Rejection and Resilience | Transforming Dating Setbacks into Self-Improvement Opportunities

rejection to resilence

So, you went on a date. You wore your fav outfit, ordered food you couldn’t pronounce, so you just pointed to the dish on the menu to avoid butchering the pronunciation and even managed to crack a few decent jokes that made your date laugh. But, after all that effort, you get a text (or no text, we see you, ghosters)–they’re just not “feeling it.” Ugh.

Rejection is the spice of life. You thought we were going to say variety, right? Nah. Rejection is spicy but not in a good way–it gives you heartburn and gurgles up that acid reflux, but you didn’t even get to eat anything good! It stings, it sucks, and it happens to everyone. You heard us, EVERYONE. Those super hot people you see on dating apps? They’ve been rejected. Hard to believe, but it’s reality.

And although you know you are not alone, that doesn’t make it suck any less. But here’s the thing: while it hurts and cracks your ego, rejection can be… beneficial. No, we aren’t just trying to make you feel better—allow us to elaborate on how and why rejection can become resilience and how you can transform dating setbacks into self-improvement opportunities.

“It’s Not You, It’s Me”… No, Really

Most of us can count on our fingers—some of us all 10 fingers and toes—when we’ve taken rejection way too personally. It’s not weird to do that; it’s natural to internalize it.

Yes, I’m talking about me moping for a week because my date didn’t chuckle at my corny pun. But here’s a little secret–often, it isn’t about you at all. Maybe they’re not in a place to date, they had a bad day, or maybe they just hate puns.

Try not to dwell and replay every awkward moment and misstep on a loop in your brain: interactions are a two-way street. It’s about romantic compatibility, not about you being worthy of them.

Lessons in Humility: Embrace the Oops

Ever buckled your ankle in a 4-inch high pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos while walking with your date while trying to look sexy? Or spilled wine all over your dinner plate? I have done both of these things!

These “oopsies” teach us the fine art of laughing at ourselves. They’re basically the universe’s way of saying, “Hey, you! Take yourself a little less seriously.”

The next time you look like a newborn foal trying out its brand-new legs on a pair of too-high heels, giggle and move on. Unless you broke your ankle, that wouldn’t be funny at the moment. But odds are, in a few years, or when you get the cast sawed off, it’ll be a hilarious story to tell.



The Resilience Gym

Ever heard of emotional push-ups? No? Me neither; I just made it up. But dating rejection is kind of like that. Every “nah” strengthens your resilience muscles, preparing you for bigger and better challenges ahead. It’s like working out, but instead of six-pack abs, you get a buff spirit. And no sweat or weights are involved.

While not every rejection is a fun lesson, some do offer moments for some self-reflection. Did you interrupt your date constantly? Maybe you talked about your ex? You can use these reflections as growth opportunities. But remember, we’re aiming for self-improvement, not self-destruction. There is no need to be harder on yourself than needed—you’re probably your own harshest critic.

A Booster for Empathy

Experiencing rejection firsthand gives you a doctorate degree in the empathy department. The next time you see a friend going through a similar situation, you can be a shoulder to cry on or a sounding board. Because, honestly, who can understand the pain of rejection better than someone who’s been served the same cold dish (yes, revenge is the dish that’s best served cold, but it works here as well)?

Every rejection saves you precious time. It acts as a sieve to filter out the not-so-compatible for you. So, for every “thanks, but no thanks,” try to think of it as there will be someone better suited for you in the future.

Remember, It’s a Numbers Game

We promise we are not reducing romance to math, but bear with us. For every rejection, there’s a “hell, yeah” around the corner. It’s only a matter of time and persistence. So, put on that dating warpaint and remember that dating is kinda like fishing: sometimes you get a bite and it’s a minnow, but every once in a while, you’ll get a bigger fish.


Forms of Romantic Rejection

Dating rejection comes in many forms—some are subtle, and some are outright aggressively brutal.  While there is no blueprint for rejection in all its forms, here are some of the common types:

ghosting graphic


When someone suddenly cuts off all communication without any explanation. One day you’re texting about weekend plans and the next day? Radio silence.


