I’m hitting my late twenties hard this last month. Feeling an existential crisis, I did what any pop queen would: shaved my head and grew a mustache. I had the excuse of Movember behind the face fur, but really I just wanted to see how it looked amidst emotional turmoil.
Not one to air the particulars of my dirty laundry, let’s suffice it to an age-old story: I developed a seemingly more-than-friendship with a guy whom I admired deeply, mistook vibes and cues, and turned it into a romance that never was. I’m an expert at this, I can assure you, as this is not the first time I found myself in the Friend Zone™.
At this point, you’d think I’d know when to pull the ‘chute and descend to safety in my rejection seat, but I keep going. I’ve learned an interesting thing about rejection, though. It hurts. But it can hurt a lot less if you’re direct and clear. “I’m not interested in you” stings, but it’s blunt and clear; there’s no loose end, versus, “I don’t know what to say,” which says it all. The delivery of rejection precludes being “the nice guy.” Perceptions will change; very simply, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too.
And then there’s the behind the scenes of it all. At some point, rejection after rejection, I have to believe that it is me, that there is something about me not palatable to those whom I’ve admired. The soul-searching questions arise like “Why am I not viable?” and itching comparisons come to light— what exactly am I missing that the coupled or courting are doing? I guess I’m a FOMO homo.
Yes, this sounds awfully pitiful. But this is where the work comes in.
I’m a longtime fan of Brené Brown and her lessons of vulnerability, which I’ve heeded. I have been honest and open, vulnerable to share and communicate my feelings clearly and effectively. All that said, however, it wasn’t enough. It was a valiant effort, but it didn’t result in the romantic splendor that I craved. There is no formulaic answer to this problem, and it certainly won’t be solved overnight— when there’s no spark for a flame, nothing catches on fire.
I’m a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man. But seriously, behind the humor, I’m working on myself diligently to be the best that I can be for myself and no one else. And that is attractive.
Soundtrack: Son – Sleeping At Last
2 thoughts on “Danger: Rejection Seat”
I think you may be too hard on yourself. By the time I was your age, I knew very well the romance clues from the let’s just be friends clues. So don’t think you misinterpreted it. I believe that there are screwy people who send out the romance cues so they can later reject you and say “oh no, I just wanted to be friends.” I truly believe that some (not all) of the rejecters do this. Come on, you know damn well what the friend zone vibes feel, sound and look like vs. what the romance vibes feel, sound and look like. So it’s just may be that you didn’t misinterpret, but you were being played with for someone’s sad little ego. I called out a man doing this once when I got the “I just want to be friends/you want more/you are reading me wrong” talk and said friends don’t kiss each in slurpy ways, do they?
I’ve often been accused of being too hard on myself (also by my mother; you two should meet). I don’t want to think that was his intention, though. He really is a nice guy— too nice, in this instance.