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Man Law #71 – Embrace Rejection!

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(Editorial Note: Check out this CNN article of rejection letters received by famous artist and musicians: “From Warhol to Hendrix to boy in love, Rejection Letters Revealed“)

These two words might be the most powerful two words in the entire blog. In my life, I’ve been very fortunate.

This picture has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with rejection, but for the guys out there who are going through one, it should make you feel better. Picture taken from the movie "Bitch Slap". No comment.

I’ve been rejected. A Lot.

Not just by women. Dogs. Cats. Even some trees.

Now, I’m not talking about the face slaps or the ice-in-your-face that you see in the movies type rejection.  I’ve never seen that happen (but if this has happened to you, please send in your story to ethanbishop@unbreakablemanlaws.com). The type of rejection I’m speaking of is the one where you’ve wanted a situation to turn out one way and it turned out different; WAY different.

Earlier in the blog, I posted Man Law #6 which stated that flowers were the kiss of death early on in the courtship. I still believe that. This law wasn’t born out of thin air. While many women agreed that you shouldn’t send flowers too early, other women, particularly European women (i.e. born in Europe) disagreed.  To the American women who stated they liked flowers, I THEN asked them “How many times have you actually gotten serious with a guy who gave you flowers prior to any romantic involvement?”


::more crickets::

Now, here is the story that led to this Law. Realize that this was not one singular event but this was the culmination where I realized that all the Shakespeare, all the Dawsons Creek, all the Wonder Years, had lied to me. Flowers – Just Don’t Do It.

Almost five years ago, I took a weekend trip up to New York to visit a childhood friend of mine I had reconnected with through Facebook. She was now attending Law School and we had decided

This just about sums it up.

to go to one of those “exclusive” Law School parties with students from Columbia and NYU.  There were a ton of beautiful people there and one in particular was a young Dominican girl from Brooklyn.  Now Lawyers and potential Lawyers are dangerous to begin with, but cute, attractive ones are downright deadly.  One thing led to another, by Monday I was home and by that Wednesday, she was my girlfriend.

Pamela Anderson once said “Don’t Get Married on Vacation” and I had done just that.  Needless to say, we parted on good terms, stayed in touch but I still had a thing or two for her. While we were still talking to each other, I ordered flowers through FTD.com to be delivered to her on Valentine’s Day (Also known by the term S.P.A.D, Single People Awareness Day.)  There are hundreds of women that are shaking their heads while they read this because flowers on Valentine’s Day is quite possibly the worst, I repeat, the WORST, thing you can do with someone you are not exclusive with.  Looking back, I really don’t have a clue what I was thinking since I wasn’t going to move to New York and she wasn’t going to drop out of Law School.  But no one was there to tell me otherwise, and what followed is what they don’t show you in the movies.

I won’t get into details of the page long letter she sent me, but what I can tell you is that we have not spoken a WORD since.

Luckily, at that time of my life I had some experience with rejection and I stepped back, recalibrated and got back on my feet again. It took about a week. But there’s been times where it took close to a year before I really felt normal again. In Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, there is a pretty powerful scene where the father says to Bruce:

“Why do we fall down Bruce?”

“So we learn how to pick ourselves back up.”

And this is even more true with relationships. Getting rejected or hearing the lets just be friends hurts us all but don’t try to conquer it because its going to happen no matter what. The reason why I called this “Embrace Rejection” is because you have to accept that this will happen no matter what and timing and circumstances might be going AGAINST you and have nothing to do with who you are. There are so many reasons why someone might not be on the same page as you are that its pointless to analyze these. If you find yourself constantly rationalizing someones behavior to the positive, chances are you need to pick up your stuff, say “NEXT”, and move on. Don’t let Rejection get the best of you. Step back, Brush the dust off. And learn to get back up. Each time is quicker, faster, and you grow stronger.

Man Law #71 is a condition precedent to Man Law #72 for you 1Ls. Look for it next week!

  1. January 30, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Great post
    Rejection can hurt but failing to learn from it hurts even more

    • January 31, 2010 at 8:37 am

      Thanks for the comment Hangerbaby. Checked out your blog, pretty funny and needs to come with a “Parental Discretion Advised”.

