Yesterday I went out with a guy I mentor, and he asked to watch me do some direct daytime approaches.
"Sure, no problem," I told him.
I scouted around for a while, and saw a really cute girl walking along, wearing a blue blouse and big sunglasses, apparently looking for a taxi, her cell phone in hand. Usually I don't go for women who are visibly occupied like that -- taxi-searching and texting / calling, as her headspace is going to be elsewhere -- but I wasn't seeing all that many cute girls around solo, so up I went.
"I saw you walking here, and I had to come tell you," I began -- and she put her hand up and waved me off. "...that you're incredibly cute. I'm Chase," I finished. She waved me off again. I walked next to her, matching her stride.
"What's your name, then?" I asked, sticking my hand in her direction. She smiled, turned her head away, and waved me off again.
"I'm sure you've got to be called something," I said. "Your friends don't just call you this [I demonstrated waving], right?" She cracked a bigger smile, laughed, and kept walking.
"There, that's more like it!" I said. "All right, we're making some progress. Smiling, laughing -- now we just need some actual 2-way communication going on." Again, she waved me off, smiling.
"If you keep up like that, we're going to end up back at square one again!" I told her. She continued smiling, and turned her head away again. Now she was crossing the street, still looking for a taxi, her phone still in-hand. I let her go. "Well, it was nice getting to know you!" I called after her.
My friend and mentee later asked me a good question off of this. His question was: "How do you deal with rejection like that?"
The answer has a few parts, but it's a little more straightforward than you might think.
The Agony of Rejection
This is one of the most important points I stress with newer guys, because I realized the mentality in myself a few years back -- and then I noticed it in everyone else.
Why's it hurt when a girl rejects you? Ever ask yourself?
There's a fascinating term called metacognition. It is, roughly, thinking about thinking. When you sit and ask yourself, "Wait, why am I thinking this? Why do I feel this way?" you're thinking metacognitively.
Wikipedia defines metacognition thusly:
Metacognition variously refers to the study of memory-monitoring and self-regulation, meta-reasoning, consciousness/awareness and auto-consciousness/self-awareness. In practice these capacities are used to regulate one's own cognition, to maximize one's potential to think, learn and to the evaluation of proper ethical/moral rules.
In other words, when you employ metacognition, you're becoming self-aware.
When you turn the magnifying glass inward while you're feeling rejected, you'll notice fairly quickly why rejection stings: it's because you feel like this girl is saying you're not wanted. It's because she seems to be rejecting you.
You've been deemed "not good enough." And that cuts to the very core of our egos and self-esteem.
I realized this fully while going through a bad breakup with an ex-girlfriend. As I analyzed the breakdown of the relationship, I realized that she'd ended up feeling, by my own mistakes and actions, as if she "wasn't good enough" for me... as if I'd been saying that she was good, but I thought I could do better. And I realized this is one of the deepest, most soul-wrenching feelings a person can have; to feel that someone -- especially someone who knows her well -- has rejected her as unworthy at a very primal level.
I got back together again for a time with that ex-girlfriend, for various reasons, but one of the primary ones being to go through a healing period; I wanted us to end on good terms, and I wanted her to understand it wasn't that she wasn't good enough for me.
As I came to comprehend how viscerally she'd felt, it also opened my eyes about rejection in general. And I realized how the rejection men feel when women turn them down is a lesser form of the bad-breakup-rejection feeling: they feel like they've been found insufficient.
That's why you see so many men get hurt and angry upon rejection. That's why men in Bangladesh throw acid on the faces of women who've rejected them; that's why men in some parts of Africa forcibly kidnap and rape women who turn them down as husbands. It feels insulting at a level that goes beyond almost anything else a person can experience.
But the thing is -- that anger and insult is terribly misguided. Because it isn't you that a woman's rejecting -- it's your approach to her, your presentation of yourself, how you come across in that split second when she's first assessing you.
It's not you. It's your game.
It's Not You -- It's Your "Game"
Ever have an off-day where everything you do goes to hell?
And ever have an on-day where you've got the Midas touch -- where everything you come into contact with turns into gold?
The same things happens with "game" -- with your approach and success with women.
I like to use the example that you can go out and meet a girl on an off-day and she won't want to talk to you at all, but you could go out another day when everything's going your way and you're feeling great and meet the same girl and she'll be all over you. The point of that example is, you're the same, and she's the same, but her reactions are worlds apart, simply because you are feeling and acting differently.
This is a pretty empowering thing to understand once you've got it.
When a woman is rejecting you, she typically isn't rejecting "you." She doesn't know anything about you: your qualities, your history, your likes, your dislikes, how compatible you'd be for her or how compatible she'd be for you. It may be the fact that you would've been the most amazing man of her entire life -- and she dismissed you outright and missed out on the best thing she ever could've had.
But that doesn't mean you ought to be angry with her for it. Nor does it mean you ought to feel ashamed for going up to talk to her. It just means you didn't come off the right way.
What happens when you fail to strike the right tone with a girl? Any of the following can happen:
- She dismisses you reflexively on "autopilot," without thinking.
- She feels pressured and tries to run away.
- She feels annoyed or challenged and pushes back.
- She feels frightened or startled.
- She feels nervous or like you are "too much" for her.
Nowhere in there does she take time to get to know you or consider you or find out if the two of you are a good match. She has no idea if you are or not. She's responding at an instinctual level to a gut-feeling; it's a knee-jerk reaction, and a self-reinforcing one -- once a woman's felt herself react a certain way, she tends to stick to it.
