10 Reasons Why Other People Reject You

by Amy on March 19, 2014


Back when I volunteered for Amnesty International I had a friend who was a member of the board. When he spoke at rallies it made people cry and laugh and give standing ovations. Afterwards people would flock to him like he was the Second Coming.

I think the reason we hit it off was because I didn’t think he was the Second Coming (we bickered like siblings).

But he was much older then me and I was a cute young thing…

One night while I was out in Seattle at a show with some friends, I recognized one of the young, hip members of the local Amnesty group playing in the band.

After the show I was excited to say hi. I remember it so vividly. He was standing there with another hip Amnesty dude. When I approached them to say hi neither of them looked at me.  I kept talking thinking maybe it was too loud in the club. But no response. In fact they completely ignored me and started talking to each other as if I wasn’t there. Eventually I caught on… Humiliated, I hurried back to my car to get out of there.

The point is that sometimes it’s not a hoax. Sometimes rejection is real and humiliating and painful.

The truth is we can’t control it. Some people will hate on us. And the bigger and bolder and more visible you are, the more likely it might happen.

Because you’re destined to be a rock star in your own unique way, I want you to grow your resilience around this form of inevitability. It helps to understand why people reject.

So here goes. In no particular order…

10 Reasons Why Other People Reject You

1.     To dodge shame

Brene’ Brown says “We’re so desperate to get out and stay out of shame that we’re constantly serving up the people around us as more deserving prey.”

The truth is we all screw up. But some people can’t look at their mistakes without making it mean they’re fundamentally flawed. Shame is a painful emotion so a lot of people dodge it by finding other people (YOU) to blame first.

2.   To avoid taking responsibility for their own shit

Here’s my theory on the story I shared above. Those guys who rejected me thought I was sleeping with my charismatic friend to get more opportunity at Amnesty. It’s just a theory. But if it’s true, the bottom line is they had some inner shit to deal with around achievement within that organization. Instead of having the awareness to look at that, they made the unconscious choice to take it out on me. True humanitarians take responsibility for their shit before taking it out on others.  [tweet that!]

3.   A twisted form of adoration

Karla McLaren says that “hatred is a twisted form of adoration.”

And for the longest time I just couldn’t wrap my mind around that one. But now I get it.

I have a friend who resented his sister-in-law. “She’s sanctimonious and hypocritical,” he’d say. A lot of coaches would have him looking at how HE is sanctimonious and hypocritical. Which is fine but what really shed light on the situation was when he realized that this quality of hers — speaking out about what she thinks is “right” — is truly something he had always wanted to do in his own way but never had.

So when she did her thing and it came off as “sanctimonious and hypocritical,” he turned it into a reason why it wasn’t okay for him to speak up.

So there was a part of himself he wanted to express. His sister-in-law reminded him of that. And because she wasn’t coming off well when she did her version, it triggered him — he made it mean it wasn’t okay to express himself. Oh the webs we weave.

4.   You make them feel bad

It’s not really you. It’s the fact that you’re so awesome. So shiny and bright or smart or accomplished or so good at ping pong… whatever! When you shine, they make this mean there’s something wrong with them. Reminds me of the time I was showing my husband a photo of my beautiful friend and his knee jerk reaction was to say, “You’re just as pretty!” As sweet as that might be, it comes from a place of scarcity. As if my friend’s beauty makes me somehow less beautiful… Not! So keep shining. If it brings up other people’s shit, it’s because they’re still attached to the old paradigm. Poor things.

5.    You annoy them

The other day I joined a new class and was asked to post an introduction to the Facebook group. So I shared why I joined and posted a link to my website and my quiz. I was promptly sent the Facebook guidelines and asked to take my links out. I can’t speak for this teacher but I can surmise that she sees this as marketing and thinks marketing on the group’s Facebook page is annoying.

Now personally I don’t agree. 1) Because my business is my life and I don’t think a personal introduction would be complete without a link to my work. And 2) I believe that I legitimately help people so posting those links was coming from a place of service. So I annoyed her. But I didn’t think what I did was wrong.(In respect though I did take the post down.)

Now there are other times when I annoy people on purpose. Perhaps you’re annoyed that I would challenge the idea that marketing is annoying. Well I’m intentionally trying to disrupt a way of thinking about marketing so it may be a bit annoying at first to people who are new to this concept. My goal is to makes these people think. This requires me to ruffle some feathers at times.

