Rejection 101: A Lesbian’s Guide To Getting Turned Down, Keeping Your Head Up

Having a crush on someone sucks. It sucks because when it comes down to it, after the fawning and warm fuzzy feelings and bunnies and rainbows, you only have two options:

1. Tell the object of your affection.
2. Don’t tell the object of your affection.

I belong to the school of thought that says telling them always trumps not telling them. The colloquial term for this stance is “effing crazy,” and has, among other things, allowed me to become an expert on rejection.

Example: I finally approached a girl I really liked after class, and after talking for a moment, she physically ran away from me. Like, she sprinted. For real. Once I got over the shock of someone actually doing that, I laughed it off because at least I knew where I stood and I didn’t have to waste any more time wondering. And now I have a good story to tell at parties, so there’s that.

The lesson, for me at least, is that once you survive the initial sting, knowing someone doesn’t have feelings for you is infinitely better than the suffering of ambiguity. Because that sucks, and so at some point, you have to stop wondering and start taking initiative. You can ask your friends, her friends, the mailman, anyone if they think she likes you, but you have to confront this girl herself if you ever want things to move forward.

The solution here is to never miss even the smallest opportunity; go big or go home. You’re not exactly putting your heart on the line every time you casually flirt with someone, and every time you do it, you’re making the next time a lot less scary. When you flirt, you’re risking rejection, but is it really that devastating that the girl who gets your coffee doesn’t also want to get in your pants?

Maybe you see a really cute girl at the student union. Instead of walking past and wondering what could’ve been, you go up to her, smile, and introduce yourself. “Hi, I saw you were studying, and I thought you were cute, so I brought you this doughnut.” (This is, of course, assuming you brought a doughnut. Which you did.) (I guess you could not have a doughnut. And/or be SLIGHTLY less forward. “Hi, sorry to interrupt your studying, but your glasses are really cute. Want to share my doughnut?” will also suffice.)

Doing something like that has the potential to blow up in your face. I mean, experience has taught me that she could run away or say something nasty to you or laugh at you in front of her friends. But if you don’t at least try, you’ll never get to see the way she smiles at you and only you. It’s worth it, I promise.

Of course, the better you know someone, the higher the stakes. If you’re attracted to someone who is a major part of your life, you risk completely driving them away. You could lose a part of yourself.

And that’s scary as hell.

Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Those people are full of shit.

If you don’t feel your heart beating in your fingertips, if your voice isn’t shaking, if you’re able to have coherent thoughts, then you don’t understand the importance of what you’re doing. This is a big deal. When you approach someone as more than friends, you’re making yourself defenseless in a way that, quite frankly, isn’t fair. Whenever you ask someone out, you’re knowingly giving them the chance to stomp on your heart on the off chance that they want to make out with your face as much as you want to make out with theirs.

The jury’s out on this one, and most people tend to disagree with me, but as I see it: The important thing is that you can’t let that stop you from trying. Be brave, little toaster.

As long as you stay quiet, you can stay in your blissful bubble of quiet infatuation. You’re safe from disappointment, and that feels good. But you have to roll the dice to win the game. Otherwise, you’re just sitting there while everyone else is making out with girls and yelling “Yahtzee.”

So how do you do it? Maybe you write a letter because as confident as you are, she makes you too nervous to breathe sometimes, so it’s maybe better not to risk accidentally throwing up all over her shoes. (Just hypothetically, obviously. This is totally theoretical!) You hand-write it, and your friends pore over it with praise and (constructive! loving!) criticism. In your letter, you outline everything you want to say, all of your truths. You tell her how she makes you feel safe. You tell her how you want to kiss her and make cookies at 3 a.m. with her. You tell her how you want her to be happy and how you want to be her friend because she sincerely means the world to you. You tell her you’ve never made yourself this vulnerable before because you’ve never felt like this before. You are cheesy but honest.

Maybe you give it to her roommate and wait for a response.

Maybe, also hypothetically, she sends you a painfully nice Facebook message turning you down. You’re just two very different people, she says. You wouldn’t work as more than friends.

Maybe your world stops turning. You get that feeling that you get when you do poorly on an exam everyone else did well on: sadness, disappointment, nausea, embarrassment. You want to scream and cry and crawl into a hole. You might hate her a little for making you feel this way. You know she’s right, but still.

It’s okay to be hurt. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to feel misled. It’s okay to feel stupid. It’s okay to listen to “Jar of Hearts” on repeat.

Some things you might say to yourself:

“I thought for sure it would work out.”/“How could I possibly think it would ever work out?” It seemed reasonable at the time. There’s no point in beating yourself up over trying. If you hadn’t, you still wouldn’t know.

“We would be so perfect together!” There’s no point in wasting time yearning for someone who doesn’t yearn back. Don’t sell yourself short: You want mutual yearning.

“What did I do wrong?” Probably nothing. Sometimes, a relationship just doesn’t happen. It’s no one’s fault.

“I’m not good enough for her.” This statement is never true.

“I’m never going to meet anybody new.” Only if you never try again.

Don’t wallow in your pain. Don’t regret saying what you said. Don’t say bad things about her because she’s trying to do the right thing. It’s not easy to tell someone it wouldn’t work — someday, you will be in that position too, and you will know how hard it is.

It takes time to recover from a harsh rejection. Keep taking care of yourself. Do things that you love to do. Find new things you love to do. Distract yourself for as long as it takes. One morning, you’ll wake up and realize the earth is still turning and that you got to spend time with a great person, regardless of whether she was attracted to you or not. Maybe you can still be friends. Maybe you’re proud of the way you both handled yourselves.

