Let’s face it, if you’ve ever put yourself out there in any way, you’ve been rejected. Let’s move away from the myriad rejections that happen in everyday life, like not getting a job or promotion, losing out on an apartment or home, and focus on dating. Although I try to advocate for handling rejection gracefully and with tact, I’d be lying to you if I said that every single time I was rejected, that I handled each of those rejections well. Luckily, you get to learn from my experiences. I’ve been rejected more times than I can count, and responded to so many rejections, I’ve gotten pretty good at handling them in a way that feels honest and true to me.
Before I start, let me just say this. I’m talking about responding to rejections that are, for lack of a better term, polite. About 10% of the rejections I’ve received in my life have been rejections that were also attacks on my character, or just plain insulting. For many people, that percentage is much higher, and I’m guessing that percentage shifts based on your sexual orientation and gender. Bear in mind that the advice I’m giving is for the rejections you receive that are not insulting. If you get a rejection that is an insult, there are two ways to respond. Ignore it, my personal favorite, or respond in kind. Both can be equally cathartic, but know that when I talk about rejections, I’m talking about the sort of rejection you get that is polite, or at the very least, isn’t an insult to you. So with all of that said:
How should you respond to a rejection text?
If you’re being rejected by someone before you even go on a date, there’s a good chance you already know them and have an existing relationship, however tenuous. Whether it’s a friend, coworker, or colleague, it’s a good idea to let them know that you’ll take this rejection in stride, and that their rejection of you doesn’t change your existing relationship. Most of the time when I’ve been rejected by someone I knew, I could tell that they were concerned about what that rejection might mean to our existing connection. A simple thank you, and an assurance that their rejection won’t change anything is a good idea. My go-to line has always been some variation of “No worries, we’re still cool”, but that’s mostly because it’s how I communicate. Maybe your version of a response to a rejection sounds more like this: “Completely understand, thanks for considering me, and this doesn’t change anything about our platonic/professional connection”. Either way is valid and both sound good to me. Of course, if you do think that a rejection changes things, don’t lie and say it won’t. Just thank them for considering you and leave it at that.
Now, if you’ve been on a date with someone, and they reject you, at the very least you can thank them for their time and wish them well. If they send a rejection text that says something to the effect of:
“Hey, I had a good time last night but I don’t think we’re a good fit”
Your reply can say something to the effect of:
“No worries! I had a good time too, but you’re right, we’re not a good fit. Best of luck to you in your dating search”
This is assuming that this is someone who you want to thank for their time. If your date was actively terrible, and they send an unprompted rejection, there really isn’t a need to respond. I’ve been on plenty of bad dates where I thought I made it clear that I had no interest in a second date when I said “Well, it was nice to meet you” but sure enough, I woke up to a rejection text. In that case, I just didn’t respond at all. If my date couldn’t be bothered to put their smart phone away, or was rude to the wait staff, or was just generally a jerk, there really is no need to respond to their rejection.
Finally, let’s say you’ve been dating someone for a little bit, and they’ve decided to reject you. How should you respond? Again, assuming that the tone of their rejection is polite, and your interactions have been cordial, respond in kind. Thank them for their time, and wish them well on their dating journey. Responding to a rejection doesn’t need to be an exercise in justifying their decision, or proving them wrong, you should keep it short and sweet and move on.
One final thing: I know I mentioned a scenario where you don’t need to respond to a rejection but honestly, I don’t think you have to respond to any rejection you receive if you don’t want to. Your response to a rejection isn’t going to change the rejection, so whether you acknowledge it or not doesn’t change a thing. It’s not the most polite thing, but there comes a point where decorum shouldn’t outweigh your hurt. If you’ve been seeing someone who sends you a polite rejection text and you’re profoundly hurt by the rejection, don’t feel obligated to respond. In a perfect world we’d handle all the rejections we receive with a detached grace, but we’re human and this isn’t a perfect world. Not responding to a text isn’t the most civil thing, but if I had to choose between torturing myself by having to craft a polite message to someone who broke my heart, versus being a little rude by not responding, a little rude is always going to win. They weren’t interested in pursuing things any further, so it’s not like they’ll be super hurt if you don’t respond.
Good Luck Out There.