in your hands.
Why do rejection texts sting so much? Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily that being turned down over text can feel like a sign of disrespect. "It’s hard because it can make a person feel as though they weren’t worth an in-person chat," she explains. "It's becoming more and more common, especially with younger generations. It’s the easy way out, so to speak."
Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League, echoes this, saying it's easy to feel like you're "not good enough" when you get a rejection text. "The thing is, someone who’s only had a date or two with you can’t really reject you because they don’t even know you. All they’re really saying is, 'We’re not a good fit,' or 'You’re not my type,''' he tells Elite Daily. "It’s not rejection. It’s just information." When faced with this information, do you go silent, or do you reply? And if you decide to speak up, what do you say?Here's how the experts recommend handling rejection over text in a few common situations.
They just aren’t romantically interested in you.
Putting yourself out there and letting someone know you’re romantically interested requires vulnerability and courage, and it can be really difficult. Don't beat yourself up if that affection isn't reciprocated. After the initial sting of their rejection text fades, you may feel unsure of what to do, and that's normal, explains April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert, and author. Remember: You can also opt to not reply at all. “Not every rejection requires a response. In other cases, silence speaks volumes,” she tells Elite Daily. If you decide you do want to respond, she suggests taking the high road. “Being polite, even when your rejector is not, can feel satisfying and is the best overall advice I can give," she says. "Lashing out may feel good in the moment, but you'll probably regret your actions down the road.”
A post-first-date rejection.
After a first date that seemed to go well, the last thing you might expect is a text telling you the feeling isn't mutual. While that’s likely a letdown, Barrett advises taking it in stride. “If they did it with kindness and grace, thank them for telling you,” he says. “It shows class on their part to not ghost you, so you can return that by saying, ‘Hey, thanks for letting me know.’ Also, feel free to add a joke to lighten the tone, like, ‘I guess I’ll have to return the engagement ring that I bought you after our first date now.'" The key, says Barrett, is to keep things positive, light, and moving forward.
This is especially true, adds Masini, if you met them through a mutual friend or you are likely to cross paths with them in the future. “Keeping the ending polite and clean in spite of a disappointing rejection is a good idea for any future encounters. Burning bridges is always risky."
A breakup text.
The most dreaded rejection text of all is the one that ends a relationship. First and foremost, Barrett stresses that a breakup text is a major faux pas on your ex's part. “People do it because it’s less awkward for them, so it’s an inherently selfish act. The way someone breaks up is a reflection of their character," he explains. "You can ask yourself, ‘Would I even want to be with someone who breaks up this way? Did they just do me a favor by breaking up via text?’”
Masini agrees. “If you’ve been rejected by text, you were dating someone who isn’t very respectful of your feelings. If the relationship had continued, you would've been subjected to more behavior where your feelings were not respected," she says. "In other words, you’ve learned something not-so-great about a person who breaks up over text — and saved yourself time in a relationship that was going to be not-so-nice. This rejection, in this way, is a gift. Find someone else who is more caring and has better manners.”
If you want to reply, her advice is to keep it brief and classy. “You can simply text back, 'Good luck!' Or you can tell them that it’s been fun, or you’re sorry things didn’t work out, and simply move on," she suggests. "Keep your side of the street clean and move on. You’ve dodged a bullet.”
If you (understandably) have questions, Leckie says responding to their text is your opportunity to ask them. “Do your best to stay calm and keep it classy, then block them and begin the healing process if you are really struggling," she advises. "You don’t want to keep the door open for them to pop up and cause you a bunch of grief all over again. Exes like to circle back, even if they broke up with you. Don’t give them the opportunity. If they genuinely cared, they wouldn’t have broken up with you in the first place.” Or they would've given you the courtesy of an IRL breakup instead of doing it behind a screen.
In the end, try to remember Barrett's initial assertion that rejection is ultimately information. Now you know something you didn't before, and that information sets you free to move on to find someone else you're a better fit with. That doesn't mean the rejection won’t hurt a bit, but try not to internalize it. Ultimately, it's their loss and your opportunity to find a better match.
Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League
Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast
April Masini author, relationship and etiquette expert