I’ve never met anyone who got rejected more than my old roommate, Stan (name changed).
During one spring month, 12 women whom he had started to date gave Stan the boot. After about nine rejections in a row, Stan made the most interesting comment.
He said, “You know, I wouldn’t be any better at getting rejected than if I were setting a conscious goal to make it happen. I should tell girls that I will only take them out if they promise to reject me.”
Stan didn't have a conscious goal to get rejected, though. He wanted more than anything to meet a nice girl, settle down and start a life together.
He wanted it so badly that when a new girl agreed to date him, he poured on the nervous charm and pressure so abruptly that the girl would inevitably freak out and run.
I asked Stan if he understood that he needed to play it cool for a while before turning up the heat. “Oh, yeah,” he replied. “Girls don’t like desperate guys.”
True story: With the very next girl, and after just one successful date, Stan went out and bought a used four-door sedan. He showed up outside this unsuspecting girl’s apartment and exclaimed, “Look! I got a different car. I went with a four-door. It’s more convenient for a family, you know.”
She never took his call again.
Do we set ourselves up to be rejected?
Yes, we do. The problem is, we hide this fact from ourselves (others can usually see it clearly).
Stan was a super bright guy with a 4.0 GPA in a tough major. He was no dummy, and it was so obvious to the rest of us how blatantly he set himself up. Yet Stan bumbled along, blind as a bat.
I often ask my clients to discover how they're setting themselves up to get denied, passed over, ostracized, betrayed or rejected. These are rarely random events.
Here are some things we’ve come up with: