A Gentleman’s Guide to Rejecting Someone
I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I’ve been rejected quite a bit in my life. Today, even! So much so, that I’d like to think I’m somewhat of an expert on how it should be done. You see, when you’ve been rejected by emotionally unavailable manchildren as much as I have (not bitter, I swear), you come to the realization that there are some guys out there who know how to do it just right.
Aside from those two, however, the rest are pretty much trash at it.
I completely understand that it’s not easy. I’ve had to do it myself from time to time, and yeah, it sucks. But you know what’s worse? Being rejected. No matter what, the person being turned down is feeling much more like shit than you are, so keep that in mind next time you regurgitate hollow phrases such as, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
When rejecting women especially, give up the nice guy act. We’re very smart and intuitive. We can detect a load of crap when we smell it. If you want to break up with us, do it with the knowledge that we’re deserving of respect. We need proper closure, and some honesty. Even if it hurts, we tend to prefer the truth over fluffy excuses that ultimately turn you into a liar. Especially when we see you out with a new girl three weeks later.
With this, my dear heterosexual male readers, I give you a more realistic guide to rejecting women that will be better for everyone involved — most of all, that other person, who only wanted to love you, goddammit.
Don’t Assume ANYTHING
So you’ve been casually seeing someone for some time, but you don’t want to make it official. Or, more likely, you slept together once but don’t want to keep hanging out. Men have a tendency to think the world revolves around them and will often assume things like, “This girl is in love with me” or “She definitely wants to be in a relationship,” without actually talking to that woman about it.
Don’t fall into this pattern of assumption, then react based off of it. You might be right in some cases, but you know how to never be wrong? Talk to her about it. Most women aren’t ready to jump into relationships after having sex just once. If we want to hang out again, all it means is that we want to hang out again. Assuming all women are dying to be monogamous with you because they let you put your dick inside them is both sexist and extremely narcissistic — not qualities we usually look for in a guy, FYI.
Obviously, it’s easier to suddenly act as if you never existed in the first place. Ignoring all attempts of communication until she “gets” it is effective, sure, but it’s also fucking shitty. If you’re over the age of 19 and think this is a valid form of dumping someone, you’re fucking privileges should be revoked until you learn how to treat women better. We deserve the break up. We need the closure, and you need to hear some final words, too. Ignoring a conversation because you know it will be hard is selfish and immature. Grow up.
Stop the Slow Fade
Another fun thing that happens in situations like these is the slow fade. That’s when you don’t want to straight up ghost, but you’re also being highly closed off in the little communication you reciprocate. Your responses are curt and vague. Suddenly, you’re way too busy to make plans. You hope that after a short while, she’ll eventually stop talking to you, and yet again, a difficult conversation can be avoided. We’re too smart for this, fellas. We know the instant you start the slow fade, and yes, we’re still going to want answers.
Honesty is probably the hardest thing to offer up, because the truth hurts and you don’t want to come off as an asshole. However, in my opinion, dating would be a lot better if we were all brutally honest with each other.
In other words, be an asshole.
Now, don’t be downright mean for no reason, but make your rejection in line with your true feelings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by guys that they’re not looking for a relationship, but end up getting into relationships with other women weeks later. Excuses like the timing being wrong, the need to focus on your career or any form of self-blame where the subtext is that you’re doing her a favor need to stop. Sure, this can be the case, but if it’s not, don’t use it. If the truth is that you’re not into her, say it.
It’ll hurt in the moment, but it’s better than leaving her with any sort of hope that there might be a rekindling at some other point in time.
Don’t Be Too Defensive
Okay, you’ve been honest about your feelings, and now you’re about to hear some of the ways you’ve been emotionally manipulative, dishonest, etc. This might sound insane to you, but trust me when I say, sit back and listen, okay? It’s likely that you have been and done those things, whether you intended to or not. I know that it’s hard to hear negative things about yourself, but jumping to your own defense might stop you from learning valuable things about your behavior.
Of course, if you’re being told things that you firmly believe aren’t true, go ahead and state them. But I beg of you to listen as much as you can before doing so. If you find that woman after woman cites the same patterns of behavior, maybe you do need to come to terms with there being something wrong with the way you casually date.
So instead, take her words in, and let her know that you understand her point-of-view. For the love of God, do NOT make her feel as if she’s being dramatic or that she’s overreacting. Similarly, do NOT attempt to trivialize her pain to make yourself feel better. She’s right to feel how she feels, so don’t go twisting her words so you can feel like less of a “bad guy.” This is extremely emotionally damaging. Women are socially conditioned to feel like our emotions are irrational when they’re often valid. We aren’t “crazy” for being upset, and you saying that just makes the situation worse for everyone involved.
Most of all, trust me, because I can’t stress it enough: I know of what I speak. So let all of my pain and heartbreak be instructive. Which will at least mean that you and I won’t be paying that pain forward.
Alison Stevenson is a comedian and writer based in L.A. She last compiled a gentleman’s guide to flirting without being a creep.
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