Dealing with Rejection
Nobody enjoys the feeling of rejection. As a struggling screenwriter, you’d think I was accustomed to it. But somehow it feels different than a form letter when a woman you’ve laughed with, who you entertained hopeful thoughts about, suddenly vanishes from your life without explanation. When I first started online dating about three years ago, this happened twice within the first month. Once it was after an admittedly slightly awkward first date and once it was after one good first date and one so so date. Both times, I just kind of never heard from her again.
When you’re dealing with Hollywood, this stuff happens all the time. You submit your script somewhere and they just ignore your follow-up inquiries. That hurts too. But there’s something impersonal about that. With someone of the opposite sex, it’s hard not get paranoid about it. What’d I do wrong? Was there spinach between my teeth? Did she misinterpret something I said? Did she look at me from my “bad angle” that I never like seeing in pictures of me? Crazy stuff, probably way off base, but these kind of thoughts were tough to banish from my mind and they sapped my hope and confidence.
It wasn’t long, though, before I realized that I was rejecting people all the time. A woman would send me a flirt or we’d trade emails and I’d just not respond. And yes, sometimes it was because she misspelled a word I consider mandatory to know. (I am a writer, after all.) Or maybe I just didn’t get that va-va-voom feeling when I looked at her picture. Sometimes, after an okay date or two, I would write the apologetic brush-off email when she didn’t just go away. The more I started to think about how I expected my castoffs to feel, the more I began to understand how I should feel when it happened to me.
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Hey. We all want something that just catches fire for us. It’s not realistic to think that everyone I meet is going to see rainbows and unicorns when they think about me (or want to jump my bones). Just as I’m entitled to wait for the one I want, so are you, and the women who…sniff, rejected me because they didn’t see how freakin’ wonderful I am. Remember that “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry broke up with the woman because she smelled like soup? Soup woman is someone’s soulmate, but not Jerry’s. I’ve come to terms with the fact that the reason, big or small, doesn’t really matter. When a woman pulls the plug on our getting to know each other before I do, I don’t frantically run down a list of imagined (or real) missteps to try to learn from my mistakes, as I did many times that first year or so online. Now I just shrug and turn my attention to whoever else I’m in the process of getting to know, or I start a new search on the spot. No harm, no foul. Just because the terrifying horror movie I wrote is not every executive’s cup of tea doesn’t mean another isn’t going to want to spend years of their life getting it made right. And just because my rapier wit and slightly lopsided smile are not appreciated by every single woman in this town doesn’t mean the right one won’t want to spend the rest of her life bantering with me.
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