Loving someone is never easy. It takes a certain level of courage to expose your deepest desires to someone while knowing that they can reject your feelings. Wear your heart on your sleeve, take a leap of faith, and hope for the best. Or, to put it another way: You do you, and hope that she wants to also.

Awesomeness by Laura


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Profile photo of Intern Grace

Grace Ellis has been writing and making hack-job graphics for Autostraddle since 2011 and is a co-creator and co-writer of the comic book series Lumberjanes. She is mostly an intern in name only. (Mostly.) She lives in Columbus, Ohio because why anything. Also, she wants to write the Black Widow movie and feels like if she just keeps telling people, eventually she will be allowed to do it. She has a Twitter and a Tumblr, both of which are pretty above average.

Grace has written 91 articles for us.

166 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    I’m glad that someone finally figured out how to explain all of this. I had to figure it out, the hard way, at 16. It would have been nice to have some reassurance that I wasn’t an effin nutcase for continously putting myself out there.

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    I’m going to take the fear of rejection from someone I’m close to one step further by telling her to check on Autostraddle today and hoping she reads this awesome article and is then brave enough to tell me her feelings…or maybe I should just woman up?

    Ah, so many feelings.

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      this just happened to me. it’s interesting how you can love someone but just not want to/be ready to be with that person, because of whatever else it is you have going on. it’s hard but i wouldn’t change it for the world. i learned so much with her and i’ll always be grateful for her presence in my life and our experience together, even if she doesn’t want me. i know we’ll be friends and if i can at least have that, i’ll be okay. love to you-

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        This I love you too but I’m still going to break your heart thing is rough but it’s okay. I’m still happy I had my experience with her, too… We’re not talking to each other at all anymore so it’s really good you can still be friends with her. I wish I could still be friends with my girl situation but it was impossible to move on with her still in my life. But, I’m mostly okay now. We’ll all be okay!

        LOVE TO BOTH OF YOU!!

  3. Thumb up 0

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    This and the search for ‘the one’ have been two of the most inhibiting aspects of my love life. The most important thing to realise is that while it hurts to lose, it’s impossible to win if you don’t play.

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    Thank you for this, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I am one of those who admire from afar but am too chicken to do anything.

    Recently, I took the risk of telling a friend I was attracted to her, everything about that girl was perfect (in my head), but she let me know that although she really likes me, she’s not ready for a relationship. I appreciated the honesty so much and felt nice not wondering if it could ever be. We still hang out now.

  5. Thumb up 1

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    I remember recently going through this awful spree of asking girls out and them saying no, 9 in a row in fact, which is enough to make anyone give up, but I figured life is awfully short so I dont let it get me down, they know nothing about me so what’s the point in dwelling, it’ll happen when it’s meant to, I have complete faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monsters decisions! Nice article by the way. :)

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    This is so relevant to my life right now.

    Recently I told a (straight) friend of mine that I’ve had a crush on her for a year – feels so much better to get it out in the open. And just last week I told my ex that I still have feelings for her. Turns out she’s seeing someone new, which sucks for me, but I would never get past it otherwise. Usually I am super nervous and kind of shy, so this is something quite out of character but I feel so much better for it.

    Team Crazy Honesty.

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      Same situation. I only came out to her two weeks ago – it took me 5mins to actually spit it out, followed by 5 mins of incoherent, non-stop rambling… but after, ultimate relief…! I’m not sure if I have the courage to tell her that she’s the object of my affection…

      Quite sure she’s as straight as an iron bar, cast in cement, cast in stone. Or that’s what I tell myself. Sighs.

      But my friend gave me the best advice, which I’ll impart on thee straddlers –

      Me: “It’s going to get easier right?”

      Awesome friend: “Truth? It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets easier. In fact, it might get really fucking painful for you. *But* in that pain, you’re going to learn the true beauty of love.

      That you love someone just because you do. And not because you want something back.”

  7. Thumb up 0

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    Oh my god, story of my life. Except I no longer come to the same conclusion you did. I could only go so many years of only ever getting rejected and never getting asked out by anyone else before I decided to not let myself express interest in anyone again. Until recently I had let almost all of my crushes know how I felt about them in one way or another, but my experience tells me that the chance of that leading to something negative is so much higher than the chance of that leading to something positive. What makes it worse is I mostly fall for friends, and I’m tired of making friends uncomfortable on the (clearly infinitesimal) chance that my interest is reciprocated one day.

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      Completely in the same spot as you, emotionally. I have had my heart broke over the past 15 years that I’ve lost count. On top of that I got conned over by a girl I met online who after 8 months I realized was a pro con-artist. She faked having cancer and broke my bank account.
      After a long time of not socializing, much counseling, I finally ventured out. Eventually, I’d meet someone. It get serious, I start to have faith. Then be it 2 months or 10, girls break up with me.
      Before and after above mentioned crap, picking up a girl I’m attracted to is naturally easy for me. But, I have no idea how to find a real girlfriend/emotionally connect. It’s been 3 years since the last heartbreak. I truly can’t fathom what love is like.
      If anyone has any encouraging words, send them my way. Hoping someone reading this overcame being totally emotionally burned out has some advice to share. There just has to be more in life than work, money, gym, TV, sex and music. Sooo lost.

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    This is amazing advice. A wonderful story and great way to live and think about your life. The writer did an amazing job of capturing a negative experience that happens to the best of us and making it seem like its not too big of a deal, when we all know just how much it can hurt. Great job, amazing article.

