Coping With Rejection When Things Didn't Go As Planned On The First Date For Indians

Pexels Gabby K
Pexels Gabby K

The best you can do before you can express your feelings to another person, or before the excitement of infatuation engulfs you is to prepare yourself for disappointment and rejection.

Let’s not kid ourselves (unless you’re literally a kid, in which case – what are you even doing here?) into believing that all our imaginations turn into reality or that people like you back in the same way as you’d prefer.

In most cases, the incompatibilities are obvious or the path to mutual likeness takes multiple failures.

Even if you follow what I have mentioned in previous posts, and do everything right (it’s not a thing but let’s assume for a second), things may not work out because it takes two to tango.

And while you’re the individual in this case who has the grace and humility to take all of the disappointment in good spirit, they might not just have the mind to appreciate you.

Or they just do not see you as their person. And that’s okay.

In fact, this last post from our relationship wellness series is all about that: being okay, with rejection or otherwise.

Think you’re in a business school.

You learn about product development, leadership, and effective communication.

At some point, you’re supposed to sell your idea to a potential customer.

You know your product works. You’re also convinced of your ability to sell it. You go door to door. Within the first five sales calls, your potential customers bring you back to reality.

They burst your bubble by letting you know that even if everything in your sales pitch is in your favor, it doesn’t make people want to want it.

Well, dating is not much different than a sales pitch, except here you’re the product (pardon the objectification) and you’ve to sell yourself.

When you try to sell yourself, some traits are obviously helpful. We’ve discussed them before.

Being confident is great. Being honest is essential because one needs to form trust and authenticity does build trust like nothing else. Being kind, and communicative is important too.

Let’s discuss some approaches that help you better prepare for the calamities that affect us when things don’t work out.

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The way to cope with rejection is to expect it as default. Things go wrong more than they go right. Factors such as compatibility, timings, bandwidth, personal preferences, etc allow very few connections to succeed. Look for signs without losing objectivity. Look for lack of involvement, indifference, and abuse as alarming hints as to why it might not work out. Forgive them when it doesn’t work out, and tread lightly with grace and humility.

Rejection is not a commentary on your self-worth but even if the end does get bitter, learn to forgive yourself and let them go. Set yourself up for success but prepare yourself for failure. Self-harm won’t help anything. Instead, focus on your mental and emotional well-being. Try to be a better version of yourself for the relationships yet to become.

Focus On The Big Picture

When nothing makes sense, and life daunts you, remember to take a step back and breathe. As long as you remember this mantra, you’ll eventually find the maturity to let go not because you’re helpless. But because it’s the best thing to do in the long term.

It’s rather easy to be disheartened by your failures (in relationships or otherwise) when you’re so zoomed in on the event that crushed your momentum that you cannot just pull yourself away from the agony of it all.

The misery becomes its own addiction.

The pain becomes its own purpose.

Folding down and marinating within you, making you believe that if it happened to you, you must deserve it.

That’s probably why people in abusive relationships find it harder to break up.

Tell you what, you don’t deserve it.

You just think you do (your mind justifying that something must be sacrificed in order to attain meaning/purpose) I must also iterate that it’s not easy to take a step back.

In fact, I don’t think most people could.

That’s why this must be understood before the demons of childhood are unleashed onto your relationships making it too difficult for you to focus on the big picture.

When things don’t work out even after you’ve been as honest, sincere, accepting, and communicative as you could, let yourself take solace in the fact that no matter how bad it feels in that moment, it’s for the better.

This reminds me of a quote from the Iranian film ‘About Elly’ by Asghar Farhadi: A bitter ending is better than endless bitterness.

While all that pep talk is nice, you must be wondering what a dork of a person this post’s writer is.

Pointing at self-help cliches that are as good as one saying ‘Smoking is injurious to health’

You all know that it needs to be good in the long run but who tells you when the end has arrived?

Endings are ambiguous and unalarming, aren’t they? Yes, until you look for signs.

But before that here’s a little rap for you.

Life is one big party when you’re still young

But who’s gonna have your back when it’s all done (yeah)

It’s all good when you’re little, you have pure fun

Can’t be a fool, son, what about the long run?


The Opposite Of Love Isn’t Hate, It’s Indifference

Suppose you’re talking to a person you’re obviously attracted to (because you’ve started confusing oxytocin and vasopressin in your brain as butterflies in your stomach) in which case your feeling of attachment are increasing and there’s a high chance you’re anxious to make it real.

