Why does rejection from a stranger hurt so much? Even the mere idea of a stranger’s rejection is enough to put off the most brazen of us.
But, the question is: why does it matter? A stranger is someone whom we don’t know. We don’t know her/his personality; perhaps s/he is a total jerk. We don’t know what is happening in their life. Perhaps they’ve just won the lottery? Or been fired from their jobs. We don’t even know their status: single, married, or ‘it’s complicated’.
So, if we go up to her/him and say: ‘That looks like an interesting drink. Would you recommend it?’, why would it matter if s/he retorts: ‘It’s called a beer. If you like beer, you might like it’. I give this example in a tongue in cheek way. But over the years of offering advice it’s become clear that many people would be upset by this flippant answer from a stranger. So again, I ask: ‘why’?
A stranger’s response, whether it’s positive or negative, has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them. So why do you assume that it does have something to do with you? Why do you think that perhaps you said the wrong thing, or you weren’t attractive enough, or any other reason you can create why a stranger didn’t respond in a way which pleases you? Does this mean that you are also going to accept every mood swing, bad day, or bad life of every person whom you encounter? Moreover, should other people have to accept this from you? No. You are responsible for your stuff, and they are responsible for theirs.
Look, most people will respond favourably to a friendly encounter and that is great. A few people won’t and that is also fine. But what you must remember is that in both cases, it has very little to do with you. Therefore, rejection from a stranger is no big deal.
Finally, think of this as how much you have invested in someone. If you ask out a stranger and they say ‘no’, you have invested nothing. Why should this even affect you? On the other hand, if after living with your partner for 6 months and they say they don’t love you anymore and want to move out, you are allowed to be a bit crushed. You have actually invested in this.
Imagine how many more possibilities there are with this new attitude about not caring if a stranger rejects you. Well, what are you waiting for?