Rethinking Rejection

Neil StraussNeil87 Comments

I’ve had a massive turnaround on a subject, and I’m going to share it with you here so that you can benefit from it as well. If I had known this when I was in the learning stages, I believe it would have improved my results by twenty percent.

It’s about rejection.

My attitude used to be to avoid rejection at all costs. That’s why I developed things like the opinion opener, the time constraint, rooting, and the interactive value demonstration. They were designed to make those difficult first few minutes of an approach as flawless and rejection-free as possible.

But, through a number of recent successes, I had an epiphany: rejection is not a black-and-white concept. In other words, the game is not over if you are rejected. Nor does this even mean that you need to recover and are now in damage-control mode.

A rejection can actually be a planned part of the game.

Let me explain this in the form of a story: Recently, I was with a girl. She had read The Game, and knew all about the evolution phase-shift routine. She was also very high-energy, and difficult to get to slow down to do proper kino escalation.

However, I knew she was attracted. So what I decided to do is to get rejected in order to succeed. I purposely made an AFC attempt to kiss her, so that she pulled away. When that happened, I ignored it as if nothing had happened. Then, three minutes later, I moved in to kiss her, and we began making out passionately.

Why did this happen?

Because the first kiss attempt was actually a statement of intent. It informed her that I was interested in making this a physical relationship. Then, after I withdrew, it gave her time to think about whether she too was interested. And the answer, which she already knew, was yes.

Here’s another way to think about it: turning away from the kiss was an autopilot response. Once an autopilot response is triggered, and the context is changed, it doesn’t necessarily occur again. Not unlike one of those wooden mousetraps, once triggered, it doesn’t automatically reload.

Mostly out of curiosity, I tested this two other times in the following week. Both were successful. However, in all cases, attraction must be present (and the attempt must not make her uncomfortable or cross any lines of decency or respect). I discussed this with a close friend in the community, and he thought that it was necessary to punish after the rejection in order to encourage compliance. However, being unaffected and going neutral seemed to be enough to give her time to think.

The bigger idea is that this is perhaps more useful for approaching than making out. There were many times when I saw guys who got rejected initially on the approach stick with it or return, and then get accepted. In some cases, it was because the guy returned later after earning social proof through the attention of other women in the room. In other cases, it was because by returning or barreling through, the guy made it socially awkward for her to say no twice in addition to demonstrating his confidence and lack of fear.

At a stretch, another reason can be found in the book Influence, which states that if someone turns down a big request, he or she is more likely to accept a second, smaller request.

However, the bigger point to remember is this: a rejection is nothing to be afraid of. It is not a permanent no. It can be simply temporary, and your job is to be cool and charming enough to make her feel like she made a mistake the first time.

87 Comments on “Rethinking Rejection”

  1. This reminds me of what will smith did on hitch. when i was a kid i used to just tell the girl i liked that i was interested, and got rejected a couple of times until finally she would come to me and say yes. Years later i would ask some of them why they rejected me first they would tell me that somehow i got stuck in their minds even thou they didnt like me at first. After reading this is kind of an eye opener Neil. Thanks for this

  2. Great article Neil. This actually reminds me a lot of my sales career, in that a “no” simply means “not now”. Sales has taught me that rejection isn’t permanent, so long as I don’t act like a fool when initially “rejected”, I usually end up befriending a client or making a sale a little later. Either way, I benefit from not reacting badly to a “no” or initial rejection.

  3. I have a friend who was rejected by a girl many times and eventually he got it and he got married with her.Currently he lives very happy with her and thinking in having sons.
    Therefore,it´s important to think about rejections.Thanks for the post Neil :).

  4. Unreal! I just recently went through a situation like this. I was hanging out with this girl the other night, and I could tell she was attracted to me based on some flirtatious cues she was giving. At one point, she came in really close to tell me something, her face literally inches in front of mine. I paused, then went in for the kiss, and she pulled back.

    Now I understand that it was a reflex and had I tried again shortly thereafter, I might have actually gotten somewhere. Too bad I took the rejection to heart and didn’t try anything else with her. Well, lesson learned!

