‘Build a bridge and get over it,’ they say.
But, getting over rejection can be easier said than done.
The Sting of Rejection
At some stage in our lives, most of us have all had to deal with the sting of rejection. Being rejected can result in feelings of loneliness. So when does it get easier? Having your feelings hurt by people you thought were friends can be very hurtful. Being de-friended is rejection with a resounding ‘dee.’ It hurts. You can choose your friends but not your family, right? If you feel your existing friendships are standing on shaky ground, you may want to go out and find friends again.
But how exactly do you find friends?
One thing is for sure. Rejection can be hard to take. It never feels good when a friendship comes to an end. It can leave you feeling bewildered and a bit dumbstruck.
Suddenly the invites no longer appear, you may even start to hear rumours about why you’ve been rejected. But was it really a complete surprise?
Perhaps you thought that any issues you may have experienced could be dealt with, but perhaps they didn’t think the same way and you didn’t take their feelings into account?
Why do people suddenly stop liking you? Were there were some warning signs that you failed to notice or didn’t take seriously enough. You may have not seen it coming and been just too busy thinking everything was okay when everything wasn’t.
Signs your friend/s are going cold on you?
- Communication: Is your friend avoiding you just a little? Be aware of how often you are communicating. If your friend isn’t making much of an effort to stay in touch, then this could signal a decrease in the amount of contact. Communication is a key factor in any relationship. Less contact could mean your friend is losing interest in you.
- Negative Actions: If arguments keep occurring and insults are flying or comments are being passed that may sound like jokes but are meant to belittle you, then this might mean that someone is showing a flagrant disregard for your feelings.
- No Updates: If your friend is no longer keeping you informed about what is going on in their lives and has put you on a ‘need to know’ basis only, then they may have decided that you are no longer dependable. Learning about ‘what’s up’ with your friends through other people or social media isn’t prioritising your friendship in a respectful way.
- Doing Stuff With Other People: Catching up with other people that aren’t you or being replaced by other people where once you were their priority might be telling you that new people may fit better with their current interests and needs.
- Sour Friendship: If it feels tense or you feel anxious and uncomfortable when in the presence of your friend then this feeling is probably telling you, that you’ve grown apart.
How to fix a friendship
Being pro-active in finding out ‘why the change’ has occurred in your friendship status is one way of figuring out what could have gone wrong. If you value the friendship then here are some points you may want to consider before you move into damage control.
Track back and try to figure out at what point your friendship changed. Have you done anything that your friends may take a dim view of?
Sometimes (well, a lot of the time), your friends may pre-judge you without hearing you out first. If you suspect this could be the case then it’s time to talk.
If you talk to your friend, be open and honest about your concerns. This may not correct things straight away but over time it may. If however, you think your friendship status has changed due to your actions then it may be time to move to damage control.
Damage Control Checklist
Start by opening the door and making contact with a conversation opener something like: ‘My friendship with you is valuable to me, so is there any way that I can resolve any issues that may stand between us?’
1/ Wait for the reply and be prepared to listen.
Give your friend time to think about what they want to say and then let them respond in their own time. Be sure to give your friend some space and not push them into answering right away.
2/ Be prepared to be flexible. Taking a flexible view can be conciliatory. Showing that you are open to compromise is a good way of letting your friend know that you can be reasonable.
3/ Be aware of the tone you use
If you’re discussing any issues, do not start with the accusatory tone of: ‘You,’ (as in ‘You are…) Instead use: ‘I’ (as in ‘I feel…’).
4/ Be Prepared To Be Wrong
Asking simply: ‘What’s wrong?’ Or, ‘What did I do wrong?’ Can be a brave step in the right direction in starting a quite difficult discussion about what may have caused any ‘falling out’ in the first place.
5/ Don’t Oversimplify
Oversimplifying a situation may come across as showing little understanding of it. Showing that you are giving careful consideration in your reply means that you may be taken more seriously.
6/ Be Accountable
Don’t blame everyone else for the actions you may have taken in a certain situation. Act responsibly and take responsibility for your own actions. Don’t make excuses to shirk responsibility. Taking responsibility, also means apologising if you happened to be in the wrong!
7/ Woe Is Me
If your life sucks, do something about it. Don’t constantly moan about your situation to your friends. Even the most loyal friend will soon tire of you. Not everything is within your control, but a lot of things might be. You have the power to change your life. So do it.
8/ False Promises
Only you can deliver on what you said you would. If you said you would do it. Then do it. Be true to your word and follow through on your promises and commitments. If you have no ‘follow through’ you may be coming across as shallow. Be a realist and only promise or commit to what you can deliver.
If you’ve taken into account the above and acted on some of it, then you may want to consider that the friendship may not be redeemable and therefore the only option will be to let it go. Understanding that a friendship is not working can be a good thing and have a positive outcome. Sometimes it’s best just to move on and find new friends.