And then there are other times when I’m annoying because my message doesn’t resonate. And perhaps it never will. For me it’s kind of like the word “pleasure.” I cringe at that word. Maybe I’m frigid but I don’t want to hear about your orgasm or talk about your vagina. When I annoy people with my talk about brazen and my liberal use of the word “shit” it’s my hope that these annoyed people will go away and find some other thing that resonates.

6.   They’re lazy 

Martha Beck said this in The Joy Diet, “criticism is an alluring substitute for creation, because tearing things down, unlike building them up, really is as easy as falling off a stump. It’s blissfully simple to strike a savvy, sophisticated pose by attacking someone else’s creations, but the old adage is right: Any fool can burn down a barn. Building one is something else again.”

Enough said.

7.    You are no longer an energetic match with them 

I have a friend I’ve known for years. We used to be very close. But recently I found out she took a trip to Vegas with a mutual friend and didn’t invite me. In the past I would have been crushed. But the truth is I don’t like Vegas. I can’t stand slot machines. I don’t drink. And I go to bed at 8:30pm. I’m just not the wild and crazy gal I used to be. Which is totally fine by me but not so much of an energetic match with her. Relationships change. And that’s okay.

8.   You’re completely oblivious

A lot of you know that I recently “broke up” with alcohol because our relationship had gotten dysfunctional. But there are obviously still people in my life who drink. Which is fine. But the last time “these people” came over to my house they brought several bottles, discussed each bottle in detail, wondered if we ever wanted to go wine tasting and generally went on and on about booze for what seemed like an eternity while I tried to stay busy playing a game of Rush Hour in the corner. These people are a lot of fun but I’m just not at a place yet to have wine (my former love) be the center of the conversation. So I choose to keep my distance from these people. It’s not that they’re trying to be unkind, I just think they’re oblivious to the fact that not drinking is actually kind of hard for me.

9.   You need to check yourself

You’re not being cool. The best example of this that I can find in my life is when I realized that I had to break up with booze. I used it to get through the bedtime routine with my 3 kids. I thought it was helping me feel better during a hectic time of the day, but it was actually making me short tempered and irritable with me sweet kids. Now they didn’t reject me, but I think my behavior eventually would have had caused it in the long run. So I stopped. The point is that sometimes we’re just out of line.  The key here is to take shame and blame out of the equation and just take a closer look. Ask yourself as if you were your own coach: “how can I do better?” The only real way to grow is to be willing to face your mistakes and learn from them.

10.  They’re having a bad day

Monday was Saint Patrick’s Day. And I had a plan to make corned beef and cabbage for my family… until I pulled out the meat at 5pm and was informed by my husband that it takes 3 hours to cook. I was so pissed off! And the truth is I didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone for a good half hour. Sometimes people need some space. It has nothing to do with you.

So there you have it. 10 reasons why people reject you. I hope it puts things into perspective and lights a fire under your ass to be YOU uncensored.

Now it’s your turn! Tell me a rejection story in the comments below and use one of the items above to put it into perspective.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

amy davis March 20, 2014 at 9:19 pm

#7 “You are no longer an energetic match with them” gave me goose bumps all over my body!!! I have been struggling in my relationship with two very close and dear friends that I have know since our kiddos were babes (10 years ago). They were my life ring in the sea of “motherhood doubt!” I survived those crazy early momma days because of them! But everything has changed, and it makes me sad. As a coach, I work on my shit every. single. day . . . . living on purpose and kicking butt, while they wallow in “story fondling world” day in and day out!! (Harsh, I know . . . but the truth!).

So here I am feeling sad and guilty that I am pulling away, BUT when I step back and get some perspective, thinking in terms of not matching energetically with them any longer, feels soooooo much better on my body and guilt free!!! Thank you Amy! xo, amy


Amy March 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm

So glad it was helpful. And I totally get it. And you may want to look at your story about them again with fresh eyes now that you have a new perspective. I have a feeling you’ll be able to connect with them in a much more compassionate way now energetic match or not. Thank you SO much for your comment!