Let’s say you get a message.

A spark in the brain makes you want to reply promptly (and you do) but the readiness of the response from the other side is not that apparent.

Maybe you get a response after six hours, maybe after six days, or maybe not at all.

What does one do in that case?

Well, nothing, you wait. And you see if the other is as involved as you or not.

No one is suggesting that if they’re a lousy texter (or preoccupied with another task), you see that as their disinterest and block them.

But you also don’t want to feel like you’re the only one interested while your own patience takes you for a ride.

If their level of involvement in your life is actually low, it will reflect in all ways of your communication with them, not just texts.

The single most common sign (also the least obvious) that love doesn’t exist is when either of the two people stops engaging.

“Love” here isn’t necessarily romantic love. It’s anything that requires nurturing, care, and active involvement. I wish all the readers to look for signs of indifference from their potential partners or crushes before investing themselves completely.

Nothing In Life Happens Only Once

Let me narrate an instance to you from my own personal life.

Years ago, I was dating someone who had the habit of getting upset every time I went out along with my other friends.

They would get so upset they would get physically aggressive with things around them.

Tossing things here and there, even breaking things.

Whenever I took a step back and called it quits, they would burst into tears claiming,” I will never do it again, I am sorry.” You can guess the rest.

It happened again, and again, a gazillion times before we found the courage to part ways.

There are two major patterns here.

One of my own convictions is that I couldn’t handle their aggression again.

The other of their conviction that every incidence was a one-off.

Neither was true.

To manage our expectations better, and to prevent ourselves from heartache (which feels different from heartburn) we must agree on a common personality trait that holds true for all human beings: nothing happens only once.

We’re all bound by our past patterns.

And no matter how much we think we can change ourselves overnight, we never actually do. But why am I telling you that?

So we can learn to be more accepting of people’s imperfections without being hopelessly optimistic.

The kind of optimism that involves lying to oneself that people are somehow different from what they are is a recipe for betrayal.

Except, for people who are naive enough to believe that are themselves to blame.

So if you see things like indifference, lack of trust, apparent violence, or disrespect from your partner - know that those things are probably going to happen again.

That being so, more often than not, we’re using hurt as a means for retaliation when we ourselves are hurt. That’s how it works.

Remember the saying “Hurt people, hurt people”

In those situations, I’d like for you to tread carefully.

Embrace rejection with grace, maturity, and humility.

Next are some guidelines on what to do in situations when it’s so hard to stop yourself from hurting other people.

Recommended Read: Managing Expectations In Your Dating Journey

The Text That Reads “It’s over!”

If you’re looking for love on social media, or if you’re using matchmaking apps as your medium, you’ve probably experienced ghosting.

Ghosting is when someone stands you up.

You should know (in case you’re still confused) that the texts that were never responded to read out loud I’m done, it’s over!”

In some better cases, the opposite person is considerate enough to let you know that it’s over.

In most cases from my experience, there’s just a mutual understanding that we may or may not continue as friends, we are never going to become “THAT” in the case being what the other so desperately desires.

That path may lead to whatever, but they’re never going to be aligned.

Whether you’re ghosted or blatantly rejected or cunningly shown the sidelines, it’s important to take it with maturity and grace.

I would suggest you lash out and lose control if it ever helped. If anything, you’re just further going to embarrass yourself and push them further away.

Try not to take the rejection personally as someone else’s preference in dating may not be a commentary on your worth as an individual.

If they’re one of those people who were sincere enough to tell you what (went wrong) and why (not you), learn to appreciate their honesty and show them gratitude for the vulnerability they showed you.

Be respectful and wish them only the best in their journey to finding a suitable partner.

I have seen the tables turn once someone is able to let go without holding grudges.

It’s true that how you handle your lows defines your character.

If you maintain grace in the face of rejection and disappointment, you would have your character positively outshine most personalities and that just might give them a chance to reconsider their decisions.

Let’s say that you were all accepting, mature, and respectful during a rejection. Or maybe you’re just too much of an introvert to even lash out.

But if your defense mechanism is to question everything about yourself based on a bad date, you might just be in for another sort of trouble.

Don’t Shoot The Messenger

When things don’t go the way you expect them to, especially post a heartbreak, a lot starts happening in your body.

Your thoughts are all over. They’re judging every moment that shifted things in your favor.

Those thoughts release specific stress hormones like cortisol that further put you in the self-doubt space.

In an hour or two, things start feeling off.

