Opinions and Rants

A Gay Man’s Perception Of Rejecting & Rejection

Contributor’s Note: Another updated entry from my old blog. THIS IS NOT ADVICE. This is merely me sharing my experiences with you all. Enjoy!

Again I’m using my old college buddy as a point of reference since some of the stuff he says and does makes me continually laugh because it’s so asinine but he doesn’t mind. Plus if he keeps this up, I’ll be able to one day write a great biopic or sketch comedy. It’s money either way so I’m game. Anyway, he tells me about an old friend of his that he secretly has been pining for since they first met and since his latest snafu in the love department he finally summoned up enough courage to tell her how he felt. Unfortunately, while she appreciated the gesture, she did not return the feelings and wanted to keep the relationship as is. He was distraught, and after he had gotten used to it (and after asking all of our friends about it every 5 minutes) we talked about the rejection, both when it happens to us and when we have to reject the advances of others.

He has this mindset that the dreaded “friend zone” is the equivalent of being called an ugly troll that needs to take up residency at the most dank mossy bridge nearby. I get that no one wants to be rejected, but that is a bit drastic, even for him. He asked why it stung like this and was their differences with gay men compared to his experiences with women and honestly through our comparisons we couldn’t find any major differences. It hurts being rejected and it really REALLY sucks turning someone down with genuine feelings.

While he prefers to drink until he forgets her name, I of course have a different approach to when it happens with the guys I like and gently rejected by or vice versa. So over the years, this is what I’ve learned as a gay man managing these sometimes delicate relationships when aspirations are dashed. Keep in mind this isn’t advice for you to live by just my own observations that I’ve learned that you might find hilarious.

Love yourself. 
I can’t stress that enough. Usually when people write the observations about their life the put their strongest argument last to drive their point home but this was paramount to me. This to me will always be the most important thing I tell myself daily. The good, bad, sometimes ugly aspects of who I am I have to love completely. It seems like the first thing we do is degrade ourselves to the lowest living form on Earth when rejection happens. And I feel as gay men we do this so much more often because a lot of times we judge what we see. Try as much as you like to deny this, but to an extent everyone is vain. Admitting that I believe is the first step in ensuring that it’s not the ONLY thing that attracts you to someone is their looks. I’ve second guessed myself to the point that I didn’t like myself at times because despite my tall frame, I critique my body to what everyone else looks like too. I learned that loving my flaws first and foremost is one of the best things I could ever do for myself.

Laugh at the ridiculous situation. 
Really what can you do other laugh about it? The long winded awkward pauses whenever he says your name. The small “just because” surprises that you time out perfectly to make sure you don’t seem desperate or creepy. How you eagerly will agree with every single thing he says even though you don’t agree at all and then show a passionate albeit very recent love for anything and everything he likes. Even algae farming becomes sexy to you (how embarrassing and possibly unhygienic but he was sooo cute) just to be near him. How you lose all sense of direction and walk face first into a glass panel window (no comment). All of this so that he’ll make this great connection that’ll lead to some great romance. It’s funny and kind of cute so laugh at yourself. It was one of the fastest ways I was able to move on.

Learn from these situations 
Another great thing I learned about these encounters other than how painfully awkward I am when I like someone is to be honest with myself when I start feeling this way. No point in hiding how I feel as it’s bound to surface eventually. Of course I’m not talking about some small crush. I’m talking about real feelings of not being able to stop thinking about them. Wanting to spend time with them, wondering if my ass looks perfect the next time we see each other. And if these feeling surface at the beginning of our friendship to let him know. Learn that it’s okay to feel that way and it’s okay that he doesn’t feel the same way.

Don’t get mad at the friend for putting you because of rejection unless… 
Look it’s not their fault that they don’t have more amorous feelings of fires by log cabins, long walks on the beach or exchanging small trinkets of affection. Don’t take the actual frustration of the situation out on the person. Being rejected is not fun. And I learned not to lead that person on that you have to reject. No flirting with them, no accepting their gifts. No leading on whatsoever. But if they’re your friend, appreciate that friend and don’t turn a potential life long relationship into a badly made angsty after school program because of the situation. I learned there are exceptions however. I learned that if you feel like it would be too hard for you to let go of your attraction then let them go. No need to repeatedly show up at their bedroom window blasting some cliched 80s montage (they’ll probably call the cops too). The other reason brings me to the next self tip…

Don’t Dwell 
It’s hard enough when you have to deal with unrequited love and it’s even worse when you see the person frequently. Listen to all the emo music to release the pain. Hell screech out some Bjork if the rhythm moves you but you’ve got to stop staying in this mode of black walls with spray painted poetry. Leave that for the Laugh Factory or guilt trips the next time you need money from the parentals not an all day every day situation.

Have Fun 
Rent a movie, hang out with friends, do some Jager while doing karaoke, ponder why Dane Cook even has a career in comedy. Whatever it was that you enjoyed outside of these affections for this friend. The point is simple. Do the things you love and that love will return. Make the effort, fake it until you make it applies so much in this situation.

Rinse and Repeat
It’s not going to dissipate overnight (God I wish it did) and I learned that it wasn’t just one thing and everything was back to normal. Again, of course things most likely won’t be the same after you’ve said how much you like the guy. So I kept doing all of the things I listed over and over until it wasn’t routine, it was how I really felt. Content. Hopeful. Status Quo (my quirky way of saying normal). The greatest victories are the long fought ones and I wholeheartedly believe this.

Take note that this is my fun guide and what’s helped me navigate this awkward thing called dating in the gay world. All of these come from my own experience so when dealing with your own then make your own rules and boundaries for what is and isn’t acceptable. Just wanted to share my unique and funny (well it is to me) perspective.

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Sly

Sly Merritt has a BA in psychology/sociology. MA in clinical psychology. He's a flip flop wearing hippy with a peaceloving mindset. Even pacifists like him know when it's time to do all we can for LGBTQ equality. Sly's views are all opinions not advice.

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