My therapist told me that smiling when you encounter someone indicates friendliness. I asked, “How much should I smile throughout the interaction?” and she said, “After that, you can just smile when there’s a reason to smile, like when someone says something funny. I haven’t been smiling throughout our whole appointment.” I learned that she smiles when she’s nervous, so apparently if someone smiles at you, it’s not necessarily a good sign. I think you need to look at other body language signals paired with it to be sure. Maybe someone who’s smiling out of nervousness will look away or cross their arms. Maybe someone who’s smiling cuz they’re happy while talking to you will face you or make more consistent eye contact.
Tag: social skills
Earlier this week, I wrote about how I got rejected on a first date and how I dealt with it. Another tip that I have for coping with rejection is to keep looking for other opportunities. I got back on OkCupid and messaged someone else. Now I have a date with him on Monday. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have a date to look forward to now.
Another example of being persistent after rejection is J.K Rowling. She said that she received “loads of rejections” before Harry Potter was published.
If you keep trying, the odds are good that someone will eventually respond favorably.
Yesterday, I went on a first date with someone I met on OkCupid. He ended the date after only half an hour and said that it was nice meeting me without adding anything else, like that he had a good time.
I spent hours yesterday and today googling things like “reasons you rejected someone,” trying to figure out what I did wrong, but I wasn’t able to find much information. The only thing left is for me to look for ways to cope.
I’m trying to keep in mind that there are people who enjoy my company. For example, I recently ran into a former neighbor, Isaiah, and he invited me to hang out with him at the library, which we’re doing tomorrow.
Since rejection makes me feel helpless, cuz it’s outside of my control, I’m doing something that I can control by posting on my blog. This is also helping me cope.
Using empathy when someone says no to us can help us can ease the pain of feeling rejected (Rosenberg 121).
My friend Kellie recently moved to another state. We were planning to meet for dinner before she moved as a farewell. On the same day we were gonna meet, she cancelled without offering to reschedule, and at first, I assumed that meant that she didn’t wanna be friends anymore. My first instinct was to disengage, but then I remembered what I read about empathy. I said that I hoped she was okay, and I asked her if she was feeling pressured by all of the things she needed to get done before she moved. I said that I was afraid she didn’t wanna be friends anymore. She said that she was dealing with family issues and wanted to video chat after she moved. I’m glad that, instead of just not reaching out to her anymore, I expressed concern for her wellbeing, opened up about my anxiety, and tried to understand how she was feeling. If I had stuck to my initial instinct and assumption, I could’ve lost a friendship.
I asked my mommy if I could stay with her while I look for a place cuz my current living environment is difficult. She turned down my request, and I was really hurt. I thought that she must not care that I’m having a hard time. I felt like disengaging from that relationship, too. Again, I remembered what I read about empathy, and tried to find out more about what was going through her mind. She told me that she has become very introverted and needs alone time in order to process the information in her mind. She also worries about doing something wrong when she’s around people, which contributes to social situations draining a lot of her energy. I was better able to understand that turning down my request wasn’t about not caring about me, but about her needs. I think that empathy saved my relationship with her, too.
I’m sharing my stories to illustrate Rosenberg’s principle, and in case they help someone else who could be having difficulties with their relationships. My experience has taught me that empathy has a healing effect on relationships.
Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication. PuddleDancer Press, 2015. Print.
The writer of a letter to an advice column, who kept persisting when women responded ambiguously to their romantic overtures, was told to take ambiguous answers in the future as a no (Captain Awkward). This is an important social skill cuz some people are uncomfortable with rejecting someone directly. While it’s okay to prefer a different type of communication, it’s still important to respect their boundaries. Taking an unenthusiastic response as a no will also protect you cuz it’ll prevent wasting your energy on someone who isn’t interested. It’s a win win!
Here are some examples of enthusiastic responses to look for:
- “That sounds fun!”
- “I’d love to.”
I made similar mistakes when I was younger. For example, when I was in high school, I asked someone out from the running team. He said, “I don’t want to date during running season.” I waited until the season for practice ended and then asked him out again, and he got upset. I’m more cautious now. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve just let go, partly so that he wouldn’t get upset, and partly cuz it’s better to hold out for someone who’ll wanna make time for me even if they have a busy schedule. I recently reconnected with two old friends, and the warm responses I got when I asked them about getting together or scheduling an im session felt so much better than the lukewarm response from my long ago crush. Holding out for people who show enthusiasm about you is worth it!
“#1009: Persistence is grossly overrated in dating and romance.” Captain Awkward. 14 Aug. 2017. Web. 3 Sept. 2017.
I had a horrible day today. When I was at the bus plaza, I was so upset that I started pacing inside. My emotions were running so wild that I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I accidentally walked really close to a mother with her two small children. We did an awkward dance around each other and the mother said, “Fuck, lady.” Although I’ve talked about learning conflict resolution skills, I admit I faltered and didn’t react well. She followed me across the street to keep yelling at me. Security guards at the plaza tried to placate her while I made an escape.
I’ve been thinking more about that encounter. I thought at first that she was just a giant asshole, but I see now that I did, although unintentionally, invade her and her children’s personal space. She didn’t know what was going on in my mind, so she may have thought I did it on purpose to antagonize them.
This incident reminds me of another time I paced while upset in (sort of) public. I was in an assisted living facility at the time, and I was pacing up and down the hallway. Someone thought I was on my way to his room and yelled at me, accusing me of trying to break in. I thought at first he was just a giant asshole, too, but looking back, maybe I didn’t realize how close to his room I had gotten, and it really did make it look like I was trying to break in.
I wish that people wouldn’t keep making negative assumptions about my intentions. It’s really hurtful. However, at least in part, I can kinda see how these two people might’ve taken me as a threat due to my lack of attention during emotionally charged pacing.
I think that two incidents is the beginning of a pattern. Pacing while upset in public seems to cause trouble for me. I wanna break this pattern. From now on, if I get upset while I’m around other people, I’ll sit or stay in one place until I can calm myself down. I’m not sure yet how to get myself to calm down. I’ll talk to my therapist about that tomorrow and share what I’ve learned here later.
Edited on 8/15/17 to add: my mommy just suggested, “Maybe you could pace somewhere people would expect it, like at a park.” I’m willing to try it, but I’ll still be careful to do things like look ahead instead of at the ground so that I don’t disturb anyone. There’s a beautiful park downtown with lots of birdies that I like. If I feel the need to pace when I’m upset again, I’ll go there to walk my feelings off.
In the past, when I didn’t like how someone was treating me, I often responded by lashing out, such as by calling the person an asshole. In this post, I talk about what I learned about dealing with conflict recently from a book I read.
From now on, I’ll be kind to people regardless of whether they’re kind or unkind to me. I used to have a spiteful side, but now, I think differently.
If someone is unkind to me, and I’m unkind back, they’ll retaliate to my retaliation and it’ll keep going in an endless cycle. If someone is unkind to me, and I’m kind to them, my actions can likely deescalate the conflict. Also, the person may be inspired to be more kind in the future.
Here are some of the goals I’ve set for being kinder when I’m angry:
- Don’t call the person a name.
- Keep the tone and volume of my voice calm.
- If the person is acting out cuz of an unmet need, and if I feel up to it, I can try to negotiate with them to meet their need.
- If I don’t feel up to engaging, I can remove myself from the situation.
I feel happier and healthier now that I’ve changed the way I react to conflicts. I hope to contribute to making a world a more peaceful place with my new mindset and actions.