Friday, February 26, 2010

Handling Hurt Feelings

Rejection is just someone’s opinion. You don’t like everyone, and not everyone is going to like you. Don’t allow your discomfort to make you mean. Stringing someone along, pretending you like him or her when you really don’t, is cowardly and cruel. In the long run, you’ll inflict more pain by pretending, which is really to protect yourself. Pretending is much harsher than saying upfront that this isn’t working for you. If your date is smitten, the truth is going to pinch a bit but for less time or intensity than if you lie. You’ve been honorable, have asked your date out, or have been asked out on the assumption of potential good stuff. You’ve now discovered things aren’t working out. No need to push the guilt button. No one likes to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s important to be humane and human: When the news is hard to break and hard to take, be aware of what you’re feeling and why, and be specific about why it’s not working for you without being judgmental. Unless you are incredibly adept at letting your date down gently (how did you get so much practice? We may need to talk), you’re very likely going to hurt feelings.
When you do:
  • Acknowledge your date’s rights to feelings. Don’t pretend everything is okay or get defensive if your date lashes out or is upset. Listen quietly and patiently.
  • Don’t try to fix it. These are your date’s feelings, not yours. You deal with your feelings, and let your date do the same.
  • Apologize for the hurt, not the fact. Not liking someone isn’t a crime. You didn’t do anything wrong. As a human being, you feel bad when another human being feels bad, but when you start down the “sorry” road, the next thing you may find yourself doing is trying to make it up to your date. Don’t start down that slippery slope.
  • Let go. Ultimately, you have to make peace with the whole situation by realizing another fact of life: Not every date is terrific any more than every meal is wonderful, every sunset grand, or every flavor chocolate.

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