Rejection and Redirection: Students cope with unrequited love


By Sarah Aaron

Ariella Frommer, Staff Writer

*Students granted anonymity because of discomfort talking about rejection publicly.

UD students date each other for three reasons: romance, physical attractiveness, and popularity, Chad* (9) said. Popularity is one of the strongest driving factors in someone’s decision when they get asked out. “If you do not have a higher social status than the person, it is ten times more likely to be a rejection.”

Abraham* (11) waited until the summer to ask out girls, he said. “I’d already predicted a loss ahead of time, so I could avoid awkward circumstances at school if I got it done at the end of the year.” He asked out three girls and was rejected three times, he said. “The most recent time hurt the most because it was more unforeseen and we hung out every day that summer.”

When, Joseph* (11) asked his crush out in December, she danced around the word, ‘no,’ he said. “I did not feel upset, because I kind of expected that,” he said. “Honestly, it felt kind of great afterward because there was a pressure lifted off of my back.”

Chad got a similar reaction when he asked someone out in seventh grade, he said. “She said ‘It’s not the right time and I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.’”

On the rejector side, Courtney* (11) rejects guys with white lies so they feel less bad, she said. “I sometimes say, ‘oh, I’m not ready for a relationship right now.’” Courtney changed her mind after a guy continued to ask her, she said. “I took back my ‘no’ because it’s been a while, he had a glow up, and I was bored.”

However, Joseph’s rejection has not disincentivized him from asking girls out in the future. “Rejection means nothing. You’re asking someone something and they say no,” he said. “But, in general, I’ve tried to lay off from involving myself in dating culture just to work on myself.”

Fear of rejection has prevented Chloe* (11) from asking her crush out, she said. “I’m in a situation where I am trying to get close with him, but I haven’t actually tried to make anything happen yet because I’m not sure if he likes me.”

Jason* (11) decided to face his rejection fears, he said. “When you do it enough times, you break out of that anxiety.”

Unlike Joseph, Abraham’s experiences with rejection have dampened his confidence in asking girls out, he said. “I’m not going chasing for at least a couple months.”

There is a lot of vulnerability involved when asking someone out which may render someone insecure or awkward, Joseph said. He wants people to know, however, that the feeling of discomfort goes away. “You can still get along with people just fine, even if they say no to you.”

Others, like Luca Ruta (11) both reject people and get rejected, he said. “I know I am a very prized possession,” he said. When he got rejected, he knew his self-worth and was not discouraged by it.

To lower the chance of rejection, first figure out if your crush likes you back by looking at trends, like if they make eye contact with you, Joseph said. “Then, strike while the iron is hot, instead of laying in hot water.”

Sometimes people misinterpret being friendly as romantically liking someone, Valerie* (9) she said. After a person in her Latin class asked for her number to do homework together, he wanted to ask her out. “When I said no, he said ‘I thought you liked me. Why else would you give me your number?’”

Abraham’s advice would also be to ask the person out, he said. “If it is a no, you have some great gym motivation. If it’s a yes, you succeeded. So, I see this as a win-win both ways.”

The stigma around rejection at the school is harmful, Chad said. “If you’re caught being rejected, the news goes around really fast, and it’s really hard to stop that rumor.” Asking someone out if you like them should be more normalized, without the fear of gossip about rejection, Chad said. “We just created a culture where no one is allowed to express their feelings unless you are very confident and very sure of yourself, which is almost non-existent here.”