You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner. (Elizabeth Bennett)”
―Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Rejection is hard. But the simple fact of the matter is that most men handle rejection poorly, in a manner that is ENTIRELY unbecoming of a gentleman. We become embittered, swearing off women, or we snark back, stabbing back and lashing out with the steely knives of sarcasm and hurtful phrases, trying to reflect our hurt onto those who reject us. We lounge on couches in our boxers, and watch marathons of Futurama (Or South Park, whatever), muttering hateful reflections, plotting the downfall of those who reject us over handfuls. Or we continually pester the object of our rejection, until they relents—or until she cut us from our lives completely, making us mope even more. When that happens, we rail against whoever rejected us, smearing their reputation. In effect, we proclaim to the world with our actions that “This person/employer who rejected me, because they rejected me, is no longer worthy for anyone else!”
This is not healthy. This is not right. This is not the behavior of a proper gentleman, in the slightest. And the fact of the matter is that rejection something that we must face, eventually. The healthier your attitude towards it, the easier it will be to face. Yes, it hurts. But so do paper cuts, and paper cuts heal pretty quickly. (Breakups are something different entirely, and it is okay to mourn—but still not okay to lash out, no matter the circumstances surrounding them.)
A rejection by a woman is something that should be borne with humility, and mostly with silence. (An occasional “Man, I just got rejected, it sucks, let’s go get a drink” to a few friends is perfectly acceptable, as long as there is no plotting.) I suspect the reaction of most men to rejection (including myself, formerly) is partly due to our egos being temporarily bruised, but also partly because a lot of us do seem to still see the affections and partnership of a lady as essential to our happiness. The fact of the matter is that the whole process of Orthodox gentlemanification that we are undergoing is designed to make us a separate, individual person, one who does not find it entirely necessary at all to find another person to complete our happiness. The point, is that we are in the process of becoming complete persons, within Christ
Here’s some things that you can do when you find yourself rejected by your potential paramour:
- Remember that it’s not the end of the world.
- Do not make any cutting or sarcastic remark. Sarcasm, remember, is a weapon, and like any other weapon, it is to be used as rarely as possible, and only when absolutely necessary. This is not one of those circumstances where it is necessary.
- Say “Thank you for your time, have a good day/night/evening.”
- Walk away. Do not follow. Do not harass them in any form.
- Remember that you do not need the partnership of others to be a complete person. You are yourself, an independent Orthodox Christian gentleman.
- Make yourself a cup of tea when you get home, or paint your feelings on a canvas. Seriously, the latter is pretty therapeutic, and has kept me from doing very stupid things in the past.
- Pray. (you should probably be doing this already, anyway.) Remember, when sent into exile, St. John Chrysostom said, “Glory to God for all Things.” You don’t know God’s plan for you. Maybe there’s someone ten times more awesome and perfect for you around the corner.
- Don’t assume that simply because you’ve been rejected that you’re destined for the monastic life. (You probably won’t be.)
- If you get angry, go to confession about it.
The more complete a person we are within Christ, I argue that the less a rejection will faze us, because our self-confidence, and self-worth are less tied into what others think of ourselves, because, really, all that matters at the end of all things is how God views us. Yes, rejection, no matter the direction will still be hard, but instead of something super painful…it will be like a paper cut. Or tearing of a band-aid; something that is only painful for a brief moment.