Your heart races as if it’s a medical emergency and your stomach starts growling, probably because of the acid over-production.

Over the next few days, you either lose sleep or eat too much because certain parts of your brain are already in survival mode.

The emergency has been declared and lethargy kicks in.

Your mind doesn’t like to be awake during a crisis, so it finds ways to shut it down.

You will either want to sleep more or introduce numbing chemicals that shut it off passively.

If you were to go through these stages, congratulations you will have shot the messenger.

Ok, it may not be that serious.

But regardless of how strong your exteriors seem, your self-esteem does take a hit. The self-doubt is real.

And when it’s happening to us, how does one not take it personally?

When something is subjective to you, it cannot be expected you see things objectively.

When we say don’t shoot the messenger, what we mean is to not avoid the obvious signs your body gives you when it feels rejected.

Your brain, your nervous system, and your entire physical body are tied together.

When one part of it sees a threat, it doesn’t take long for other parts to coordinate and react accordingly.

So if your excuse is that you can just emergency land one part of your brain (by engaging in self-doubt), without your entire body taking a toll, you’re not yet familiar with one important life principle.

Nothing in this world exists alone.

Yes, every instance of self-doubt is a case for self-harm.

Every thought has a consequence, and every feeling manifests itself in real life.

Instead of hyper-focusing on how you feel, focus on how to be better prepared for such disasters.

Focus on your defining traits, both positive and negative.

Focus on your strengths, and also your weaknesses.

See if you can be more detached from the reason, and more involved in the process of understanding yourself better.

Cultivating a sense of neutrality in extreme emotions normalizes the brain and makes it come outside of emergency mode.

The pulse and the hormones will slowly return to normal and you’ll find yourself seeing your own sense of tragedy objectively.

And when you’re able to do that, you’ll find that you’re an imperfect person full of faults.

Is There Something Wrong With Me?

Without offending anyone here, I must answer the above question as honestly as I can.


Not just something, but quite a lot is wrong with you.

There’s a lot wrong with everyone.

And that’s okay because no one is all right either.

This post will become a lot easier if I were to claim that rejection is a natural consequence of the dating process and that doesn’t mean that there’s something inherently wrong with you.

Except, we’re not going to give you that fake consolation.

Because the truth is, there’s a lot wrong with you and you must contemplate the end of this post.

Before we talk about what you can do to stand out better, the bigger, more important thing to consider when dealing with self-doubt is that other factors for wrongness cause more rejections.

Factors such as compatibility, timings, bandwidth, personal preferences, and other things that were decided for us that we call personal preferences but are just our past decisions on our behalf.

Things like communication patterns, attachment styles, and even the kind of eyes that we’re unconsciously attracted to can just be the result of our past patterns or traumas.

Now if you’re any like I used to be, you’re probably deluded into believing that everything can be controlled and changed.

I can only wish you the best of luck trying to control how people feel for you.

The only problem is that you’re helpless in the face of such factors. But there may be something you can absolutely do something about.

I think you know where I am heading with this.

Yes, I’m headed to you.

Without even knowing you personally, I can tell that you’re far from perfect.

Not only that, you’re also probably blind to your inadequacies. Sorry to have burst your bubble.

Let’s introspect a little.

Are you the most patient person you know? Or are you the fittest? Are you the best listener or are you the most compassionate?

We know you’re not.

So instead of marinating in your last rejection, why don’t you brew a little more self-worth by getting better?

Maybe you want to start hitting the gym so you’re more resilient.

or how about trying to meditate to calm some of that anxiety down?

No matter who you are you can always do something to be a better version of yourself.

We might not have control over someone else, we might want to exercise control over our own physical, mental, or emotional wellbeing.

And trust me, when you get to it, you’ll see why even that’s almost next to impossible.

So no brownie points for guessing that if changing our own selves is so hard, where do we even begin gloating over someone’s feelings for us?

Well, we cannot.

Instead, reflect on the lessons learned during each rejection, try to find the source of the problem within us, recognize the old dark patterns, and hope to use them as opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

That’s all the control you can possibly have.

Let’s accept that one final time and move on.

Stop Playing The Waiting Game

People often wonder, “For how long should I wait until I go on the second date?”

No one enjoys playing the waiting game.

Patience doesn’t come that easy.

If your confidence took a toll, or if you’re just not feeling motivated, waiting can be even harder.

I can only advise you to stop playing the game.

Take time to reflect on how you’re feeling and move only when you feel ready for a genuine connection.

Let yourself loose, and focus on your hobbies.