  5. Neil,

    Let’s be honest with each other here. You are a minor-celebrity having mastered and produced innovative techniques in the realm of social interaction within the context of Modern Western Civilization. You are probably capable of scoring with a woman shortly after “Porking” her little sister. Not because it’s the RIGHT thing to do, but simply because you are that fucking good at it.

    In other words, “Getting Rejected In order To Score”, is nothing more than an ELITE-LEVEL technique cooked up by a guy who doesn’t get the thrill he used to get when becoming intimate with a woman.

    Question: Will any level of success with women make you happy and top-off the Full-Human-Experience for you? FUCK NO, because the thrill won’t last, and your heart yearns for ETERNITY.

    I am going to frame what you call “rejection” as the grander concept of “mistaken failure”. So you have in your mind, the design for a box you are going to build out of solid Maple Hardwood using just a hack-saw and sandpaper. Every right angle is a miracle using those tools, and after eight months of construction, you have an immaculate box abounding in miracles, and you rightly categorize it as “PERFECT”. It exceeds every expectation you originally held by multiple orders of magnitude. Wow. The reality is that through the painstaking construction process, you made many mistakes, but these actual mistakes opened your eyes to new techniques which lead to a far superior final product. These failures, that shook you to the core by putting your box in jeopardy resulted in a box that was many times more perfect than it would have been if you just got lucky and did it right on the first try.

    The guy who fucked the prom queen, and then married her, because it seemed like the thing to do, is not necessarily in a better state than the 96 guys she “Rejected”. For fuck sake, two of those AFCs were Paul Allen and Bill Gates.

    The “Leader-Follower” Paradigm:

    Preamble –

    Most women I’ve run into don’t really believe in defined roles of control and having the final say. They sure like it when you make sacrifices to put together a fantastic night of fun, great food, entertainment, and social interaction, but they often get argumentative, demanding the final say when the evening is about to wrap up. It’s a soft-soap mentality, with all the power when it’s convenient, and none of it when it requires focused effort. It feels smooth on your skin but it won’t get the blood out of your sheets.

    The Rub –

    I try to maintain the unrestrained joy, delight, and wonder of a child, but there is NOTHING childish about me. In any endeavor involving multiple people, it is of paramount importance to have a LEADER. From controlling the American stockpile of thermal-nuclear weaponry, to setting up the framework of a first date, having a clearly defined LEADER is a winning formula… And I’m a Champion. A benevolent leader conscientiously listens to his followers, and makes informed decisions to benefit the collective as a whole, and to address individual concerns.

    The alternative is that whenever a difference of opinion arises, the result is bitter-argument. This is a losing formula.

    I like you a great deal, but certainly not nearly enough to sacrifice my manhood and winning-reputation.

    It comes down to this: Are you ever going to let go of your cynicism, so that you can trust me with your life?

    I’m looking for a Paul Allen to my Bill Gates, so if you are the real deal, send me a PM or some shit.

    Recently, I wrote 12 letters of support for my neighbors to sign, from different perspectives, because some mindless slob from Fisheries and Oceans Canada is busting my 73 year old father’s chops for the beach enclaves I am building with massive boulders by bare hand. These documents have gotten so many laughs when I present them to the community, that people actually sign some of the most absurd “funny kuz it’s true” ranting. If Neil wants to read a couple of them, he might then try to get me a temp job writing for “Eastbound and Down”. They are that kind of funny. Guy humor, mostly. Temp, because TV writing is well beneath my capabilities.

    All the very best,

    JohnPaul Adamovsky

    PS – One of these days, Neil is going to invite me to his 51 member boys club. I’m rich, a civilian special-forces paratrooper, smart as fuck, dangling 8 inches of Snow.

      1. haha yea. all that time spent on the article, could’ve been in the field.

        oh wait me too.

        but im bloated.

    1. Hey StyleofMan. You wrote quite a bit there, but to immediately address your first point, that using rejection as a gambit is only for mpuas, I don’t think you’re right there. It seems pretty accessible, nothing too complicated.