Kat August 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Well well, honestly from 1-6, these people that come and go and others that I thought were friends. I woke up just to realized they never were, and I stayed around for the completely wrong reasons, and thanks God I did and ran!!. My right now would be #6 and mostly #4. I’ve been called 3 times, fake, in front of everybody in the office by one of my direct bosses right after going inside and saying my good mornings to every one, all smiles, I feel good smiling. Anyways the last time he did of those 3 times he goes like this: “you wouldn’t believe how fake you sound every time you say good morning to anyone or ask how they are, I mean who cares anyways?, you would sound more credible if you do that in the afternoon. No one is a true morning person, that joy is fake, you shouldn’t do it. I only say hi in the afternoons and feels real, you shouln’t do it when you have to, but when you feel like.”
To what I said, mad. “I do it ’cause I feel it, I want to talk more to people actually and know what they do and who they are, how they feel. I do what I feel, if you don’t, well I’m not you and won’t be like you.” He only replied that my response was also calcuated. Anyways, being honest I don’t feel like saying hi anymore at no times, I know should keep shining, but…so hard, everyday going to work is a challenge, I’ll do my best to smile from within again.


chris60 April 27, 2015 at 1:33 am

Rejection hurts, but some people have an annoying habit of violating people’s boundaries or pushing for what they want – affection, attention, sex, money, agreement, help – and forgetting that the other person may have their own needs, opinions or preferences. Rejection often occurs when a person feels taxed by an interaction or there is a clash of opinions or basic needs. I have been rejected for this lack of compatibility and have also rejected other people who I feel drain or endanger my safety or health. No-one likes stress and some people have a nasty habit of hogging a conversation or making everything about them and catering to their needs or feelings without stopping to consider their impact on the other person. Sometimes rejection occurs when you speak a painful truth and strip the veil of denial. The messenger gets shot!! Other times it can be alarming if a person comes on strong or pushes for a level of intimacy that you are in no state to offer or want. People are busy and are often struggling to cope. Stop badgering them with your problems and needs and learn to sit with your own distress. Some interactions leave you feeling smothered, exhausted, annoyed, exploited, hurt or bored out of your wits. Rejection hurts. But maybe your style of interaction hurts, offends, exploited or annoys the other person. And maybe it was never about you. The other person liked you but was not available to meet your needs or request at that moment in time. We all have been rejected or rejected other people. It’s a part of life. Not everyone wants to be a part of your audience or inner circle.


Suzanne December 31, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I know it’s been a while since your post, but thank you. I will take a copy of it and review it from time to time so that I do not do what you delineate so clearly and articulately in your post. It hurts to be rejected and never know why. I am going to consider what you have stated and objectively see whether I have been doing any of this. If so, change is in order; if not, then I will better understand healthier boundaries. Again, thank you.


stephen January 6, 2016 at 4:39 am

So if you are a white divorced male, take everything you mentioned and amplify it, people can so pickup on the inferiority complex that you carry after something awful happens. Rejection becomes second nature to everyone around, until you break through, with walking around feeling real happy and positive, but that not realistic is it? I know some people do feel that, but I don’t know how, I read somewhere that you are as happy as you allow yourself to be? My happiness has always centered around my circumstances, we are program to think that way,


Di April 9, 2016 at 10:38 am

Some of that rung true for me, but I am finding that more and more people are finding it easy to drop my friendship and ignore me. Feeling really down on myself. Wondering what I must be doing that is so annoying.


Kelly September 27, 2016 at 12:51 am

Well, I just can’t handle rejection. I have had so much of it in my life (and a lot of people probably feel the same way I do), and I am just exhausted. I hide in my house and don’t answer the phone. I think I have a fear of rejection? Idk.


Penny October 22, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Same Di and Kelly,
Tired of twisting myself into a pretzel. Given up on people in general. I was invisible in my family and it feels like no matter how much I work on it it has carried over into the rest of my life. I see the most selfish people with freinds that put up with so much shit from them but they’ll get a call over me. I think on some level I’m socially inept and just don’t know it.


Paul February 26, 2017 at 3:33 am

I’ve always been rejected by almost everyone I come into contact with. It used to bother me intensely, but I’ve come to terms with it and accepted that when someone rejects me it’s THEIR loss. I’m happy the way I am and if others don’t like it, that’s just too bad – I’m not going to change for anyone. I’m an extremely introverted guy with a great job, great house, and lots of time to travel. I’d like to have a girlfriend one day, but that’s not going to happen. Women never approach me and I don’t approach women, no matter how I attracted I am to them. It’s not lack of confidence that prevents me from asking women out – it’s that no human being is worth the time, money or effort it would take to make a woman be attracted to me – that’s the way it is. If ‘the perfect woman for me’ is out there – she’ll come to me when the time is right. In the meantime, I just live my life as best I can on my own.


