Here's How To Respond When The Person You Like Doesn't Like You Back

by Cosmo Luce

The first impulse you have after rejection is usually not the best way to go. When the person you like doesn't like you back, that first impulse usually tells you that you need to prove your worth to someone. But if you doubt your own worth, then that seems like another person has the power to determine it for you. If this experience has led you to doubt your own worth, then you should remove yourself from that person immediately. Don't keep yourself in an uncomfortable position. Retreat and regroup.

When the person you like doesn't like you back, you have to understand that, not only does it have nothing to do with you, but it also doesn't have the power to harm you. That was always one of my hangups. How could something that didn't have anything to do with me still impact me so negatively? Wasn't the fact that it has nothing to do with me the problem? When you like someone, you want their feelings to have something to do with you. That's kind of the whole point.

But you don't really want a relationship with someone who doesn't like you back. Trying to prove your worth to them and to yourself by chasing them is also an impossible task. You can't force someone to love you, and sometimes, that feeling of withholding is exactly what draws you in.

Here's what to do instead.

1. Make A List Of How You Are Lovable

When the person you like doesn't like you back, it's good to remind yourself of the things you like about yourself. You are lovable, and even if you forget that sometimes, I'm sure there are things about yourself that you like. If you are having a hard time building your self-esteem back up after rejection, just think of all the things that friends have told you before and write them down — because those great things are true.

This exercise might feel a little self-help-y, but it's important to reclaim your self-worth when you've just stumbled over a bit of rejection. It's OK to feel dejected if that's how you feel, just don't allow yourself to believe that another person's feelings toward you determine anything about you. Their feelings belong to them, and you don't have any influence over them. So why are you allowing their feelings to influence yours?

2. Recognize That It Wouldn't Be Like You Imagined Anyway

When the person you like doesn't like you back, you might experience some sense of loss. Clearly, the relationship you hoped for with this person isn't going to happen. The best way to get over this is to recognize that it was a relationship you built up in your head. It makes it easier to let go of the future you had hoped for when you realize you are mourning something that didn't happen yet.

A relationship is always going to be different than how you imagined it, and even if you did feel like your fantasy had some potential to play out, it wouldn't have stuck to the script exactly. You can channel the feelings you had for a person back into yourself, your friends, and your community and keep moving toward what you want. The only difference is that this person won't be there with you — and it is their right to have made this choice.

3. Pursue The Relationship You Want

If you like someone, it means that you are receptive to love. That's amazing, and it's actually a bit rarer than you might think. Not everyone is always open to giving and receiving love, but once you know that you are, you also know that you might actually want a relationship — just not with the person who rejected you, obviously.

When you know that you are open to connecting with someone, it makes the idea of dating and flirting much more intriguing. Don't assume that just because this person didn't want to be with you that no one else will. Something didn't line up with the person who didn't like you back — and that's nobody's fault — but it frees you up to find someone who does.

Once you get over the person who didn't like you back, you'll know that the best way to date is not to put all of your hopes in one basket. It makes it much easier to embrace the fluidity of connecting with people. As you continue meeting with people, you'll find that there are all sorts of ways to share time, space, and energy with someone. This experience, like all the others, are helping you figure out what actually feels exactly right.

Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!