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How to Help a Friend Cope With Rejection

Three Parts:

Rejection is a universal human experience, and yet it’s surprisingly painful. If your friend is going through rejection, you can help support him through attentive listening, and putting his rejection into perspective. For some people, rejection can trigger depression; knowing the signs of clinical depression can help you better support your friend as he copes.


Being a Good Listener

  1. Don’t offer feedback if your friend hasn't asked for it.If your friend has just been rejected, she may not want to hear the things she could improve on in order to improve her odds next time. While there may be things that she’s said or done that contributed to the rejection, or her even if her job loss or her relationship with the boyfriend wasn't ideal, unsolicited advice may be difficult for your friend to benefit from at this time.
    • For example, this isn’t the time to remind her that she spent a lot of time complaining about the job she just lost, or the man who just broke up with her.
    • Rejection can hurt regardless of the circumstance, so being a good listener is an effective way to help a friend cope with this initial sting.
    • If your friend says that she doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong, and asks you for help figuring it out, then you might offer a gentle suggestion.
  2. Help your friend reframe the rejection.You don’t want to be too quick to talk about the “opportunity for growth” inherent in a rejection, but at the same time you might help your friend find ways to benefit from the experience. There are always positive aspects to any situation. Sometimes it takes a friend to help you find them.
    • For example, if she didn’t get the job she wanted, now she’ll be able to attend the family vacation she’d been looking forward to.
    • Being single means having more freedom. Having a story rejected for publication means being able to submit it somewhere else.
  3. Be willing to sit in silence.If your friend was deeply wounded by the rejection, she may not have words to articulate how she feels. She might just want to sit quietly with you. Being present and showing that you’re ready to listen when she’s ready to talk will be enough.
    • You can always offer a hug, or a gentle supportive touch.
    • Talking about something other than the rejection, or doing an activity together are other ways you can offer support for a friend who’s not ready to talk about her feelings yet. For example, try going on a hike, or playing video games together.

Putting the Rejection Into Perspective

  1. Give your friend credit for trying.Rejection is a side-effect of trying something new and brave. Even if it ultimately didn’t work out — the guy stopped calling, she didn’t get the role in the play, she was turned down for a promotion — she deserves credit for trying to get what she wanted.
    • It can help to remind her of the chances she had of rejection. For example, writers often paper their walls with rejection letters because they are so common. Even famous writers collect hundreds of rejection slips before publication.
    • If the rejection was for something that had a low chance of rejection — an anticipated job offer, for instance — you can remind her that although she didn’t get it this time, she can try again.
  2. Remind your friend that rejection is common.After all, everyone experiences rejection, repeatedly, over the course of a lifetime. Going out for the team, applying for colleges, trying to get the perfect job, or asking out the person you’ve been into all summer are all opportunities for rejection.
    • Even though every rejection feels personal, most of the time it’s just a matter of bad timing.
    • It really doesn’t matter how smart, funny or talented you are — everyone will experience rejection. If it helps, find people who’ve eventually succeeded and look at the number of rejections they experienced.
  3. Consider sharing your own rejection experiences.It can be helpful to remind your friend that he's not the only one who’s had rejection. Sharing your own rejections — the jobs you were fired from, the rejection slips you’ve received, the relationships that didn’t work out — can help your friend feel more normal and less alone.
  4. Talk about your friend’s good qualities.While your friend may have qualities that could use improvement, she certainly has positive qualities too. Remind her of what others appreciate about her. Offer specific examples that she can’t argue with.
    • For example, reminding your friend of her great sense of humor right after she’s cracked a dark joke about her situation can help her notice the truth of your statement.
    • Don’t go overboard on compliments, or say things that you don’t really believe. Your friend will pick up on your insincerity.
  5. Don’t encourage your friend to keep hoping.Being able to accept the rejection will help your friend move on to the next chapter in his life. If you’re helping hims to cope with the rejection, take the rejection at face value.
    • No one can predict the future. Maybe the person offered the job will refuse it, and he’s next in line. Or maybe his ex will change her mind. But holding out hope for a dramatic turnaround isn’t productive or practical.
    • You don’t have to insist that he definitely won’t be offered the job, or that his ex won’t be changing her mind. Simply stay quiet, without agreeing. He’ll get the message.
  6. Help your friend see that rejection isn’t personal.Rejection is a universal experience: some people will like us, some people won’t, and there’s very little we can do about it. Not every person we fall in love with will feel the same way; we won’t get every job that we want.
    • Encourage your friend to divert her attention to someone who might return her affection.
    • Remind your friend of what she’s done recently that has earned positive attention and praise.
  7. Look for ways to lift his spirits.What are some of the things that your friend used to enjoy before the rejection? Find ways to get him interested in some of these things again. Make a point of spending time together, going on hikes, watching sports games together, or going to movies.
    • If the rejection meant a loss of income, your friend may be financially stressed. Make sure that you’re finding things to do together that don’t require money, which may only make him feel worse.
    • Try to avoid doing things together that might trigger memories of the rejection.

