The Hidden Plus Side of Rejection

“Letting go of the strain of yearning was a relief, like stretched elastic retracting.”–Tessa Hadley, “Experience,” The New Yorker, January 21, 2013

I have been thinking for the last 24 hours about what a relief–and even a blessing–it can be to be rejected. How liberating really.

You see, I had a crush. A crush that was bothering me. I wondered if I had been clear enough. If I had done all I could to show my interest. Maybe he was a shy guy. Maybe I would have to really put myself out there. Showing my interest felt like a to-do list item to cross off to make him really know that I was interested.

So I chatted him up. I told him, I have a story to tell you. And he acted like he was interested and then he got quickly bored and abruptly latched on to another woman walking by. He acted like I was telling a very boring story and I do not tell boring stories. Ha. What happened was not so important. What was important was the knowledge: this man is not interested. And obviously I/we want the person who is interested.

At first I felt a hot flash of humiliation. What? How could you so abruptly cut off our conversation to talk with another woman? Then I realized, I could stop thinking I need to do something about this crush! He had made it so clear; I could move on. My crush could shrivel up and die leaving space in my brain (and soul) for other crushes to take root. Fantasies about other people, or other places, or other things. I actually felt so cleansed. It was hard to believe but after an hour of feeling dejected I felt light and free.

The hidden plus side of rejection is this impetus for movement. Get out of endless fantasy, collide with reality, and see what happens. Act on the crush, business idea, creative project, travel plan. If you fail, great, you can move on to the next person, thing, crush, place, dream.

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Sasha Cagen is the author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics and To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us. In her coaching practice Sasha helps women all over the world who have been single forever live fully-expressed lives that will naturally attract the best opportunities, friends and romantic partner for them. She also helps readers find tango bliss in Buenos Aires.

Posted in Advice, Dating, My Life
5 comments on “The Hidden Plus Side of Rejection
  1. Michael says:

    Methinks you give the male of the species too much credit. Being a fellow Quirky, I must say trying to tell him your story was a waste of time in one respect, as you learned. He didn’t want a story. He wanted attention, and not very much of that. You did the right thing; this crush was properly crushed. And maybe he’ll feel crushed, but probably not.

    Next time, look for a fellow Quirky.

  2. sasha says:

    Hi Michael, Yes always improving my quirky-dar.

  3. Sara says:

    I really related to this post…just 48 hours ago I did the exact same thing…got purged of my crush. I was fantasizing, crushing, and being a near fanatic over this man all through my own imagination, to the point where I was bursting at the seams. I kept thinking he has to know I like him, how else can I show him I’m into him, maybe he just doesn’t know, because I was so sure once he did he would feel the same way about me. I couldn’t contain it, after two months I finally told him I ad feelings for him and he politely said he didn’t feel the same way. I was crushed for about 2.5 hours and now feel better than I have in the last 2.5 months. I told some friends and they were all struck with pity for me, but I am so relieved I got the sign and closure I needed to purge this crush from my thoughts….now onto the next goal, thought, fantasy, man or whatever else I choose to occupy my thoughts with, I’m just happy to have gotten rid of this one. Thank you for showing me other people have felt this way!



  4. sasha says:

    Yes it is so true Sara, isn’t it? I saw my crush a week later and felt quite liberated that he had gone from crush to purged crush since the answer was so clear. Facing reality can be quite liberating.

  5. Alex says:

    Interesting post, Sasha. It’s a blessing in disguise when it becomes clear that someone is not into you – I think the torture is from when it’s not that apparent, there are mixed messages, or when someone is interested in you as a friend and not something more. Limbo hell, which is where I am now with a crush. But I guess they don’t call it crush for nothing!

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Sasha Cagen in Buenos Aires Sasha Cagen (@sashacagen) is the founder of the quirkyalone movement, a coach for women, writer, and transformative tango teacher living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Read more,

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