      If she turns you down, she’s not turning you down for good.

      I think Style and Mystery both say rejection is different for girls then it is for guys. If a guy is not attracted to a girl, he generally won’t be attracted to her the next day. However, girls DO change their opinions about guys.

    2. For some reason I don’t believe a word of what JohnPaul says.

      His writing pisses me off actually.

  6. I work this way with bill collectors or telemarketers. I tried once to cancel some magazine subscriptions and she confidently told me it was past 3 days so i couldn’t cancel it. She was very convincing, the old me would have said “oh ok” and kept the dumb magazines. Instead i stuck with it and after a few attempts to get me to buy them at a lower price, she cancelled the magazines even though earlier she’d said it wasn’t allowed. Then she hung up on me.

    Be strong.

  7. This reminds me of last year when I finally decided to ask one of my friends why she didn’t want to date me when I asked her a few years back. The only response I could get out of her was, “I don’t know…” So this article definitely seems to coincide with my personal experience. Looking back at my AFC days, I realize now that I definitely had a shot. Interesting shit.

  8. Great observation, Neil, and thanks for sharing your experiences to back it up.

    I think many women are programmed to give a knee-jerk (or face-jerk) reaction to being kissed, particularly if they are on the fence. Point and case, I often read the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist (it’s seriously hilarious at times and more than that, I love what people reveal about their own wants and wishes in those little posts.) I’ve seen many, many entries from women looking for that guy from the club, in the supermarket or at that bar who approached them and who they blew off initially. With a bit of time to contemplate him, they are now searching for the dude, sometimes apologizing for “coming off as a bitch” or “being rude” to him and wishing for a second chance…

  9. PERSEVERENCE is one of the key elements of Success in any field that Napoleon Hill teaches in his book and it can even build attraction if used correctly because it is one of the signs of a STRONG PERSONALITY.

  10. I had seen my non pick up buddies do this but they either had confidence or a fake it till you make it quality. I lacked the confidence and did not want to be unauthentic, but the community has helped boost my confidence. And with this new insight of knowing the why it works if you try again, I think a lot of guys greatly benefit knowing there is a chance if you don’t creep or flip out, stay cool and show social proof and poise.

    Thanks Neil..

  11. obvious sign that you are mistaken about attraction being there – on the first kiss attempt she also pushes away with her hands on your chest. Either that, or you need to cut back on the raw garlic 😉

  12. If I attempt to kiss a girl and she pulls away but still stays, I understand that as an indicatior of interest. I showed my sexual interest and she is also attracted but the escalation was too fast. I will not take that as a rejection, just ignore what just happened and try to kiss her later at a more appropriate moment.

    Just like Neil’s case, if you slow down and continue your interaction confortably and non reactive to her rejection, you have a lot of possibilities to get that kiss in the following minutes.

  13. The ‘k’ close has got to be my biggest sticking point and if i get my timing wrong i crash and burn on the regection. So armed with this new info i’m off back into the field to try it out, right now. I’ll let you know how i get on.

      1. As we say in Serbia (which i am amazed that You mentioned so many times in The Game – and for that i thank you)
        rough translation, Doesn’t fuck the beautiful one, but the persistent one.

        All the best

  14. Hey Neil, thanks for the article..!

    I can recognise the truth behind what you wright.Before getting into the community I used to get rejected all the time so I developed an immunity against that.So,if I feel that I haven’t done any big mistake, I always push after the rejection(e.g. kiss gabmit-rejection-unafected+smiling-girl returns to kiss me in the cheek-kiss close).


    Rejection is very tricky… Because if you get rejected too early in the game it triggers an autopilot to the girl…Something like “I rejected him once so I guess that I have to reject him again”. And after that it seems like no matter how cool you prove you are or how much more you try there is no way for the girl to return the interest… And after that you end up in th LJBF zone…

    Of course I’m just an rAFC and you are a Guru but I think that you can understand what am I talking about.

    Anyway, the article was inspiring – Thanks a lot

  15. Hey buddy,

    I’ve got a different theory on this.