Vanessa Molina September 2, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Hi Paul.
I am sorry that you have to live with rejection this way, sometimes it can be a harsh reality and difficult to be alone all the time. But you are right, once you are who you are and you like it, it is THEIR loss.
I’ve lived a life of rejection as well, and even now, when people get to know me personally they reject me. I like who I am and I am genuinely content and a happy person.
I am coming to terms with it, but it is hard sometimes.
Even though I have become an introvert because of this rejection, I am quite friendly and can get along with most anyone.
I’m not sure what it is about me that people find once they either meet me or get to know me better, but for most of the people I meet, rejection seems to be their final choice.
The only kind of people I attract are insecure weak people who drain me because they expect me to be their happiness or they take advantage of my kindness and generosity.
I suppose I am destined to be alone for the rest of my life as well.
The only people I don’t get rejected from are my son and daughter and my grandkids. They all love me unconditionally.


Mai May 12, 2017 at 5:29 am

It was my graduation party. So, the big momet, my name is called and i am going on stage to receive my certificate when the first doctor whom i should shake hands with acts like not seeing me .i still can’t believe she did that. So i shook hands with the two remaining doctors and took my certificate. I felt so sad and still. She did saw me and i am the only one she did that with. I keep asking myself what is wrong with me?!
I can’t find an explanation for this.


Scarlett May 23, 2017 at 2:53 pm

First of all, Congratulations on your graduation!
Second of all, there is nothing wrong with you. The problem lies somewhere within the doctor that shunned you on stage like that. What a tacky thing to do! Don’t blame yourself. At least the other 2 doctors showed class. I don’t know why the first doctor acted that way but I can assure you that it is a fault within themselves, possibly jealousy. You will find that the world is filled with people like that. Just keep shining anyway, it’s their loss.


Neha singh July 31, 2017 at 7:26 am

My close friend suddenly stopped talking to me blocked me… I m so hurt plzz help


Phillip November 20, 2017 at 12:00 am

I have a recent interesting story of rejection. I had invited someone over to watch a movie. I had prepared some chips and dip and other snacks. He turned his nose up to that and said that he doesn’t eat snacks. Before we watched the movie he told me about how he had fallen from a ladder and hurt his leg. He had invited some friends to live with him to take care of him, but the whole group turned out to be addicts who were robbing him of his pills. He also mentioned how his roommate, a guy I’m familiar with (and would describe him as a bar fly) would shove his cats off the coffee table which very much annoyed him. After the movie, he invited himself into my kitchen, and declared that in his Kitchen everything has a specific place and is completely organized (implying mine is not). I could see a look of disgust on his face. (My kitchen wasn’t and isn’t that untidy…it’s just small). At that moment, he had actually decided to not pursue friendship with me, however before he completely let that be known, he manipulated me out of a yoga book. I have a ton of books, so I’m usually quite ok with giving them away, but it’s just the way that he was being so shady and manipulative that was the issue. He left, and I haven’t heard from him since.
This is a very typical thing that I go through.
If it’s not one thing or another.


Jane February 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

I recently have felt a wave of rejection but the fault lies with me. I grew up in a critical, judge mental family who openly talks about others with disdain. Not all the time but when they had an opinion it was expressed. I can’t blame them for things I have said about others but there is a connection when you are raised in an environment like that. I was slightly blinded to the fact that I did this because it was just me expressing an opinion and didn’t seem like gossip or bad-mouthing. I later became a Christian and have for the most part given that up but being it was so much a part of how I behaved I have had moments when I still did this. People have found out the things I’ve said and I have felt the sting of rejection because of this. It hurts but I am the cause and can’t blame anyone but myself. I pray that I can seal my lips before I do this ever again so as to not hurt my reputation and/or whomever I am talking about. I tend to be a negative person always looking at the bad side of things and not focusing on the good. I was a very depressed child growing up and I’m sure that has a huge impact on my personality. However, mostly I am hurt that my actions have given a bad taste in people’s mouths for Christianity as I have been (from time to time) a horrible example of one.


ToughMom86 August 7, 2018 at 3:46 am

Rejection has been very prevalent in my life. My mother didn’t want me (her words), my father was gone for a long time (although he came back and became a wonderful dad til his passing last year), my extended family have all rejected me due to my mother’s dishonesty, and every man I’ve ever dated has left, including my husband whom I was only with for 3 months before he found out our baby would be born disabled. I see a common pattern with men…
1. They act very interested, complement me, and treat me very well
2. I begin to reciprocate, and we begin to share mutual goals
3. Heartfelt words or actions happen (from them)
4. The next day they decide “their hearts, lives, etc are just not in the right place”.