  2. DJ Long
    January 31, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Rejection can also be viewed or learned from in teh otehr person’s eyes, if you happen to be the rejector. I’ve had plenty of rejection and I mean plenty. Most of it I just shrug off and keep pressing like a good soldier in the fight to find a good mate. Granted there have been times were I was left mystified by why I was rejected and the other party didn’t provide a letter, email, in person explanation or even a text (I’d haev appreciated a singing telegram putting me down, at least it would be inventive and interesting). But about a year ago I started to see a girl I met through a mutual female friend (with whom I had been physical and whose sister I had once been involved with – they were all friends and probably brings into play many issues a shrink would have a field day with. But for another day or over beer). We were cool and I did enjoy hanging out, but I was not really looking for anything serious and had alluded to this a number of times. but then during a weekend road trip, my stance was made solid and firm and silent tears were shed by her for about 2 hours of the 10 it took to get to our destination. She was a trooper though and made it through the weekend with smiles for all the pictures. Also, on teh way back we had conversation, not nearly as lively but cordgial. There were attempts by her previously to find out where she stood, but at each in person interaction she failed to really say her peice probably for fear of finding out the truth and being rejected. Then over chat sessions and emails everything really came to the surface and we “unfriended” on fb so she could re-set and re-allign her priorities.
    Being aware of the person’s needs and maintaining your own is probably most important. But the main thing is communication. I think that is really what helps people to rebound best adn quickest. Knowing why the other person is “shunning” your advances adds substance and key points valuable for self-reflection, education and improvement. I’ve had cases where it took me longer to get past the idea and fact of being rejected, because the other person didn’t give a reason or their reason was fake and superficial that I felt worse off because I felt a great sense of betrayal and that the underlying friendship bond had been broken. Also, for me I get back on my feet. But then I take time to truly develop “me” and to make sure I know what my priorities in life are before seeking any relationship. Partly, because I want to make sure that my next fling isn’t about revenge or to show up the other previous lover. Because that is a no-win situation for all and could truly emotional scar by-standers.
    I think with this law and a few others that have adjacent and amplifying substance that the moral is to take time after the end of each romantic relationship and figure out why it didn’t last, whether on good terms, bad terms or communication from the otehr person ceases all together. It will be eye-opening and enlightening once you take a step back and analyze (DON’T BROOD) the situation and you’ll come out better for it.

  3. February 3, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Two points:

    1. We learn from experience, but we learn best from BAD experience. So, embrace rejection! Great advice, Ethan.

    2. Valentine’s Day: I tried something last year that worked GREAT on V-Day. I had gotten close during the previous months with a woman who lived on the West Coast. I live in Maryland. There was no way, logistically, that we could get together on V-Day, but I wanted to do something for her on Valentine’s Day.
    In the past I had used a company called Shari’s Berries as a source of order-from-the-Web, deliver-overnight chocolate-covered strawberries. (You can’t go wrong with chocolate-covered strawberries for a romantic gift; biochemically, they mimic endorphins. Really.) So, I sent out two boxes of six strawberries each: one to her, one to me. The one to her was marked “Call me when you get this.”
    They were delivered the next day, and she called me that night. We opened our boxes of strawberries together, separated by 3000 miles but on the phone together. She LOVED it… she actually spent five minutes describing each strawberry in the box (this one is white chocolate, this one is dark chocolate, etc.) Then we each ate one, describing in turn on the phone the sensual (in the true sense of the word), taste-explosion sensation of eating a chocolate-covered strawberry.
    Of course, the strawberries themselves were beside the point — what she valued was the EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE of sharing that with me. THAT is what women seek.
    She and I haven’t actually crossed paths since — i.e. our lives have their own directions — but we’ve stayed in touch and we’re still on great terms. More importantly, it absolutely made her Valentine’s Day, so it was worth doing for good karma if for no other reason.
    Your milage may vary, and although it isn’t cheap, I recommend it.

  4. So E.Z. a Caveman Could Do It
    November 14, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Fear of rejection is perhaps the biggest block to men approaching women. Rejection hurts like a muthaf**ka, but only because of how we perceive it. We take rejection personally, which is such a waste of time. You cannot be liked by everyone, it is impossible. I mean, Jesus Christ was an all around swell guy, but that didn’t stop the mob from crucifying him. People will make quick judgements based on the impression you give them. But even when you try your best to be your best, not everyone will have the same perspective about you.

    Rejection prevents men from acquiring greatness. “That girl will never like me, I don’t have a funny line to say, my body odor is acting up today.” Just what if, WHAT IF she would have accepted you faults and all, what if she ended up laughing at the corny joke, what if you didn’t let fear of rejection stop you?

  5. dave
    February 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    I have been “rejected” so much that I have been out of this wonderful,one-sided
    and tilted game for more than 21 years. My own fault. I did not change into someone
    else or take “self-help” change me over courses. I am in my forties and never even kissed a girl, and am now headed to the Orient with others whom you have made
    into “losers” like me. Some time next month, some woman will say “yes” when I ask
    her to dance( no sarcasm), and I will not be rejected again. I am a typical guy
    otherwise, but these rejections were many and forthcoming.
    That might sound like a little thing to you, but for the first time, I will
    have a woman in my arms, even if she just pretends to like me.
    There are hard lessons out there, but I give much credit to guys who van grin
    and bear this insanity.

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