Benching (or Breadcrumbing)

When someone keeps you on their “bench” by feeding you sporadic messages to keep you interested, but they never fully commit to furthering the relationship.

slow fade

Slow Fading

Not as abrupt as ghosting. The person gradually reduces contact until it ceases entirely. It’s like watching your phone battery die—slow and inevitable.

abrupt no

The Direct “No”

This is a straightforward rejection where someone tells you directly they’re not interested. Holy ouch—but at least you know.

friend zoned

The Friend Zone

When someone expresses they like you, but just as a friend, not in a romantic way.

evasive action

The Evasive Action

They’re always “busy” or have some excuse whenever you try to make plans. If they’re suddenly busier than Ticketmaster during a queue for Taylor Swift pre-sale tix, they’re just not that into you.

delayed response

Delayed Responses

They used to reply in seconds, but now it takes days. And when they do, it’s just a one-word text like “lol” or “nice.” Or even worse, they do a Tapback thumbs up or “ha ha.”

over enthusiastic

Over-Enthusiastic Rejection

They’re too eager to let you know they’re seeing someone else or they just started a relationship—it’s as if they were just bubbling with glee to rub it in your face.


The Sympathy Reject

They’re so sorry, they feel so bad, they wish things were different. Essentially, they’re trying to reject you while also pitying you.

silent treatment

The Silent Treatment

In person, they avoid eye contact, give short answers, and generally make it clear they’re not into the interaction, hoping you catch the drift. Here’s a thought: don’t see the person if you have no interest in interacting with them!


The Redirect

They might try to set you up with someone else or constantly talk about other people who would be “perfect” for you. No thanks, we have friends and moms who take care of that.

Shake it Off

Dating setbacks and rejections don’t just roll off your back—sometimes, it takes some effort and creative distractions. Here are some things that could help you shake it off.

talk it out

Talk It Out

A problem shared is a problem halved. Talk about it with those close to you—they’ve no doubt been there, done that, and can offer a comforting perspective.

stay active

Stay Active

Physical activity releases endorphins, those nice hormones. So, go out dancing, hit the gym, take a yoga class, or just take a stroll or a run.

self care focus

Focus on Self-Care

Do something that makes you feel good. Spa day, reading, cooking your favorite meal, or rewatching a fav movie or tv show. Treat your self!

Keep perspective

Keep Perspective

Remember, rejection is often more about the other person’s feelings, circumstances, or preferences than about you. It doesn’t define your worth.



Writing out your feelings can be therapeutic. It provides clarity and allows you to process emotions in a more constructive way, and is less destructive than breaking stuff (although that feels good, we don’t recommend it).

social media stalking

Resist Social Media Stalking

DO NOT look at their social media. We repeat, do not look at their socials. It’s a deep, dark rabbit hole you don’t want to fall into, trust us.

professional help

Seek Professional Help

If you are having a hard time with rejection and it’s impacting your self-esteem or mental health, go to therapy. There’s no shame in seeking help and therapy is great because it’s an impartial party—they are professional listeners who can give you useful tools on how to cope.

keep dating

Keep Dating

It might sound banana pants, but sometimes the best way to move on is to jump back onto the dating horse. All dates, good and bad, are a learning experience.

rejection playlist

Create a Rejection Playlist

Music is the ultimate healer. Make a playlist; it can be angry, happy, sad, or a psychotic mix of all three! Blast it and blow your speakers out (maybe do this in your car so you don’t anger or annoy your neighbors).

remember past resilence

Remember Past Resilience

Think about all of the times you’ve faced rejection before (in any aspect of life) and how you got past them. You’re much stronger than you think you are.


Just know that everyone, and we mean everyone, faces rejection at some point, from authors who’ve received hundreds of publisher rejections to actors who’ve been turned down for countless roles.

It’s as unavoidable as losing that one sock after laundry that is now mateless. By the way, where do those socks get to??

With time, perspective, and the right mindset, you can transform those setbacks into stepping stones. After all, resilience is nothing but a bougie word for getting back up and, like Jay-Z says, brushing that dirt off your shoulder and knowing that it wasn’t you; it was them.

Molly Davis
Molly Davis

Molly is an East Coast writer who lives on West Coast time. She’s been in the journalism field for over 20 years — newspapers are her first love but she’s finding digital media to be just as fun and challenging as print! When she’s not giving therapist-quality dating advice, she’s curled up watching movies, reading, or volunteering at local dog shelters.