mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why rejection is a perfectly reasonable thing to fear...

While bsom and I were driving back and forth from training, we had several deep philosophical conversations on subjects like careers and women. Of course, being guys, they went something like this:

mad anthony: this is what i think

bsom: that's dumb.

mad anthony: no it's not.

bsom; yes it is. are you retarded?

One subject that came up was my inability to get dates, at least partly caused by my fear of rejections. bsom commented that it was a pretty stupid thing to be afraid of, and I agreed - after all, if you get rejected, you aren't really any worse off than you were before.

But I've thought about it since then, and now I disagree with myself. When you try and fail, you have lost something - the dream and possibility of success.

If you can't have sucess in the present, it's nice to still have the possibility of sucess in the future. It's what gets you through difficult things that have a cost now but a potential future in the payoff - school, saving money, losing weight. Sure, you might be overworked/not able to buy things you want/ hungry, but you have the future where your efforts will be rewarded.

I tend to think the same way about dating. Let's say you find someone you think is attractive. Before you ask her out, there is the possibility that she will say yes - you can start to think maybe she will say yes, and you will have fun, and it will be great. Once you ask - and get shot down - you are worse off. You no longer have that fantasy. Instead of the possibility that something will come of it, you have the cold hard truth that it won't.

Not only that, the more times it happens, the more it seems that the likely outcome will be rejection, which further diminishes the desire to continue to act. After all, the optomist will point out that if you don't try, you will never succeed. Even if you always get rejected, if you never ask there is no possibility of success.

This is, of course, true. But it's still pretty hard to overcome the sense that you will most likely get shot down again.

I browse a couple of online dating sites. One thing that all of these sites have is a "favorites" list - sort of an eBay watch list for members of the opposite sex. I will regularly be browsing, find someone who seems sort of interesting, and add them to my favorites. Much like my eBay watch list, I seldom bid. I'll usually talk myself out of most of them, for reasons both real and imagined. Every now and then, I convince myself to contact someone - and nothing comes of it. Most of the dating sites have "see who has viewed my profile", so I can send an email, then watch the profile list to see if the target has viewed it - and once she has, and I get no return email, I know I've been shot down yet again.

At least when the profiles sit on my watch list - freshly scrubbed faces staring at me - there is the possibility of a yes. Once I hit the send button, a definite no seems to follow.


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