I’m a very attractive, fiscally independent, funny and enjoyable person.

The rejection from men is more challenging than the rejection from my family because I know that much of my family struggles with addiction and mental illness. Thankfully, I escaped that life.

I’m dying to know what gives with men. I’m easy to get along with. No arguments are happening. Why disappear?


Mary October 10, 2018 at 8:02 pm

Do you think rejection is a season? Years ago I had friends. Is it age? I have noticed that when we are young we are more tolerant of others. This is how I sum it up. 20s jobs and friends. 30s people were more settled in Their children and family ( parents, siblings) if you fit in that you where lucky. You don’t have kids your rejected
. 40s getting ready for empty nest, have already established friends. Might make new ones but don’t want to take the time. They reject new ones
50s all about ME! What makes me happy and I don’t want or need to make new friends. Might even reject the ones I have because I want to do what makes me happy not you.


Dr Delicious April 10, 2019 at 11:47 am

I got rejected often, by everyone, and when asked why, their eyes would glaze over and stare into empty space like a robot, and they would pretend everything that just happened never happened. It was like living in the world of the Stepford Wives, Terminator, and Children of the Damned.

But, I stopped asking, and started observing, and went out of state. I was unfortunate to be raised in a midwest hyper Christian state, and my childhood was very much like what the kids go through in the documentary “Jesus Camp”.

I learned these were the reasons that everyone, from adults, to my peers, to teachers, and just general society rejected me. Constantly. ‘How to win friends and influence others’ did nothing. But I figured out the issues:

1. I wasn’t white. In a region filled with nervous, superstitious and bible thumping white people, I learned the hard way that they felt Jews, black people, brown people and indians were either demonic, or somehow of Satan. And if they were atheistic, they just changed the reason for their hate/fear, but it didnt change: people like us were genetically inferior or something else.

2. Hive mentality. The white society in the region I came from had a very very very strong ‘hive mind’, or swarm behavior. Individuality meant nothing, even enemies or strangers or anyone who looked the same color and facial features would snap together in a single “mob” against you, even adults would mob up on children. It was horrifying, it was scary, it caused a Jewish girl to commit suicide in 5th grade, and gave a black boy bad PTSD.

3. I have muscles. I work out because it’s a hobby. Some guys who seemed to reject me or wanted nothing to do with me, when they got drunk, then they would either have some weird sexual fantasy hidden in their closet, or they would…well, curse me out for no reason or swing on me. For no reason. Sometimes it would just happen out of nowhere. That was jealousy, and feelings of inferiority. And sad to say, that rarely happened with non-white people. Out of nowhere, they call you a slanted eyed whatever, and there it was.

4. Superstition. Literally, it was believed across the region that Jews killed Jesus or were attacking white people, African American people were either part-demon OR genetically inferior, Asians are heathens and dangerous, etc. This was a daily, every day, damn thing. As a kid, having to grow up struggling to say these things weren’t true so teachers wouldn’t harm you, or the whole classroom wouldn’t swarm you and scream for you to be punished for just existing…it destroyed a childhood. Childhood, and school, and the playground, was like living in the movie “The Bodysnatchers”. You never knew when something would happen for any reason, or any time, you never knew.

5. Mentally trapped around 10-12 years old. Many people were stuck at about a 12 year old mind level. “You look different, I hate you.” Or “I don’t know you=I hate you.”
It was a world where if you weren’t in a clique that knew one another since 1-4th grade, then you had no social life. None. No matter who you were, what you had, nothing.

I visited other regions and such, took far flung trips and studied with my dad, and was hit with a powerful culture shock when I was in other regions as a adult. What was normal human behavior gave me culture shock. For a stranger to wave and smile, or someone to be concerned for you even if they did not know you personally, all that was a absolute shock. I was…blown away. My dad laughed, and I said “Is…is THIS common?” That was when I realized the region I grew up in was very very very mentally deranged, backwards, very brutal, and just followed a culture that was insane and very ant-like.
I learned sometimes rejection has nothing to do with YOU, the rejected. But the rejectors may be really really really warped, or ignorant, or crazy, or just racist or misogynist. When someone rejects you, take a step back and just observe them, see if their average behavior is normal or not. If it is, then maybe you need to change yourself or take a look at yourself. But maybe they are just messed up people.


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