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    perfect time for this. great article and now i wish i had a cat. also im one of the shit filled people that says don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. the way i look at it is you don’t have much to lose since you didn’t have the girl in the first place. sure it can be embarrassing and painfully nerve wrecking but i’d rather not wallow in that nervous state. it just makes it infinitely worse. also if you are not putting yourself out there and in stead putting up some front, then it won’t work out anyway. she’ll think you’re something you’re not and it just creates a mess.i just tend to clear my head and jump in and whatever happens happens. this is just my take on it though, it might not work for everyone.

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    WHO DO YOU THINK YOU AAARE, COLLECTING YOUR JAR OF HEARTS, TEARING ME APAAART… YOU’RE GONNA CATCH A COOOLD FROM THE ICE INSIDE YOUR SOOOUL SO DON’T COME BACK TO ME, DON’T COME BACK AT AAAAAALL…

    Who do you thiink you aaaaaare… Who do you think.. you aare….

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    This is the best rejection advice ever. It really makes me feel confident. Thanks!

    Um, but, I’m still wondering how to deal with when she turns out to be straight, since I like femmes and have no gaydar with women.

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    This advice is on point and the best thing ever, but I’d like to add my own two cents to this:
    Whether trying to win a girl’s heart, or trying to get over her, 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields is always the key.

    That sh*t’s life changing.

  13. Thumb up 0

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    Bah I am such a chicken. Asking people out makes me want to (literally) puke.

    But I think and important point is that it never hurts for long. I may feel like a jerk for a minute and cry like the emo lez that I am on the way home, but then I realize I’m actually asking myself existential questions over whether or not some random likes me. Usually I just go home, get in bed, and then get distracted by how awesome tea and pajamas and Burning in Paris are and my ego mends itself.

  14. Thumb up 2

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    My best friend and I were pretty much in love with each other for a year in that we’re totally dating each other even if we don’t say so kind of way. And then she stopped talking to me because she thought I didn’t reciprocate her feelings and then I was all heart broken because I thought she didn’t reciprocate my feelings. After a little while we started talking again and we talked about our feelings and started doing that whole dating each other even though we didn’t say we were dating thing (but in a way more intense way then last time) until she abruptly stopped speaking to me. Around a month later she called me again to apologize for leaving me like that, and she told me that she couldn’t be in a relationship with me because she’s secretly deep down inside not over her ex girlfriend from several years ago, and she probably won’t be until she meets someone just as good. And that she likes me a lot but she’s just not as crazy about me as she wants to be about someone she’s dating. …So we don’t talk anymore.
    The hardest thing for me to get over is just how much I miss her. Since, she was pretty much the best friend I’ve ever had an a very large part of my life. And… Ouch. Just ouch. I have no real words for how terrible this whole experience makes me feel so I’m just going to go back to not thinking about it and moving on with my life.
    Jar of Hearts is a stupid song.

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      Oh Godddddddddd. Your story reminds me of the connection I lost with someone who was totally awesome and we would have been best friends and we really liked each other – but then things went wrong and now she’s not talking to me. And like you I felt that she was like a best friend (even though we didn’t know each other all that long) and really *got* me like few others do. And I know she was trying to get over some heartbreak or other, but that she cut me out of her life absolutely crushed me. :( :( hugs hugs

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        I’m closer to her than I’ve ever been to anyone else I’ve ever known and my relationship with her was definitely the most meaningful relationship I’ve ever had… It’s just bad. That’s all I can really say. Hahaha it basically worked out so that she was godzilla and I was Japan annnd.. Yeah. Pretty much just bad. I just give out a lot of doughnuts now, though, so I’m okay.

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    Love this, I had massive bust up public humiliation involving me leaving in tears last week that I would recount now but it still makes me wince. Shudder. But I was asked out by a gorgeous out of my league girl yesterday so there’s always someone else ladies.

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    Dear Intern Grace,

    You are so great. It hurts to see this resonate with all of us, but it’s comforting to know we all experience it…and move past it.

    What with all the music talk I wonder… can Autostraddle suggest/post any kick ass mixes to inspire us to let go of the fear, forget bout those times peeps up and ran off when we approached ‘em, and go give some lady a doughnut?

  17. Thumb up 0

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    Ahh! The pictures! Donut? Kitten? Running through a field that is probably not currently 900 degrees like this island I currently live on? AMAZING! This whole article made my day.

    Also, if anyone ever offered to share a donut with me,I’d probs marry them. Just sayin’.

  18. Thumb up 0

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    “We would be so perfect together!” There’s no point in wasting time yearning for someone who doesn’t yearn back. Don’t sell yourself short: You want mutual yearning.

    I really wish someone had told me this in middle school/high school when I would flip out that boys I wanted to date or girls I wanted to be “really good friends with” (who was I kidding?) had no interest in returning those feelings. And thought there was something wrong with me because we had SO MUCH IN COMMON and they still didn’t like me.

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    I loved this article. It IS scary, but the rewards can be worth it.

    On the flipside, acting early on (whatever the result) can prevent a lot of idealising. I had a crush on someone for over a year and had built her up to be someone neither she (nor anyone) could ever be. When I finally plucked up the courage and asked her out I had never been soooooo bored. I had to pretend I was Oprah to keep the conversation going.

    If I’d asked her out earlier I would have found out that we weren’t going to click. I wonder how many other opportunities I missed?

  20. Thumb up 0

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    “Maybe you write a letter because as confident as you are, she makes you too nervous to breathe sometimes, so it’s maybe better not to risk accidentally throwing up all over her shoes.”

