Getting shot down is never any fun for anyone. It tends to suck because rejection isn’t fun for anyone, from the guy getting a basketball swatted mid-shot, to that guy at the bar mustering all his courage to approach the object of his desire. But, as one friend always said, “To become better at something, you gotta put yourself in a situation and be allowed to fail.” What the heck???
You see, my friend talks about “the opportunity to fail” as though it’s some great new age thinking. I mean, who likes to fail at anything at all? It seems counterproductive, in my opinion. But I came around eventually. With respect to being in charge of people in my job I had to allow people the chance to succeed or fail so that they could advance themselves in their work. The old adage is true that one learns more from failure than they do from success. Not only is that true in the work place, but it’s true in the dating world as well.
So I’ve been shot down three times in the last month trying to get my groove on, so to speak. The first time was embarrassing, the second time was wrenching, and the third time was “eh, oh well.”
You see, I recently suspended/cancelled my online dating profiles. There just wasn’t anything going on, but in addition to that I had a feeling that I was relying too much on internet dating services and not enough on my own brand of charm; which some describe as creepe’ neuveaux. I’m not sure I’m down with that assessment, kids. So in cancelling my profiles, I wanted to be more assertive out in public and create connections in a more “organic” way.
One, two, three strikes you’re out!
With this new sense of legendary assertiveness I was ready to take on the random single women of the world, the real world that is. My first opportunity was at a business park. I had a meeting with one of my vendors. They lady working the parking-lot booth was pretty cute. I asked her on the spot if she was interested in a drink or coffee, shortly after blurting to her, “Hello. How are you? It sure is hot, isn’t it?” I wouldn’t describe her look as a scowl, per se, but it was a look of clear disinterest. She simply replied, “No” and proceeded to open the gate and finished by saying “Have a nice day.” Ouch. Perhaps I was too eager on that one. It was also an awkward situation, I don’t know the girl and I was two questions into it before I asked for her number… Making more meaningful conversation to warm things up might be a good thing, I thought to myself.
My next opportunity came at the bar with a few friends. We were there to see our buddy play. Our waitress was very nice and personable, though, it is kind of their job and such. But who cares, I thought. After a number of witty exchanges, I do ask the bartender out. I get a phone number from her. It turns out to be legit, as I called it later. But when the waitress answers the phone she explains that she doesn’t date customers from the bar and states some level-headed reasoning. I have no problem with this. I’m just irritated that she gave me the number at all. It reminds me of that management tactic where a manager builds up their employee before they discipline them. So I’m now 0 for 2. At this point, I’m thinking that hitting on the ‘help’ isn’t such a good idea.
My third opportunity that arose came at a concert. I saw this woman talking with her friend and my eye just caught her. As I was thinking what I was going to say, her friend leaves and that’s when I approach this woman. I open by saying “hello.” She says hi back and we exchange names and just kind of chat about the show (there was an intermission) and we spent a few minutes chatting and what not. As the band sets up for their next set, I casually ask for that woman’s phone number. To which she exclaims, “Sure!” That’s when she fumbles through her purse for something. I have my phone ready to take down her number, but I’m curious what she’s searching for. She finally gives me a crumpled business card with her number on it. I was discouraged by this. You see, I’m of the opinion that if a girl wants you to have her number and wants you to call, she will either write it down for you or give you the number to take it down on your phone and then you call each other to confirm. Ultimately, I think that if I woman gives you a business card, more times than not she doesn’t want to hear from you. Sure enough, I call a couple days later and leave a message. I never hear from her.
0 for 3; I know: Waaaahhhh! I’m not crying over it, though. Each of these setbacks has been a positive learning experience. The third time I was calm and relaxed was able to initiate conversation, even though nothing came of it, I felt I was still going in the right direction. If the magic isn’t there then it’s not there. Sure, it would have been nicer if the gal just told me she wasn’t interested. But that’s uncomfortable and I’m sure she was considering my feelings, too.
The point is that to grow, sometimes you gotta fail. At this rate I’m on a gold mine of personal growth, a regular 49er, if you will. It’s easy to become discouraged, but don’t let the rejection get you down. Learn from it and pinpoint where you can improve. For instance, I think I learned that being too eager and hitting on a woman at work (not street walkers, kids) are probably not a good thing.
Ultimately a person needs to step outside of their comfort zone and be okay with failure. It happens and what’s most important is how a person responds to that failure. We just have to keep at it.
(This post originally appeared as a guest post on Tornado Dating's Blog, which I highly recommend you check out.)