Rejection – I don’t think most people enjoy it.
It is not a great feeling to be turned down or ignored when you speak up.
The experiment described in this article shows how a small rejection can upset you and even leave a great scar onto your mentality.
It is true that most of us, if not all, are sensitive to the reaction of people around. Some people may not look like being bothered by the new people and place at all, but indeed quite a few of them are as nervous as you are.
Living as a foreigner for years, I noticed an interesting thing. When you are apparently different from the others, you get either a complete rejection or warm consideration. Why?
The rejection comes from their fear. They are afraid of the unknown things. The fear makes them choose to stay out of it. They are not necessarily ignoring or attacking you but can’t help keeping the distance to avoid the chance of contact.
On the other hand, some people expect the obvious foreigner should have some trouble to fit in the new place. They approach you, sometime friendly and sometime politely, to show their welcome. They don’t know you either but they try to understand you. They are quite patient and generous to your not-so-developed language and different attitude.
This later case is actually a privilege to a foreigner like me. They take time to digest what I really mean when I try to say something.
Think about it, how much attention do you usually pay to someone just like you? If he looks just like you, knows the town like you and speak the same language with the same accent, do you give the same amount of thought to what he says? Do you carefully listen to your husband or child?
We often assume a familiar person to you should know what you know. It becomes an expectation. But when your expectation is not matching the reality of the other’s, she feels she is not understood. If you don’t realize it, she feels she is not seen or heard.
This results the feeling of rejection. And rejection is painful.
I sometimes forget to listen to my child more carefully. I just say ‘Okay’, ‘Right’, etc without really understanding what he tries to tell me. Same thing happens with my husband. They get upset. No wonder because they get rejected by me. They are in pain.
It’s impossible to pay attention fully all the time, but at least I should remember – although I don’t mean it, people feel they are rejected.
The only thing we can do is to keep trying to communicate each other.