    Good to know I’m not the only person who’s done this :)

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      Are you kidding? I write letters for mostly every serious interpersonal relationship where I can’t express my feelings of sadness, love and heartache and confusion. Looking back now, they’re genuine literary masterpieces.

  21. Thumb up 1

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    This is so incredibly true and painful and amazing. The last paragraph is the my favorite by far.

    I asked a girl (a straight girl) out on a date that I barely knew but wanted to get to know. She flat out rejected me. Partially because she thought I was a jerk. And then I asked her in a new way every other day for two months until she finally caved.
    She’s been my girlfriend for close to a year now.
    Sometimes you just need to prove that you meant it.

  22. Thumb up 1

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    This made me nostalgic for an old self (19 years old)who learned this lesson and flourished through it. I won’t bore you all with the familiar details but there’s one more thing that I learned about taking control of your own heart:

    Shutting up and not dealing with the fact that you’ve been rejected will not help the “Letting Go” process.

    So, let’s chat about it–what is meant by “Letting Go?” Every one says it and yet no one EVER seems to know how one should do it.

    Letting go= Healing.

    Our most terrible crushes often look like outright obsession with the objects of our desire–womaning up and telling the girl of your dream that you like her does NOT dissipate all of that static energy that was spent creating the fictions of a shared life. It is crushingly devastating to realize that you have to part with those dreams; or that those dreams weren’t “real” to begin with.

    Most of us feel sick after experiencing that; either the physical sensation of wanting to wretch or the very real sickness of depression. Case in point: I almost failed out of college because of a painful rejection.

    If we treat the devastating aftermath as a temporary illness, then we can seek to heal it (like we would seek to treat a winter’s cold knowing that we have a big project at work or final exams coming). In this metaphor, the big project is the rest of our beautiful, AMAZING lives that is yet to be lived.

    Thus: Recommendations for Healing a from a Rejection

    1- Make a list of 100 things that you love (from wool socks to Virginia Woolf to skinny dipping at night);
    2- Indulge in music;
    3- Meditate Or pray;
    4- Frequent large bodies or water (and if you meditate, contemplate, or pray, ask your personal divine to carry your fears within the flow of water);
    (I find that this last step works especially because we crave rituals. The symbolism of the moving water works to engage motion in what we think of as our broken and static selves.)
    5- Talk with your therapist or shaman or priest;
    6- Make to do lists for the purpose of crossing things off. (helps with feeling like you’re alive, efficient, and capable);
    7- Make a list of things that you love about YOURSELF;
    8- Take ONE (don’t over indulge) thing that you hate about yourself and decide to shower it with love–turn the tide on your own hatred;
    9- Have dinner with a friend where you discuss ONLY a book that you’ve been reading simultaneously;
    10- Have dinner with a friend where you discuss your feelings and your pain–take a moment to ask for help;
    11- Go on a hike for the purpose of meditating when you reach the peak of your intended course;
    12- Write your feelings on a numbered list and then write a another numbered list and validate those feelings. Then if you can (burn both list symbolically);
    13- Dance your pain. In your own space dance what your pain feels like.
    14- Cry (find a space where people will not hear you (bodies of water are great for that purpose) and cry as loud as you need to;
    15- Set your intent on dissipating the energy that you’ve gathered, that you no longer want to live with.

    The most important part about these little tidbits of actions is that they are just that: actions. Do them knowingly. Do them with the intent of acting out a growing self.

    In health,
    C

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    I’m awesome at being rejected. There was a time when if I’d heard the phrase “But we’re such good frieeeeends…” again, I was gonna throw myself off a goddamn bridge.

    Best rejection ever: When I was a teenager, my friend identified as bi (one of the many things we had in common!). I confessed that I had a major crush on her one night and we ended up making out. The next day she freaked out and told me that she’s actually straight after all. Then she hopped a train (like, she literally jumped on one of the freight trains that went through our little town all the time) and eventually ended up squatting at a punk house in Seattle. I don’t know what happened to her after that.

    I’m 29 and in my entire life, there has been exactly 1 person who has actually liked me back (not decided to waste a couple weeks with me because I was there and convenient, which has happened a few times). So I’ve basically come to the exact opposite conclusion as you! It’s just not fucking worth it and it’s never going to happen.

  24. Thumb up 0

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    THANK YOU SO MUCH. this is just what i needed

    i got in this sucky situation today where my friend went ahead and told my girl i liked her even though i knew nothing was going to happen between us.
    answer: ‘i see her as a little sister.’
    so now i’ve all the feelings of rejection without the emotional catharsis of doing so. :/

    anyways, thankssssss. this is great.

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    “… you have to roll the dice to win the game. Otherwise, you’re just sitting there while everyone else is making out with girls and yelling “Yahtzee.”

    This just became my new philosophy statement. For FB and for life.

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    I just went through this yesterday. This past weekend I went to an all Lesbian party. I was nervous as heck!!! Anyways, it was a pool party and I was brave enough to go swimming and hang out in my swimsuit, but eventually put on a large scarf to partially cover me. I noticed this one woman and thought…I want her…after visiting with different groups I went to the group she was in. I visited with these three women for the rest of the evening. We all joked around and laughed and had a good time. Well I went home totally smitten. I found her email and emailed her yesterday. At first I was going to apologize for emailing her without permission but I just went for it. I knew she had a work trip coming up but wasn’t sure when she was leaving. I said I know you have work but if you have time this weekend let’s carpool to xyz party (that was a few hours away) or do something local. I told her that my daughter was with her dad for the weekend and I had no plans. Anyways, a few hours later I got an email saying she was leaving Saturday for her business trip and that she would see me at another party. She told me she enjoyed talking to all of us and that she was busy with work. diss!!! I felt disappointed, especially when I saw she had been on plenty of fish that same day. The thing is, I knew this crush wasn’t going away and I didn’t want to waste mental and emotional energy on something that might not happen. Sure I feel rejected but now I know I can move forward. All I can say is OUCH there goes the end of that fantasy. :)

