What to Do When Rejection Is Unclear
- Kris Swiatocho and Cliff Young
- 2016 21 Jul
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
I am a 30-something Christian man and I am unsure about whether I have just been 'friend-zoned' after asking for a second date. I recently went for a drinks-date with a woman from my church. I later rang her up asking her out for dinner, having strongly indicated that I was about to do so. Her response was to not directly answer but invite me to a group lunch she was hosting after church on Sunday. In itself, this sounded to me like a gentle rejection, but she gave perfectly plausible excuses for why she couldn't plan ahead and said something positive-sounding about potential future beyond the lunch.
I went to the lunch and we both spoke to various people, but not to each other that much. I am unsure as to whether take myself as rejected or to try again - and if I try again, what my next step should be. She seems like a lovely woman who is well worth getting to know better, but if she was trying to gently reject me its not kind to her (or likely to do me any favours) for me to continue pursuing her. Should I cut my losses, or should I give it another try?
The best things in life usually take time – especially in the case of relationships.
Still, it seems like we’re becoming instantaneous thin-skinned people. We want things now, whether it’s information, answers or even a “like.” We’ve discovered ways to hurry or expedite almost everything without putting in the time and the effort to work, wait or allow for it to blossom on its own.
We often try too hard to analyze a situation (a text or a “tweet”) too harshly rather than just letting it happen more naturally….and let God do what He is going to do.
I’ve often encouraged singles to be open and honest in their feelings to know whether a relationship is going somewhere or not. However, as we get older, some of us become more cautious and deliberate as we proceed into a relationship.
You didn’t receive a confirmation for a second date, but your interest did invite you to the luncheon. Maybe she wanted to see how you were in a group setting, whether you were comfortable with others, how you were with her friends, if you supported her activity or just to observe you from a distance.
No one likes someone who is desperate or too pushy.
Calling a one drink-date as the “losses” you are cutting makes it sound like you’re neither serious nor willing to put in the effort it will take for a long-term meaningful relationship. What (I perceive) you are seeking takes time, energy, relentless pursuit and heart. If you don’t think this woman is worth it, if you’re not in a position for a serious relationship or willing to put in the work for it, let it go.
Otherwise, give her a little time and space, allow her to make the transition into her new job, and use this short period apart as an opportunity to continue to become the person God wants you to be, then pursue her by asking her to a group or casual activity.
Yes, it sounds very much like a “gentle rejection.” Your steps were great in that you had a simple date that would normally lead to a more serious date. Now the questions I have that were not answered from your letter were how long you had been friends if at all? Have you done other group things with her? The reason I ask is if she asked you to a group lunch first, it may be her way of saying, I really don’t know you well enough to have a serious date. And to be honest, that is ok. Sure, we will never know if the “one” is the right person without some one-on-one time. However, so that both sides are ready for that next step, we do need some group events to get to know each other better.
So for you as well as others who may have gotten a bit ahead, I would say slow down. Spend the extra time getting to know them in a large group, then a smaller group setting. There are a ton of things we can find out about a person before we take a step in going on a date. We can find out how they interact with others, if they are on time to events, how they spend their time and energy, how they serve in the church, what kind of family they have—or if they are a single parent family already, if they have been married before, where they work—even their work ethic. We can also find out how much time they spend with the Lord.
Then after you have been around them in a few group settings that might lead to tiny group conversations where you can find out more about them, you can then (after much prayer ) [Jeremiah 10:23: Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.] go the next step. A step where you both now have the background and groundwork that helps you make the next step.
So, is your potential future with her gone? Not necessarily. Go ahead and continue to seek connecting with her in group settings. Allow her to see more about who you are and vice versa. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring you together for the next step. Then you will know this is the Lord’s desire and not just yours.
Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of four books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
Publication date: July 21, 2016