    I think for some women, there is a bit of a gap between “highly aroused” and “I’m ready to go for it now it’s on”.

    What bridges that gap and moves them to “it’s on” is how you respond to their first “rejection”. There is something in the projected power of not responding emotionally to their first “rejection” and remaining aggressive in the face of it that triggers them into “ok, it’s on”.

    I’ve seen this time and again. For SOME women, it is HOW aggressive you remain and how skillfully you express it in action that arouses them enough to push them over the edge into “ok, it’s on”.

    Whether this means calmly turning their face back to you when they turn away from the first kiss or pulling them by the shirt into you, it’s the same principle.


    P.S. Single again…let’s sarge large.

  16. While this is an intriguing tactic, the whole “no means maybe” thing needs to be tempered, gentlemen…if you are a gentleman, that is, and not some thug who just likes conquest…

    Yes, women can be fickle and indecisive. They like to be pursued, they like to be persuaded, courted, even ignored. I know, I am one. I try to be straightforward as much as possible, and not to play games anymore. I’ve been married 13 years and think I’ve been reasonably successful in stripping the silliness away. But not all girls do that. Way too many enjoy the games and the hunt. Many of them are shallow, unfulfilled, immature, even a bit sadistic or masochistic. They don’t know what they want in a guy, from a guy, or from themselves. They play games to get guys to chase them, to fulfill their own lack of self-worth externally. They say “no”…and yeah, sometimes it does mean “maybe.”

    However, there ARE times when NO means NO.

    If you get a girl drunk, and she seems willing, you get things going…and she says “no”–STOP. Danger, Will Robinson, there do be dragons ahead.

    If you are with a girl (sober) and she says “no”, STOP. You don’t know what’s flashing through her head–it may not be a game or tactic, it may be her remembering being date-raped in college, or molested by a creepy uncle.

    Seriously, this isn’t the time to play push-pull, freeze-out, whatever. Rape ain’t funny. “No” in bed isn’t an objection to overcome. Your desire to relieve the pressure in your nuts isn’t a reason to try to override her “no.” Fine, call her frigid, a bitch, a cold fish, neurotic, a tease. Whatever. Maybe she is those things. But accept the “no” and let it be. Let her come back to you, because then you know where things stand.

    So what if you didn’t get laid? You also didn’t fuck some girl up emotionally and physically–and you also didn’t go to jail. Seems like a good compromise to me. The morning-after light is harsh, and a girl with self-image problems who feels she was coerced can easily wreck your life, and you may well have wrecked hers with your relentless drive for a nut and another notch on your bedpost.

    Men may bitch about how women have the control in bed, but if you’d ever been victimized and brutalized (in any way), or even had a slight insight into what it’s like, you’d realize that this ability to say “no” is important to everyone, and your smarmy, used-car-salesman attempts to break down the “no” is disrespectful and chauvinistic at those times.

    I’m not talking about playing around…there’s a time and place for that, but a dude with half a brain and an ounce of human decency knows the difference between giggles and real life.

    That being said, happy hunting guys. The Game introduces a whole new level of intrigue to the eternal chase for tail…especially for those ladies like myself who read it avidly, laughing hilariously when Neil pointed out so many things about how we (women) act like complete idiots and psychos sometimes. Try to be like him and have some respect and appreciation for something above her lips–her mind–and the chase is even more entertaining, and the catch is much more fulfilling.

    1. Neil,

      Thanks. I enjoyed Rethinking Rejection. It’s a good article but I think you could expand on it more. There is some follow up articles and a book or too there I’d say.


      As my grandfather would have said “They should bottle your blood JessieB!”

      I’m still (sadly) recovering a couple years after being attacked in a local park one afternoon (not after dark) when a couple thugs attacked me from behind, knocked me to the ground and kicked the crap out of me. Fortunately I got away from them – they chased me and threatened to finish the job. Fortunately, I used to be a fast runner and they couldn’t catch me, otherwise I might not be here today. I ended up going to hospital in an ambulance and had 12 stiches in my head and severe concussion and was bruised from head to toe. The police said it was likely a mistaken gay attack.