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    I completely agree with everything said here. Except when it comes to the reality of course :). Haa, I think I maaaaay be be re-falling for my ex, who is like my best friend. Whoops. I have no idea where she is though. I mean, we’re lez-best friends, so we’re super close. But I’m never gonna go there. I could never give that up, and I’m moving off to University in a couple of months. Don’t you just love being gay? *faceplant*

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    Thank you for the article … I need anything written on love roght now so badly. I’m absolutely heartbroken and I don’t know how to go on. We were like BEST friends in the world for one year. We’re both married, we both have children. It happened like BOOM. After we met we immediately started comunnicating like crazy – telling each other how much we mean ro each other, how happy we are to have found each other … by phone calls, text messaging, emails … several times a day. We were talking about every single thing in the world. We gave each other little presents and i was just SO happy. I soon realized I was totaly inlove with her. She pointed out some tomes that she is absolutely not into woman, that she is just so fond of me. During the year I occasionaly noticed she had days when she pulled back. Sometimes she told me that there’s too much of me in her life and that it’s too stressful for her to have so many contacts with me (our husbands were quite jelous so we couldn’t be opened all the time, we had to find time to be alone to speak freely) … usually I apologized and decided to move away of her a bit but she always called me the next day (or even the same day) telling she’s sorry for hard words. She is quite impulsive and doesn’t pick words. And then we got back into our daily routine, that I loved. We even introduced to each other our children and we had some great times together. I was sure I found a friend of my life. I never intended to tell her the exact nature of my feelings because desroying our friendship would be the greatest loss in my life. THEN … out of the blue, one day she practicly stopped comuniticating. I thought that it is one of her fases but she didn’t come to me … I asked her so many times what is wrong and finally she told me she “lost nerves completely” when having some duties in the family and that it was terrible. First she said we were ok and that she just needs time to recover but later in the days she got crazily mad at me and put all the blame for her bad health condition on me …. I was just listening to her and couldn’t say a word. She said I was constantly contacting her and that she doesn’t like things I say or do … and that she just don’t know why she was calling me so often and writing me about her personal stuff. She regreted everything. I have no words to describe what I feel now, after 2 months … Everything we had was not real obviously PLUS I’m the most horrible person in her oppinion putting her in such stressful position. I love her still dearly. I miss her like crazy. And just don’t know how this happened … I would rather die than hurt but I did … Things can’t be repaired, past can’t be turned backwords … What is even more terrible is hat she still keeps contacts with my children because they made warm ties and we still see eachother. She strictly acts like a friend of my children and a very distant friend of mine, never asking about my feelings or me … I feel totaly rejected as a person. I’ve had myself for a very loving human being but all of a sudden I worth nothing in her eyes. It’s killing me. I have a very loving husband, working a lot so we lost some bonds but still he cares very much about me and our family. I try to put my energy and my thoughts to our family life but it is just sooo hard. I feel like so much in me died. I put everything that I am in her palms and she just threw it away … I’d like to be happy again so much. I’d like not to care about her anymore. Still I call her and ask her how she is. I just can’t let it go ….
    Thanks for listening. You’re the only ones that I shared my story with.

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      This is heartbreaking. I hope things sort themselves out. It must be really hard having her not even talk to you anymore. And even moreso so be unsure of what she thinks about you. But it sounds like you both might have been getting too close and she freaked. I suppose it’s hard when there are so many peoples feelings at stake, your children and your husbands. Some things just happen at the wrong time. It sounds like she isn’t handling it very well. It’s as if she has complete disregard for your feelings and that isn’t fair. But don’t beat youself up about it, i’m sure she has a lot going on in her own life with family and kids and some people just find it easier to ignore potentially wonderful things in their lives because they are too risky or they are unable to put the effort in that they feel it takes so they just leave it alone altogether?

      I’m sorry your feeling this way.
      Heartbreak does end, eventually and it will help you to grow and be stronger in the future.
      Thoughts are with you.

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        Dear Ren,

        thank you so much. Your words are the only words from others I hold in my hands and are so comforting. Thanks. Yesterday we were together with our kids. She wanted to meet mine, as I said that they grown quite close. We had lovely time but mostly comunicating with our children and not towards eachother. At one point we changed a few words on a subject and she said after all that it was not completely my fault for her bad condition but that she has her life to live – because she has children, she has husband, family, work, friends …. and at the end she said very quickly – because she is a woman. I think this is the main reason and I said nothing to it. I never confesed that I had feelings for her and I never will but obviously suddenly for her it was too much. I deleted all her emails which were full of loving words from her because now it all seems so untrue. She always used nicknames for me and huged me with great affection, now everything is gone. She rejects me in every way like I’m not good in as a person, always pointing out that in professional matters I’m really an expert (I’m very succesful), but I started to handle it better. I still said at the end of the day to her that she can count on me at anytime. She was quiet. We’ll be seeing each other again because of the kids (I love hers as well very much and I’m so happy to meet them) and it’s going to be tough but I’ll try just to be there in her life if she needs me. I think I’ll love her forever. She can just be so sweet. How on Earth can I delete the loving memories we shared from my heart??

        Thanks again. And love to all!

