Rejection hurts – but what should you do about it? You can avoid rejection by not trying anything new. However the downside of this approach is: Nothing tried, nothing gained.

The better alternative may be accepting that rejection is a normal part of life and learning to cope better with it so you can bounce back. This advice can be important for teenagers, when relationships with peers are the biggest part of your life and, as a result, you may experience peer rejection more frequently.

What is rejection?

Rejection is the opposite of feeling accepted. Examples include no one laughing at a joke you’ve told and a person you really like talking to everyone but you. Rejection has become more noticeable with the growth of social media, such as Facebook de-friending, but can also involve a social snub no one else sees.

How to cope

* Be honest

Don’t brush off your feelings, accept them as normal, even allow yourself to cry.

* Understand what’s happened

Put your rejection in perspective. For example, a knocked back date request doesn’t mean you’re unattractive to everyone, it’s just one person’s opinion. Then understand that ‘rejection’ is actually more specific emotions such as ‘disappointment’ or ‘feeling left out’. It can often help to talk to someone who supports you.

* Be positive

Give yourself credit for at least trying new things. Tell yourself: I got rejected, but maybe next time I’ll get a ‘yes’. Also be practical and identify what you’re already good at, but also what you can change to improve the chances of achieving what you want.

More information: www.teenshealth.org

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