One day I was at the gym with a couple of my siblings. I left my phone in the locker room. While I was working out, someone called me and left a voice mail. I listened. It went like this:
"Hey Lady, it's Stephen. I was just calling to see if I could make you dinner on Friday night. Call me back or send me a text and let me know."
Stephen was in my ward, I had interacted with him a few times and I just wasn't interested. I usually go on at least a first date, but there are occasions when I know I'm not interested. On those occasions I don't beat around the bush because I don't want to lead him on or waste my time (or his). So I replied with a text (he gave me the option in his message, otherwise I would have called):
"I'm sorry, I won't be able to, thanks."
*note that I did not add: "Let's shoot for another day, I have plans" or "could we reschedule? That sounds fun."
He texted back: "Once I get my schedule sorted out, would it be okay if we try for next week?"
Argh. I was torn. Should I just be brief and say "no, I don't think so." OR should I not respond? But a lady is direct and kind, and a gentleman understands this--he's tough anyway, he can handle rejection.
After consulting my oh-so-wise brother, I replied to Stephen's query:
"Thank you for for the invitation, it's very flattering, but I'm not interested. Thanks though!"
Direct, but not belittling, and I'm not ignoring him (hey! He gets some points, it takes guts to ask someone out, I should know....)
his reply. "np" See, he took it like a man.
...or so I thought.
The following Sunday I saw him at church (from a distance). After Sacrament Meeting I went to Sunday school. I sat down and less than 2 minutes later Stephen sat down behind me. He had followed me. I gave him a smile when he sat down, and my friend Nate, sitting next to me, turned to talk to me.
After Sunday school I noticed Stephen lingering on the edge of the room. I wonder, did he want to say something to me? I couldn't imagine what he'd have to say. He turned his face to the wall and leaned his head dejectedly against it. Poor fellow, he looked crushed. But he never approached me and I let it be.
The thought that impelled me to share this story is this: Stephen seemed to be disappointed by rejection--his was a pretty normal reaction. I understand that rejection is hard--I have certainly had my fair share. But what I've realized, after I've had a good pout, is this: I want someone who wants me. I want someone who likes spending time with me. And I should feel the same way about them. I mean, I can just imagine how tiresome life would be if I had to keep convincing my boyfriend or spouse that I'm the one. It would be exhausting. You shouldn't have to persuade someone to love you--know why? Because YOU are awesome.
So, Stephen, I doubt you'll read this, and who knows--you're probably already over this whole situation, but I just wanted to say: Don't worry! Yes, this is rejection and it's hard. But I'm just a speed bump in the road to finding the girl of your dreams; now you're one step closer to finding the girl who wants to be with you. I'm not that girl, but she's out there. Just keep keepin' on, she'll turn up.
Best of luck,