When ghosting is good
Have you been unjustifiably ghosted? Unjustifiably, because you don’t know what you did or what you may have said to get you ghosted and you’re disappointed that you haven’t been offered a chance to explain your actions even though you have no idea what may have caused such great offence.
It’s like they’re just not interested in your side of the story or what you have to say and that’s what seems so unfair. You’ve been cut-off completely and offered no opportunity for redress. And furthermore, you believe you did nothing to cause the ghosting in the first place and would like to tell your side of the story.
Sounds like you’ve just experienced the breathlessness of being ghosted and are taking issue with the hurtful end of what you thought could be a promising relationship.
Why is this type of disconnect so prevalent and why is it so widely accepted as being, ok?
Once upon a time, being ignored was the height of all rudeness and ghosting would appear to be similar to this, only these days, it seems to be widely accepted as an appropriate treatment to end an acquaintance or friendship.
Maybe there are just more rude people in the world these days? That’s one explanation, but there’s no official information, measurement or rudometer in existence.
What is in existence today though is technology and it enables us to communicate much faster, so if time is of the essence, doesn’t it seem counterintuitive to be waiting for a reply that’s never going to come?
Perhaps that’s the objective of the ultimate insult – to waste your time in a time conscious society. But was insulting someone by ignoring them and not replying really the intention of ghosting?
If you don’t truly understand what ghosting is then described another way it could be called the ‘silent treatment’. But in defence of defence mechanisms, let’s say that if you were ghosting someone only online that you didn’t really know and haven’t met yet, then is it really all that bad?
Were you really under some invisible obligation to reply to someone you didn’t know? Do you really have to explain your actions and in the process probably upset someone even further?
The silent treatment seems much worse than ghosting as usually people refrain from communication from someone who is known to them and this is sometimes recognised by mental health experts as abuse.
So when is it ok to ghost? In many ways we’re lucky. Even though we hear often: ‘Don’t judge me before you know me,’ as humans, we tend to do precisely that. Call it survival, but we’re told to use our instincts in a situation to avoid danger.
These days, with technology being what it is, we’re also starting to get to know people in a different way, through images and text, rather than social (in person) cues (although this also matters) and as we go down the rabbit hole of technology advancement, we tend to be sensitive to the information that appears before us, whether it be an image or a piece of text, but interestingly, we are still looking for signs of danger.
In the early stages of a friendship as we get to know someone in the off-line (real world), we’ll use everything we have at hand to gauge someone; types of behaviour, visual and social cues and as we communicate we decipher and filter all of this info.
Most times when we meet people socially (in-person), we will just naturally move on if we feel no connection. So if we were to put ghosting in a similar context as simply ‘moving on’ when we’re online, then really it would seem perfectly natural.
Would you regard someone who you met socially in-person as rude if they do not give you their full attention whenever you wanted it? Probably not. You’d probably accept that they were just not interested and move on.
Would it be preferable to tell someone why you don’t wish to communicate with them anymore and risk confrontation instead of simply ghosting them?
No one is perfect, but sometimes we don’t realise the degree of negative affect our words can have on someone. It can be easy to vent, rave or complain on social media and networking platforms but remember your words can be hurtful.
Ask yourself: ‘Is a war of words fair when you don’t really know someone and when they are said anonymously?’ And secondly: ‘Will the impact of my words benefit someone?’ If not, you are acting negatively and this sends out negative energy. Negativity often makes a situation worse.
Remember what Thumper said in Bambi? ‘If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.’ Perhaps if anything ‘good’ could be said about ghosting someone, this is it.
By saying nothing at all you can’t be condemned for saying anything bad. Rather than explaining to someone ‘why’ you don’t wish to remain friends with them anymore (and the truth can be hard to handle) perhaps it’s better to just leave an empty space?
Afterall, it’s only your perspective and someone else may see things entirely differently from their perspective.
Always remember, just because someone has contacted you online and you have responded, it doesn’t mean the path to communication is permanently open. You have the right to ghost anyone at any time, but bear in mind that ghosting someone is a form of rejection and most people find rejection hard to take.
Pausing A Person
Instead of ghosting or giving someone ‘the silent treatment’ at 5050 Cafe Friends they’ve implemented Pausing or to ‘take pause’ is (enabling the ‘pause’ option at 5050cafefriends) in a situation can be a very wise and helpful thing. Like taking a deep breath or just ‘walking away’ in an overheated debate or argument – it can have benefits. You can ‘pause’ someone as a way of showing that you’re just not that interested or you can use it to slow down a runaway situation. Even online communications can become emotional and surprisingly tense and can be deserved of some time to reflect – and that’s precisely how ‘pause’ should be used.
If you think you may be interested in meeting a potential friend (or you have already met them) but feel like the situation is getting out of hand, then it may be in your best interests to hit ‘pause.’