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          Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m trying to figure out what to do with my loving memories after a breakup as well, and the best I can figure is that I can try to keep them and cherish them as a part of me, but also accept the present for what it is, without her.

          Wishing you peace and healing Porcelain.

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    Uh, seriously, did you write this for me? On the 20th, I finally got up the nerve to write a fb message to my crush of more than a year and within the day got (at least) the kindest rejection reply. Sucks, but you’re right. I’m glad I know and can stop lamely mooning over someone who is not interested. Thanks for sharing!

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    Sometimes I smack talk myself too much, this has really helped me tonight. New love is hard. Ugh, non-reciprocated love is hard. I’m getting good at rejection too it seems. Curb it into healthy thinking. Take it on the chin. Suck it up. There’s more to life I suppose.

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    The girl I like a lot is in Spain and I am in America and it is no bueno.

    There’s also this whole thing where we’ve been best friends for four years and she was very supportive when I first came out last spring but four days after I came out, we somehow made out at a party. It was amazing and wonderful. Then she said, “Oops, just kidding, I’m straight.” We talked about it later but she cried so I said it didn’t have to mean anything. She stopped crying after that.

    She’s in Spain, you guys.

    But I still want to tell her she’s probably queer and we should probably be together because she understands me like no one I’ve ever met in my life. We watched The Kids Are All Right together last spring. I’m Nic and she’s Jules. This could go somewhere, I feel like.

    But she said she’s straight. We’re in our early twenties so it’s not like she doesn’t know by now.

    I need all of these suggestions about handling rejection. I should write her a letter. I need ALL OF THE SUGGESTIONS YOU GUYS. <3 you Autostraddle.

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    Oh thank you, I’ve never had someone answer a desperate plea to the internet so quickly before!

    Letter writing! We write long e-mail letters to each other sometimes. I could do that. I can write words sometimes.

    But really, she’s an ocean away and she’s going to be there for the next year. I feel like I’ve missed my chance. I chickened out last spring because she just seemed so miserable and CONFUSED or just having many feelings. We’ve spoken and she doesn’t seem to be having lots of feelings anymore.

    It might be too late. I don’t know. She’s also a very close friend and I don’t want to lose her forever.

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    Okay, I’m really sorry, that was way oversharing but in my defense (or not-defense) I was drinking wine and watching But I’m a Cheerleader, so just think of me as a less awesome and way more awkward version of Megan when she runs into the middle of the ceremony at the end. Sorry.

    I need to stop watching cute lesbian movies.

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    Thinking about printing out this article and putting it in my wallet. Yay for shared experiences. I was looking for an article like this on this site. I KNEW IT EXISTED!

    When you feel that word for someone, but you don’t want to. Like I’m going through this right now. I was getting really close to a friend and I realized it. SO I BACKED MYSELF UP AND WITHDREW. But I couldn’t stand not being around her. And it blows right? So I’m just an awkward bundle of nerves around her. Like to the point of panic attacks. I came clean about being queer but didn’t bring up the attraction. The last time this happened to me, still friends with the first girl, a cool tolerance from the second girl. Never let on after that. But the world didn’t end those times so I’m still spinning and one day I’ll find the right person for me.

    Uh, sorry for the untimely reply. I got to this party way late. But thank you so much for writing this!

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    Yo. Forget Hotmail as my homepage. Autostraddle may have just taken over all other cyber-priority. It’s so amazingly cathartic. Not only to read the fantastic articles you guys put up (Intern Grace THANK YOU!)but also to read the comments from all these other intelligent, conscious, insightful, supportive, caring, and witty women in the Auto community.

    Man, oh man.

    Like so many others, I wish I had found this article earlier. About 2 years earlier. However, it’s still incredibly relevant and I’m happy for the ones who find this a yummy hot pink bubblegum-flavored medicine. Remember that? Yeah.

    I wanted to offer a follow-up perspective. I don’t know if anyone else has ever experienced Rejection 101:Part 2 but I feel like I’m living it now. To spare gruesome details, I’ll offer the abridged version.

    BEST friend. Met in high school. She never had a b/f. SOO much togetherness. 4hr phone calls. Nominated “Peas in a Pod” superlative. Numerous D&M beginner-drinker drunken nights. 3 drunken make-out sessions spanning 3 years. Never discussed them. Is she, isn’t she? Does she? 4th year into crush, 21 y/o, was bursting at the seams, confessed everything one tipsy Halloween. (I was looking good too, yo. Cleopatra.) “I’m sorry. I really don’t remember anything…I really only see you as a friend”. DEV-A-STA-TION. Depression. Can’t live without her, can’t live around her. Fled to another country. lol. Study abroad in Spain for a year. Came out officially to all my friends as bi. And may have talked about this girl or that but never discussed “us” ever again.

    Sooo, now would be the part where I’ve had time, distance, and major distraction (I think living in another country is sufficient) to have healed, right? Well, it was no different than relapsing on a drug. Took a break, did some rehab and soul searching but once again in our routine and I’m addicted all over again. I’m not a COMPLETE masochist…maybe. I took precautions.

    A)No more 1-on-1 hangouts.
    B)No more drinking w/ friend unless in group or not at all.
    C)No more “saw-this-and-had-to-tell-you” texts
    D)No more thinking about her before I go to sleep.
    E)No more Facebook stalking of pretty pictures.
    F)Yes, try finding other people.
    G)Yes, try dating said found people(3 dates so far)
    H)Yes, try finding new friends.

