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Rejecting Others: Why We Find It Easy

written by Jessica Baum November 11, 2020
Rejecting Others: Why We Find It Easy

Rejection hurts. Rejection makes us doubt ourselves – doubt our worth, our attractiveness, our desirability as a romantic partner. It is natural to want to avoid rejection, sometimes even to fear it.

At times, the desire to avoid rejection leads us to reject others too quickly or even unfairly. It is important to take the time to realize what is behind your actions when you decide it is time to end a relationship. Otherwise, you may be rejecting others too easily.

Rejecting Others

Our fear of rejection makes it easy for us to reject others.

If we fear something, it’s in our nature to do what we can to avoid it. If you are afraid of spiders, you probably won’t volunteer to clean out the dark corners of the garage. As a child, if you were afraid of the dark, you likely slept with a nightlight on or asked your dad to check under the bed to make sure there weren’t any monsters lurking there.

Avoiding something you’re afraid of is a natural, often subconscious response. If you fear rejection, you want to avoid rejection.

One way to accomplish this is to make sure you are the one doing the rejecting before you can be rejected. At the first sign of conflict or disagreement, instead of working through it, you may be tempted to fend off possible rejection by taking on that role yourself.

It’s important to remember that all relationships will have issues. But if the issue is solvable, consider taking time to collect more information about your partner before jumping to the conclusion that you need to end the relationship. By delaying your decision, are you risking rejection? Maybe. But aren’t you also allowing for the possibility that the relationship could be strengthened – and continue?

We reject others who reflect parts of ourselves we don’t like.

Before rejecting someone, it is important to examine the reason behind the impulse to end the relationship.

One possibility is that you see something in the other person that you don’t like about yourself. Our strongest reactions often come from perceived flaws or imperfections in others that resemble those we most dislike about ourselves.

Does this mean that we should reject a partner simply because of a shared flaw? I would encourage you to pause and reflect before taking action. Throughout our lives, as we encounter new people and have interactions with them, we learn not only more about them but also more about ourselves – unraveling our own strengths and weaknesses.

It is possible that by recognizing that the flaw we see in someone else is a reflection of our own flaw, we can grow in acceptance of this part of ourselves. As Carl Jung famously said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

The transactional nature of modern dating makes it easy to reject others.

With all of the online dating options available, “falling in love” has never been easier. Viewing profiles, swiping, and sending and receiving flirtatious messages is exciting. It feels good. In fact, this kind of excitement causes the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain.

When you first start dating someone, that same chemical is at work, giving you the “stars in your eyes” so common during this early, honeymoon phase. You may feel as if you’ve fallen in love at first sight. Everything your new partner does seems magical and perfect.

It’s during this phase of a relationship that you are consciously showing your best side – and so is your new partner. But that can’t last forever – and it shouldn’t. It is important to see beyond those carefully curated first impressions and let yourself be truly known.

Of course, once you start to know each other beyond the surface, issues and challenges – or even everyday annoyances – will crop up. You may be tempted to simply reject your partner and end the relationship because it is no longer new and exciting.

The nearly endless possibilities available through online dating present us with “too much of a good thing.” This may lead to a feeling that there is always someone else waiting to be found, lessening the incentive to work on the relationship you have. It may seem simpler – and more efficient – to cut ties with someone at the first sign of conflict or discomfort and look for someone new.

If the challenges you are facing in a new relationship aren’t true red flags, I encourage you not to give up too soon. Take time to learn more, collect more information, and talk openly.

Check out this blog post where I wrote about online dating and the problems having “endless possibilities” brings.

Before You Reject Someone, Look Inside Yourself

Rejection is a part of life that starts in childhood. While we all need to learn how to handle rejection and keep it in perspective, it’s also important to spend time thinking about why we reject others.

Whether it’s out of fear of being rejected first, a reaction to something we don’t like in ourselves, or a feeling that something – or someone – better is around the corner (or further down the feed), spend some time reflecting on the reasons you reject others in your relationships.

If you are struggling with your relationships, click here to visit our website. You’ll find information about how we can help you. And you’ll learn more about what it means to be Self-full®.


Jessica Baum is a licensed and experienced relationship therapist in Palm Beach County, specializing in codependency and love addiction. To learn more about love addiction or to book an appointment, please feel free to call her at 1-800-274-8106.

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