This is why pre-opening tends to be so effective; it eases women into responding to you warmly first, before anything else happens. And when you jump into the interaction, she's going to stick to that early reaction and be warm with you.
Even when we're not talking opening -- even later in an interaction, with a girl who, say, tells you she just wants to be friends -- again this is about gut-level feelings. The guy who gets told a girl just wants him as a friend failed to strike the right emotional, instinctual feelings an attractive guy strikes, and the girl pushed back.
And that's what it's really all about. But now that you have an understanding of your own feelings and girls' feelings during a rejection, how do you use that understanding to deal with the situation a girl rejecting you?
In fact, there are a few mindsets -- and a few actions -- that are going to take you a long way in dealing with it better and bouncing back after the fact.
How to Act When a Girl Rejects You
A quick list of the key ways to improve your "resilience" -- the ability you have to bounce back from a rejection or a crash-and-burn with a cute girl:
- Understanding everything is a skill and you need to work on that kind of opening
- Understanding that what works for one type of girl in one situation won't always work for others
- Understanding that dating is a numbers game and you're going to have to collect some "no"s (sometimes a lot of "no"s!) before you start getting "yes"es
I'll go through each of those in a little more detail.
Everything is a skill. I've known guys who were amazing at opening, but couldn't get a girl in bed to save their lives. And I've known guys who were stellar closers, but couldn't open for jack.
Personally, I'm somewhere in the middle, admittedly more on the closer side of things -- opening I do all right, especially with certain kinds of women, but I'm a rather polarizing guy and I come off very strongly, which makes lots of girls feel a little nervous or intimidated around me initially without a nicer or more friendly wingman to take the edge off first, or if I don't properly pre-open. But once I'm in, things tend to go consistently very well.
If women aren't opening, that means that's a skill you need to work on. You could be a movie-star-good-looking, Rhodes-scholarship-having, catch-of-the-century Mr. Right type of man, but if you haven't developed the skill to open you'll find yourself continually frustrated and floundering while approaching. Women don't open with any degree of consistency to men who haven't built up that skill.
Further, it's situational, too. Most guys I know who do great in nightclubs struggle with daytime. Most guys I know who do great in daytime struggle in nightclubs. And guys who are great in-person can be atrocious online, and vice versa. Often it's just little tweaks they need to make to their approach if they're already pretty successful somewhere else; there's a moderately painful learning / adjustment curve as they acclimate to new opening conditions, but they quickly adapt and self-correct.
And that brings us to our second point: what works for some girls in some situations won't always work for others.
If you go direct on a very beautiful, confident girl, and you come on strong and powerfully, she may be flattered and excited to meet you. If you do the same thing to a girl who's only somewhat cute and not accustomed to that kind of attention, however, she may very well buckle under the pressure and bow out of the interaction early on.
Similarly, if you try to play down your interest in a gorgeous girl when she clearly knows what's up, she'll think less of you, and if you are overly loud in a quiet area or too quiet in a loud area, there'll be a disconnect.
When you find yourself opening well in some situations and not well in others, you need to make "tweaks": you need to find the situational differences and calibrate for them in your approach.
The final piece of the puzzle is understanding that meeting girls really is quite often a numbers game. As you get comfortable in a certain environment and good at picking up signals, you tend to get better at picking out which girls are looking for what you have to offer and meeting them.
Regardless where you are in your development though, it never stops being a numbers game.
Even as your close rate goes up, you still need different women in play to have consistent success. Even as your base attraction increases, you still need to meet a number of women to find the ones who are most attracted to you, and most open to your advances. Some types of women are going to be low percentage opportunities; they just aren't likely to convert into anything substantial.
The thing about a numbers game is... you need to put up numbers to see success. If you go out and meet four or five women, it's likely that may not turn into much unless you're opening highly targeted girls. But if you go out and meet fifteen, twenty, twenty-five women or more, chances are you're going to meet one or two girls things go well with.
For me, back when I was frequently doing outings where I'd meet lots of girls, I found my rough hit rate to be about 1 out of 12. 1 out of every 12 girls I'd meet would really, really like me and be open for just about anything. That meant that on an average night, I'd have to talk to between 10 and 15 girls to find one I could move things forward with reliably.
Understanding that changes things.
It changes the way you look at opening, and the way you handle rejection. It allows you to go a long way toward beating approach anxiety, and it makes going out to meet girls a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.
Because it's supposed to be fun. You know, lately, I've had a lot of people say this to me:
"Life is serious."
and I keep looking back at them and saying, "No. Trust me, life is not serious. I spent most of my life believing it was serious, but nowadays... we only get a handful of trips around the sun. I don't know about you, but I'm going to focus on doing the things I want to do while I'm here."
So if you've been letting a few girls waving you off stop you from meeting the girls who'll positively jump at meeting you... knock it off. Life's short. Get out there, pay the women who don't want you no mind, and keep saying "hi" to girls until you find one who likes you as much as you like her.
Oh, and as for how to act technically when a girl rejects you?
Shrug. Laugh. Pretend to cry. Smack a mildly amused grin on your face and shrug your eyebrows, as if to say, "Does this girl really understand what she just missed out on?" (my personal favorite). Then go get back on the saddle and meet some more girls.
Basically, just poke a little fun at the situation and then soldier on; because, remember... life's supposed to be fun. Let the dismissive people go dismiss each other, and go find the cool girls who want to get to know you.