    I figured we could still be close just not as close??? ALAS. Relapse. I broke D and E. And broke B a little recently because it was her birthday. G just makes me compare everyone to her…The smell of her hair, her smooth skin that always smells like lotion, her hands, her laugh. I’ve been around the world and she’s still the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. The goodbye kisses on the cheek that sometimes slip? Am I just looking for things to hold onto? Probably.

    She’s still single and I’ll always be wondering if she really did feel something but was too scared to admit it. Do I go through the process all over again? Tell her what I’m really feeling? And die all over again? Impossible. The answer is easy, if it’s really that bad and you STILL can’t get over her, then GET OUT.

    But.I.Can’t. She’s that dependable bff, my ride or die, the person I can count on to be in when everyone else isn’t. The one I send all my useless random texts to. We can finish each others sentences, thoughts. Glorification is a symptom of infatuation possibly, but I love this girl so much and I just don’t want to let go. Hardest part is figuring out if it’s the friendship I can’t let go of or the hope that one day she’ll look at me and be like, “God, it’s all here.” If it’s the latter, I need to run like Tom Hanks.

    Anyway, I’m sorry for posting a novella of my life story. Haven’t quite mastered concise. Awkward. But it feels so good to get it out, even if no one reads it. The possibility of someone understanding is enough to let me click submit. Thanks.

    Take care all. Have a good weekend. T.

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    I wish this article was written 5 years earlier, when I laid my cards out on the table to a straight lady friend I was pining for for two years on the night of our high school graduation. I made the rookie mistake of confessing in a note, to which she replied through an online message (back in the days when MySpace was hawt). Her response was that she didn’t feel the same way but wanted to remain friends. Needless to say, I hadn’t heard from her since, haha.

    …That’s too bad, because I would’ve made a kickass boyfriend.

    I’ve taken a much more different approach these days when it comes to lady crushes. When I fall for someone, I fall hard. Despite having high hopes for something more and just wanting to take the girl by the hand as we run through a field of flowers to the chorus of “Happy Together” by The Turtles, I’ve learned to be a lot less impulsive and more rational. I [try to] relax and just enjoy the person’s company while letting things fall where they may. It’s the exact opposite of how I’d normally operate as I tend to give into flighty feelings, but remaining calm and convincing yourself not to expect anything really takes a ton of pressure off yourself. It took years to turn off that side of myself, where trying to win over a girl was just this huge over-calculated process.

    ANYWAY. Awesome article that definitely hit home for most of us (look at all these replies!), and I especially loved that it concluded with such a witty line like, “You do you, and hope that she wants to also.” I loved reading something so heartfelt and ending it with a satisfying giggle.

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    Really enjoyed this article… The wit is spot on but so is the truth of the matter. At twentysomething, I still get all wound up with liking someone and stutter to tell them how I feel.

    I think it’s easier if you’re liking a girl who plays on the same team as you, kinda more difficult trying to bend a straight girl, there’s a lot to consider before going for it.

    I’d like a hit or miss rather than not swinging at all but sometimes, a swing can cost too much so I bench myself.

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    I have been thinking about confessing and after I read this last night. I did it today. I confessed to the girl I really like. She didn’t sprint from me (or maybe because we were driving and that doesn’t allow much sprinting). She’s straight and she rejected me. But I’m really glad I told her. It’s clearer now that we are just going to be friends and I like her very much as a friend too. I’m glad I said it and that I’m really lucky that she’s cool with it.

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    Last night, I told my friend I had feelings for her. Always have. She told me she was “really straight” and I went home and cried.

    Thing is, I’ve never done anything like that before and she’s the first person, let alone girl, I’ve ever truly liked. Ever. Although it hurts so fucking much to get rejected, I’m glad I told her. I’m proud I told her. I’m proud that I stopped being such a wuss. But now I’m a sad non-wuss. Still… She wants to stay friends. So do I. Hopefully, it’ll work out.

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      oh, god! almost same scenario as you…the only girl i’ve ever really, really liked was already dating someone–a dude. they became official a few days before i told her, and she already knew i liked her beforehand. i said i wanted to stay friends, and she felt the same way too.

      she contacted me some time later via text, wondering how i’ve been. but then i made the mistake of responding with a massive letter with a lot of feelings in it (not the “i’m not over you” kind, though). i think i fucked up, and i’m dreading that she won’t speak to me ever again. fuck. maybe time will fix things, but we’ll see.

      hope your sitch works out! i’m proud of you too. let’s be sad non-wusses together!

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    I’m glad you told her! That’s the way! It really bums you out that she ain’t keen. but most importantly, you were honest with yourself. I’m still friends with that girl. Hope things work out well for you too! :)

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    I normally just read the articles and lmao, but this one inspired me like a call to arms. Tomorrow I confess my affection and insatiable lust to my lady love. Ok mayb more like telling her what a sexy siren she is even in grubby surgeon scrubs and how I want her in my mouth. No not that either, maybe I’ll just tell her that I am tired of just staring at her and fealing the awawekyness in the room and even though I expect nothing in return I wanted her to know how amazing I think she is because it would be a waste for her not to. I have been holding off because she is my first female crush (but totally explains why I hate sex with men, lol) and those fealings of unworthyness I mean she is a fancy first year resident and Im just a me. But the weight of not doing anything and wondering what if would be much worse than a thank u im flatered. Hopefully all goes well and I can atleast be her facebook friend ;)

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    I told one of my friends that I have a crush on her this morning. It only took me a year to get up the nerve! She was gracious about it, but does not reciprocate the feelings. And honestly, I already feel better for having told her. Now to distract myself.