Start fulfilling your curiosities and interests even when you don’t have someone to share intimate moments with.

Being okay by yourself is more attractive than you think.

And if not, dial up your friends and family and ask for their support.

Life must go on, with or without an intimate relationship. This is not to say that you’ve to close yourself to the prospects. It just means you’re just not actively seeking anything.

We’ve already established that way before we meet them, people are already messed up from their conditioning, and it’s extremely hard to change them.

We are helpless as far as someone’s feelings for us are concerned, but that doesn’t have to mean we give up on the idea of a relationship altogether.

It’s not that all the people in love or in a relationship are just miserable and compromised.

It’s more likely they have found their imperfections fit nicely with someone who complements them. Like pieces in a puzzle.

“Like Pieces In A Puzzle”

So let’s say you’ve been on a couple of dates and have been rejected every time.

You feel like giving up and don’t want to put yourself in that daunting position again.

You have attached yourself too highly to the outcome.

The fear of failure makes you want to not even try.

You don’t think it’s worth it to put yourself on the line all the time.

The studs disagree.

Have you noticed these ultra-confident folks who go out all guns blazing, get rejected, and still have the vigor to go back again? The studs, we call them. Remember the salesman example we shared at the beginning of this post?

If you’re selling an idea, you have to be first convinced that what you’re selling works.

Then you have to convince other people to believe in the product too.

You have to be willing to take the feedback as well.

After a lot of trying, you eventually sell your product to the person because they find your story convincing.

Now imagine, you were rejected by the first person you went to and they shunned you.

If you then just go back, never to sell again, whose loss would it be? Yours.

So how would relationships be any different?

Similarly, with your failure of rejection mindset, you’re not going to find the right person either.

You will have to learn to shift your mindset from viewing rejection as a personal failure to seeing it as a necessary step in the process of finding the person that’s right for you.

You’ll have to normalize being rejected because simply, there’s no other way.

In the times when arranged relationships were normal, one didn’t have to put in that kind of effort.

That also meant one didn’t have much say in the matter. For better or worse, in today’s world, you get to choose your partner and that does take some individual effort.

All you have to do is get out there and find that person whose imperfections, attachment styles, personality type, and value system are compatible with yours.

You have to be willing to put yourself on the line (not in a life or death way) to be rejected, so you can know what you lack as a potential partner, and what other people desire.

You can also take the help of matchmaking apps like Dahlia that help you filter profiles on the basis of your personality.

Apart from that, you can also go to events where you meet like-minded people, where even if you’re rejected, the chances of you finding a suitable mate increase.

Parting Words

Alright, folks, that was it for the matchmaking guide series. I hope these words offered a mix of healing and reality punches that you needed.

I wish that regardless of how arduous the journey to finding a partner may seem, you carry without giving up on the idea of love. I wish you give people a chance to share a life with you and learn that vulnerability can be a superpower. I also wish that you learn to forgive yourself and others if and when things don’t work out. I wish that even if after all the tries you decide to not be in an intimate relationship, you don’t become bitter and closed.

And I lastly wish you cherish this guide and explore the topics – from choosing the best dating app to managing anxiety in dating, to do’s and do nots of chatting, to handling rejection in the way you see befitting your life. May you, dear reader, explore the magic we call love. Take care

Recommended Reading: The A-Z guide to dating on dating apps for Indians

Author's bio

Anurag is a filmmaker turned farmer turned entrepreneur. Originally from Faridabad, Haryana, he loves to read and write on the subjects of relationships, free will, faith, and similar 'delusions' that collectively make us human.
Having written and directed several films before, and then working with farmers in revolutionizing their supply chain, Anurag has now landed on his latest venture called Dahlia, a new-age matchmaking app that uses games to foster purposeful intimacy. His deep knowledge of human relationships coupled with scientific research has helped hundreds of individuals navigate the landscape of modern romance with authenticity and confidence.

Author's bio

Anurag is a filmmaker turned farmer turned entrepreneur. Originally from Faridabad, Haryana, he loves to read and write on the subjects of relationships, free will, faith, and similar 'delusions' that collectively make us human.
Having written and directed several films before, and then working with farmers in revolutionizing their supply chain, Anurag has now landed on his latest venture called Dahlia, a new-age matchmaking app that uses games to foster purposeful intimacy. His deep knowledge of human relationships coupled with scientific research has helped hundreds of individuals navigate the landscape of modern romance with authenticity and confidence.

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati
Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati

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