      I still suffer Post-Traumatic Shock Disorder (PTSD) and so have every sympathy with women when they say “No”. No one knows what another person has been through in their past and what they are thinking at the time that they seem to reject you. So guys tread lightly – prison is not a nice place and the only pick-ups will be happening to you and mean you won’t be able to sit down for a week…OUCH!


      1. Hey Matthew,
        Thanks for the reply…and the compliment!

        I’m so sorry to hear of your assault. That must have been extraordinarily difficult, and I’m glad you’re pulling through. PTSD is devastating and so misunderstood, it’s a process. However, traumas like that are defining: choose to use it as a stepping stone, something that helped bring you to another point of self-awareness–and, obviously, compassion for others! Some people get so stuck in that morass of pain and wander into self-pity, getting mired down, never progressing. I’m sure you’re an awesome guy, and I really hope the Game helps you become the man you want to be, and that you find someone who deserves you, and vice-versa (if you haven’t already!) I hope every day gets better and better…and that the fuckers that hurt you someday get their karmic comeuppance.

        Take care, and thanks again for being so sweet and for sharing. It takes a real man to be vulnerable! 😉


  17. Neil, you might have seen this already, but there was recently a book released titled “The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us.”

    Here’s part of the book description: “A senior writer at Time magazine explores what scientists and researchers are discovering about sibling bonds, the longest- lasting relationships we have in our lives…. (it) explores the complex world of siblings in a way that is equal parts science, psychology, sociology, and memoir. Based heavily on new and emerging research.”

    Also, here’s a link to a Talk of the Nation interview with the author:

    Look for the link that says “science looks at the sibling effect.”

  18. this is just what i was looking for. I remember they interviewed Pres Obama and his wife, and Michelle said that she rejected him the first two times and then eventully…well the rest is history. She said she liked how he was persistant. It probabaly made him look confident to her without seeming annoying. i think there is a little fear initially but if a guy stays confident and upbeat and shows u cant keep a good man down, a girl will see he’s a strong person. Great post!

  19. I have actually experienced this in the field, although I went in for the kiss for real not thinking this far ahead, however I did regain control and then kiss close later.

  20. “At a stretch”

    Yes, I read your passage thinking ‘right now she’s going to backwards rationalise why she didn’t want to kiss you, to reduce dissonance’. I was wrong! It’s strange but I think I trust you more than pop-psychology I read.

    To everyone –
    How do I make myself attracted to women I don’t fancy. I know women do this with men, so it must be possible in reverse. I just need something I can believe in so I can persuade myself it’s worth the risk and grief.

    1. What, you mean besides liquor? Just kidding of course, but perhaps you could be more specific? Such as why would you want to do something like this? I suppose it might be private – there are techniques though, except that the reason you don’t fancy them might be a good thing… Why not just focus on the ones you do fancy? Or is it a matter of being more genuine with people and not ignoring somebody just because you don’t, uh, fancy them?

  21. Wow. I saw myself explained in this text. I’m not very confident with women and there are some gilrs in my past that I wanted to make out but I couldn’t because they froze me saying that they didn’t want me in that moment (autopilot mode). But these say I asked one of them If I would have tried harder and again If she would have kissed me. Her response was yes!! …damn!… (I knew tah she was interested), just like the text says.

  22. How is one to tell token resistance (when she actually wants you to pursue) from actual resistance (when she isn’t comfortable and wants you to stop)?

    In a case of token resistance (or “reflex resistance” now as well), persistence is valuable because her resistance consciously or subconsciously sets up a test for the strength of your desire. She doesn’t want you to give up too easily. This make her feel valuable to you.

    In a case of actual resistance, when there isn’t enough comfort established, wouldn’t persistence agitate the situation even further? In that case a freeze out would seem better to continue with the push pull of one step forwards, two steps backwards.

  23. man neil strauss you tell it like it is dawg,by the way.Do you think the gane was also directed at girls.

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