A few months back a friend asked if he could set me up with someone, another friend of his. I’ll spare you the details of the terribly awkward interaction we had as he struggled to find the right way to bring it up with me and just let you know that I agreed to let him try his hand at matchmaking. I’m not actively dating, certainly not going out of my way to seek a relationship, but I’m not opposed to it. And this was a friend that I thought knew me pretty well, so if he thought we’d be a good match I was game to at least meet the guy.
After I agreed I discovered it was a bit more complicated. He hadn’t actually asked his friend yet, so I was left in limbo. Maybe I’d be going on a date soon, maybe not. I’d said yes, but now it was out of my hands. Okay, no big deal. I figured he’d ask his friend later that day and let me know. But then days ticked by and I hadn’t heard anything.
I found myself getting in my head about it, the uncertainty distracting. So to help myself cope with the unknown I decided to work through both possibilities, a yes or a no. Here’s what I came up with.
Option one: He says yes.
Honestly, even though I’d already agreed to the date the prospect of this was a bit terrifying as someone who didn’t do a lot of dating. Someone who hadn’t been on a date in years. But I told myself that if the date was going to happen I just needed to stay open. Lean in. Connect. Just like I do any other time I meet someone new. I don’t think of myself as being a person who is good at dating, but I know I’m a person who is good at connecting with strangers. And isn’t that what a blind date really is? An opportunity to find connection with a stranger and see where it leads?
Option two: He says no.
There is a time in my life where this would have gutted me. When I would have taken a no so personally. Felt the rejection in my whole body. Let it engulf me. But instead, to my surprise, I found myself thinking differently.
If this guy says no it has nothing to do with me.
Perhaps all the years of therapy and self-work had paid off, because it felt abundantly clear to me that any reason this guy might have said no to the date couldn’t be about me. I was a stranger. I might never really know why he’d said no (because I am not him), but every reason I could come up with just further solidified this thought in my head.
Maybe he didn’t want to get into a relationship. This one was easy to see it wasn’t about me. If someone doesn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone, why would I be hurt that they didn’t want to be in a relationship with me. It’s clearly about him, not me.
Maybe he didn’t want to be set up. Perhaps because he’s had bad experiences with setups in the past. Or he has some fantasy that he needs to meet a partner “naturally”, as if life is a movie. Or he doesn’t trust the judgement of our mutual friend, the one trying to do the setup. All of these things are clearly about him. Or maybe them. But definitely not about me.
Maybe he was told a bit about me and he decided he wasn’t interested. That I wasn’t “his type.” And while that might feel a bit more personal, it’s really still about him. What he’s interested in.
He’d never met me. Certainly didn’t really know me. So if anything my friend had shared had made him uninterested it’s not like this was some sort of personality flaw on my end. I am not for everyone. And that’s okay.
In the end, I did get a no. Though the reason wasn’t even really one I’d considered: he wasn’t actually single. He’d been seeing someone and just hadn’t told my friend about it yet.
And yeah, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed by this news. He sounded like a great guy and I was certainly hoping I’d get to meet him. But I definitely wasn’t hurt. And now, months later, that disappointment has long since faded.
In fact, I think of the experience fondly. Turns out my friend is a truly terrible matchmaker (ensuring both people are actually single seems like matchmaking 101), but I’m still flattered that he tried. Plus my newly realized personal growth in handling romantic rejections certainly feels like a real win to me!
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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