This will block all communications for a number of weeks and allow party’s time to reflect on their behaviour. It’s not an outright rejection like blocking someone, but does cool down the situation sufficiently long enough to let the air clear.
If you’ve received a ‘pause’ it means that someone is saying: ‘Slow down.’ Someone really doesn’t have to offer any explanation as to why they’ve hit ‘Pause.’
They may simply just not be interested in becoming your friend or remaining your friend. A level of persistence verging on harassment is not acceptable.
If you’ve been let down gently in this way, you will be able to reconvene communications in a number of weeks. When communications are reinstated and if at that point – you would still like to have some correspondence, then the best approach to re-start communications may be to say something like:
‘I apologise if I have caused you any offence in any way. I value communications with you and I am happy to wait this time until you message me first. Just letting you know I’m open to this.’ But even something like this may not cut it.
If you’ve received a ‘pause’ for a 2nd time, it means you are blocked permanently and will not be able to communicate further with the person in question. Sending someone a ‘pause’ is not an outright block or rejection of someone, but does send a strong message.
It allows the recipient one last chance at communications, but also warns them that their continued communications are not being received well.
Is it time to let your friendship go? Have you and your friend grown apart?
Not all friendships last forever. Losing a valued friend can be a painful process especially if they’ve been a big part of your life. Here are some points to bear in mind as you grow through letting your friendship end.
1/ Ask Yourself Why
Are you missing the support of the friend you have now lost? Do you miss the activities and time spent together you once used to enjoy? Understanding why you feel the way you do is one of the first steps in coming to terms with your emotions and the loss of your friendship.
2/ Accept Your Friendship Has Ended
Accepting that your friendship has ended can be an important step in moving on with your life. Accepting the situation means you’re at peace with it and you are no longer 2nd guessing the circumstances of it or dealing with negative emotions.
3/ Acknowledge Change
Over time, everyone changes. Interests can change, the physical distance between you can change creating less opportunity to see each other.
You may not be the same person that you were when you met each other and they may have changed also. It’s important to work through your feelings and acknowledge that accepting that circumstances (and friends change) is a normal part of life. Understand that moving forward from the loss of a friendship takes time, so give yourself time to heal.
4/ Be In Control
Focusing on things over which you have control rather than focusing on the actions of others will help you to live in the present. If you find yourself dwelling on things in the past, start focusing more on activities that will fill your time in a positive way like taking up a hobby or playing a sport.
5/ Take Care Of Yourself
Look after your health by ensuring that you are eating properly, sleeping regularly at night and getting adequate exercise. Do things that you enjoy and improve your well-being by not isolating yourself off. Spend time with family.
How to find friends again
When you’re ready you may feel it’s time to find friends again. Social networking sites like 5050 Cafe Friends will encourage you to start conversations with people from your area or people who share your interests.
After you’ve successfully registered, you’ll be able to:
1/ Introduce Yourself
Introducing yourself is a great way to break the ice with a potential friend. With the help of 5050 Cafe Friends intros, you’ll be able to introduce yourself to someone simply by filling in the gaps on the 5050 Intro form.
It asks you your first name, where you’re from and what you do, then it asks you to take an interest in your (potential) friend by mentioning some of their interests.
You’ll be able to find their interests when you read their profile. If you share the same interests as a friend or take an interest in what your friend is into, it will help you to get to know someone new. Then after you’ve established an online rapport, you’ll be able to meet in person by sending an invite for 5050 Coffee.
2/ Send A 5050 Coffee Invite
When you and your friend/s decide that meeting in person to continue the conversation you’ve enjoyed online would be a great way to share what you have in common, you can send an invite for 5050 Coffee to a cafe of your choice as you will be prompted to ‘Find A Cafe Near You.’ The cafe near you that you select, will appear on your invite. It’s likely that if your invite is accepted that when you meet up, if you share the same interests it will give you plenty to talk about.
3/ Why 5050 Coffee?
Simply put, 5050 Coffee is about paying for yourself. When you pay for yourself there is no expectation or obligation placed upon you or your friend.
Every person on the 5050 Cafe Friends website must agree to the 5050 Protocol which states:
‘The 5050 protocol of gender equity (paying for your own coffee) sets the foundation for the possibility of an enduring relationship founded on mutual respect and gender equality which is about ‘being equal’ but is not pabout being the same. It’s about rights, responsibilities and opportunities being equal for everyone regardless of whether they are born male or female.’
It takes effort as an adult to make new friends. Yes, you will have to go and meet new people, but if that’s the case then you might as well meet up with people who share your interests.
A conversation started over coffee suggests a no pressure, quick meet-up. Great for a first meeting, it can be as long or as short as you would like it to be.
Meeting up in a public place like a cafe or coffee shop offers neutral ground in which you can establish ‘common ground.’ And remember, the foundation of any good relationship is forming a friendship first.