Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don't base your self-esteem on their opinions.
A couple of days ago, a post was forwarded to me by a female friend asking for my opinion. The basic idea of the post? As the article opening statement clearly mentions: “Man gives attention to a woman. Woman expresses her lack of desire for said attention. Man immediately turns hostile.” To read the full article, click here. My friend’s question was pretty simple.
What the hell’s wrong with guys today?
In actuality, her comments were a little more complex and involve several phrases that would shame most experienced seamen, but that’s neither here nor there. To be honest, I can’t really blame her comments as I have noticed how common this behavior is in the online dating circuit. It’s common enough to merit the Internet’s attention by exposing this behavior in previous articles like this one and this one. After looking this, and plenty more information about the subject I ended up with just one question in mind.
What the hell’s wrong with guys today?
Sure, we could blame a patriarchal society, male entitlement, and sexism. Everyone else seems to do it. But to be honest, every time people place blame on such abstract concept, it’s usually so they don’t have to think about an issue and find a more tangible cause and solution, it’s little more than a cop out.
So I started thinking about it, why can’t any of these guys (note that I will neither use the term men nor gentlemen when speaking about these guys) take the hint that the lady in question isn’t interested, nor why can’t they accept a simple “No.” What’s the emotional and social baggage that makes them incapable of dealing with rejection? And that’s when it hit me. The key word to find an answer isn’t “men,” or “sexism;” it’s “rejection.”
Please keep in mind as we move forward that I’m not saying that these guys aren’t sexist. What I’m saying is that they turn hostile (hurt) due to a rejection. They probably would have shown their sexist colors anyway later on. Also this isn’t your typical man, as most men aren’t like this. Unfortunately, today’s social media lives by feeding you with the worst case as if it was the typical case. We eat it up, share it out, and relate to it because who can’t relate with the idea of dealing with that one asshole who ruined your entire day?
But back to the topic in hand, why do these guys act this way? Because we trained them this way! Just take a second, stop thinking about the actual event and think about what we have been taught about dealing with rejection. They usually come in two varieties.
“Never take ‘No’ for an answer. Rejection just means you need to try harder.”
“It’s not that you’re not good enough. It’s that the other person failed to see what you had to offer”
These might sound like wonderful and inspiring life messages until you think about their effect on a person’s behavior. The first one teaches you that ‘No’ is unacceptable and that whenever you get that answer, you just need to try harder and more aggressively to achieve your success. Nice lesson to learn is a society where consent is so important whenever you are interacting with anyone. The second one teaches you to blame everything on everyone around you and their rejection is viewed as an attack based on the other person’s issues. Then we wonder where our current attitude of entitlement comes from.
We have these lessons drilled into our minds since we are kids. How many times have we heard a Mom tell her young boy that he’s special, and if the other kids don’t want to play with him, it’s their loss? (while glad that her wonderful son is no longer dating that tramp) How many times have we heard a Dad tell his daughter that she’s too good for the boy who dumped her? (while secretly planning the jerk’s demise)
But why do we see this behavior typically from guys? It’s not that women don’t have their fair share of assholes. It’s that in our current social behavior it’s the man who usually does the opening move. Due to this, the numeric probability is that you will see more male assholes than female assholes, at least in this specific scenario. It’s not that women don’t do the same, as there are plenty of stories of gals questioning a man’s masculinity as soon as he rejects her.
So how do we keep this from happening, or at the very least lessen the probabilities of this happening? We could start teaching our kids to deal with rejection from a positive perspective. We need to stop teaching how to handle hearing the word ‘No’ in a way that the person doesn’t feel insulted. We need to stop measuring our self-worth based on other people’s approval.