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    I just learned about this site today and this is the 3rd article I’ve read! Thanks for articulating my philosophy. If I’m friends with the person then I usually just let the crush fade over time, which I’m getting pretty good at. If i barely know the girl, then I take the risk and make it known. Think my next move will be the cute girl at the gay country bar who hugged me after every dance we had. Yay for all this awesomeness on one place! AS needs a dating site.

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    Last week i was out with my friends and i met this girl who’s super cute she was a bartender i kept buying drinks from her and just making an eye contact im really new to the scene so i don’t know how to put myself out there so it was my first time actually talking to a girl that i was attracted to i was really scared but i get to ask her name but kind awkward after coz i don’t know how to hold a conversation coz i was really shy and just intimidated by her. Then i got home i found out her facebook she was connected to me somehow so i message her instantly at first i was so nervous but then i thought fcuk it if i don’t as her out i would never know. So i message her i was like is it cool to get to know you can i add you and stuff like that. Then the moment of rejection happens she was like i don’t even know you. sorry. So after that i was like ok that’s sucks but hey at least i tried you know it’s not like im gonna dwell on it but it’s better to know now that she’s not up for it rather not imagining stuff in your head and hoping she likes you as well. that’s just my two cents.

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    Even though this like 2 years old, this is so relevant to my life! I just told a girl I liked her (not face to face unfortunately) and she completely ignored me…she didn’t even reply. Awkward. :(

    I was tempted to feel bad for myself and think that I’ll never find anyone, but thanks to this article I know that this is not true and I’m actually quite proud of myself for doing this for the first time ever. Thanks Autostraddle!

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    I just read this and, honestly, as a straight girl just out of a fifteen year marriage it was exactly the advice I needed to deal with the upcoming rejection. Universally good advice. Cheers!

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    Hm . Nice article. Was just recently rejected to. I told a coleg of mine on a message that im happy when i am around her and i would like to know her. I was waiting a whole day for her replay, and when it came was like i knive in my heart.lol. She told me that she feel very uncomfortable aboute my message and that she is not intrested and that i should stop writing her such messages. Now im not sure to cry or to smile.lol. Im confused.

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    This was just…ugh. Just. Yes.

    Consider this added to my “HELPFUL” bookmarks bar folder. This was a great “chin up” reminder.

    Also I woke my poor cat up from laughing loudly and unexpectedly at “Jar of Hearts”. Do you know me? Have we met?
    Anyways. Thanks for the killer advice.

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    I hope people keep adding their stories to this as it has helped me a lot and although it is an old post, I think it’s helping a lot of people too.

    I’ve had a crush on someone for about a year, at work. We exchange pleasantries and have a bit of banter, but are acquaintances more than friends.
    It had been getting me down that I was just thinking about her all of the time without doing anything (I’m a massive over thinker).

    Then 2014 came and I decided to think less and do more. Having a conversation with my friend last week, she told me how she HAS to tell guys that she likes them and that for her, there is no other option.

    This spurred me on and I vowed to tell her before she leaves in 2 weeks. I spoke to a friend at work about it and she suggested doing a valentine’s card. I chickened out of this idea in the end and glad I didn’t give a card!
    I told her yesterday after work. I haven’t been able to eat properly for four days since I vowed to tell her until now the day after.
    I practised what I would say, was feeling sick building up to it, shaking and ridiculously nervous.

    Then I told her. Explained I really like her and have liked her for ages but just thought I should tell her to get it out in the open so I can get over it and that I didn’t expect a response. She said it was unexpected, nice but she didn’t swing that way. I was actually convinced that she was at least bisexual. I think I may have sort of ran away or trailed off after I told her as I was not in control of how the words came out or what was going on at all. But she was as nice as she could have been to me.

    I was shattered, left work quickly and cried all the way home. I was in a state of grief for about 2 hours before addressing it all. I wrote down how I felt, told my sister, wrote a poem, told a friend and just let myself feel it. I’d been in this state of infatuation for too long for it not to hurt that much and it REALLY hurt. But the initial grief and pain has passed!

    What I’m feeling now is shock that I actually did it, as I’d never done that before. I’m also feeling apprehension as to how things will be at work (I’m hoping to tell her sorry for being awkward and thanks for being pleasant about it). I’m feeling embarrassment for how awkward I was! I’m feeling quite liberated in a way for opening up. Also feeling a bit empty as it had sort of taken over my thoughts. But now I KNOW how she feels and there is no doubt about it and I’d been living in doubt for a year, being affected by any way she interacted with me.

    So my advice is, DO IT! If I, a socially awkward introvert, can open up to someone and tell them how I feel, then YOU can too. The outcome will always be better than the trauma you put yourself through of thinking what may or may not happen and creating scenarios of your life in your head, it just hasn’t been good for my health having a fantasy.
    I’m happy I have told her and I know this can only be helpful to how I deal with things in the future; emotionally battering – YES!, character-building – YES!, regrettable – NO!

    (We shall see how I feel after being back at work!)

  50. Pingback: Self, Society, & Cinema: Exploring Identity

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    Oh boy. I know this article is super old but I had to sign up and comment.

    Currently lusting after my gender studies tutor.Last time I see her is next week when our whole class has a break up thing at the local pub.Don’t really know anyone from the class. Considering giving her a note or if i’m up to it maybe tell her she’s sexy(unlikely because of nerves).I don’t think she would want to go out with me anyway because she’s trying to get a full time job at uni,but i can’t help myself!I swear I’ve caught her staring at me.

    Plus, I only admitted/realised that I like women since last year, so after being previously pursued by guys I have no idea how to handle this.

    Anyone been in a similar situation? Student/teacher boundaries suck.

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