Watching for Signs of Depression

  1. Look for any significant changes in behavior.Some of the signs of depression include getting angry about small things, or being uncharacteristically moody and irritable. Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping too much or not being able to sleep, can signal depression.
    • Your friend may not seem like herself, even long after she should be “over” the rejection.
    • You may notice loss of interest in things that she once enjoyed.
  2. Notice increased interest in death.If your friend is starting to talk about death and dying, listen carefully. Saying things like, “I might as well be dead,” or “Why don’t I just end it all and put everyone out of their misery,” may signal suicidal thoughts, even if said lightly.
    • If you believe your friend is in any risk of harming himself (or someone else) you should talk to him directly about this. Ask him, “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?” He may deny it, but he may be grateful for the opportunity to talk.
    • If you feel that he’s unsafe and in a crisis situation, you should call 911 for emergency support.
    • Encourage him to seek help. If your friend is suffering from clinical depression, he may not be able to recover without treatment. Talk to him about what you’ve noticed, and explain why you’re concerned for him.
    • Let him know that you’re willing to help him make an appointment, or attend a support group.
    • Remember that you can’t force him to seek help. If he’s not ready to seek treatment, let him know that you’ll be available to help him whenever she is ready.
  3. Stay alert for warning signs of suicide.The warning signs of suicide are too often recognized only in hindsight, but they’re surprisingly common. If your friend is experiencing untreated depression following her experience of rejection, she may be at risk of suicide. If you notice significant increase in the signs below, talk to a medical professional or counselor immediately. If this is an emergency situation, call 911. Some warning signs include:
    • Obtaining the means to commit suicide, such as stockpiling medicines (for an overdose) or purchasing a gun.
    • Sharply increased use of drugs or alcohol.
    • Giving away one’s belongings, or taking urgent steps to get all affairs in order, when there’s no apparent need to do so.
    • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
    • Doing very risky or self-destructive things.
    • Showing signs of personality changes, severe agitation or anxiety, especially in combination with some of the signs listed above.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    My friend has a crush on this girl. Because of trust issues the girl keeps on rejecting my friend, yet my friend keeps going. As a friend seeing there is no chance at all, how can I help him move on?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You just need to be upfront and honest with him, maybe try and find him another girl who is actually in to him, since what he is doing now is not getting him anywhere.
  • Question
    My best friend has a crush on a guy, but he doesn't know that she likes him. He is nice to her, but he does annoy her and tell her "you're ugly" and breaks her heart sometimes. How do I make her feel better?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Well, first of all, make sure she doesn't take this guy's insults to heart. If a guy is low enough to bait someone by being nice, then randomly be hurtful (even if he's just joking), his opinion shouldn't be valued too highly. Second of all, to keep her heart from being broken, have her reevaluate why she even likes this guy. Also, encourage her to mentally change her attitude from "I have a crush on/really like this guy" to "I'm curious about this guy. He might be kind of interesting". This takes the pressure off of her heart and makes her less emotionally committed to seeing something happen.
  • Question
    What if my friend says he doesn't want to ask anyone out ever again, because he's tired of being rejected? He gets rejected a lot, and I just want to help.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Tell him to try and find someone who has the same talents or interests he has, it might be easier for them to bond. It's often better to be friends first and let feelings develop naturally. Remind your friend that having a significant other is not the most important thing in the world and you will always be there for him.
  • Question
    My best friend just got rejected by the girl he loves, and he wants to move on.how can I help him? He's also at risk of depression, and she was the thing helping him. What can I do?
    Community Answer
    Hi! Try talking to him,he was probably too good for that girl anyways! Remind him that you'll always be there for him and make him feel safe and comfortable.I things start to decline,try talking to a doctor or GP.Hope he feels better soon! Good Luck!
  • Question
    I sort of made my friend feel heartbroken by asking her crush if he liked her. He said no, and I feel like it's my fault.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If she asked you to confirm it, it's not your fault. If you just did that without asking her, then the fact that he doesn't like her is not your fault, but you shouldn't have done that. Regardless, it's normal for her to feel sad. Try to make her laugh, or take her out to do something fun, like a movie or ice cream. If she seems upset with you, apologize for talking to him about her without her permission.
  • Question
    I have a friend, and he liked my other friend. When he told her that he liked her, she rejected him and said rude things like, "I hate you, you're annoying." He is heartbroken. What do I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Reassure him that he will be okay and he will find someone else. Invite him out to do something fun to take his mind off the rejection. Try to make him laugh to cheer him up. You should also have a talk with your other friend and let them know that they should try to be more polite in the future.
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Date: 06.12.2018, 15:09 / Views: 71243