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3 Steps to Keep Disappointments From Getting You Down

Inviting people to get together or starting more conversations means you’re “putting yourself out there.” You’ll naturally feel more vulnerable, and as a result, you may feel easily frustrated when things don’t go as you’d hoped.

If someone cancels at the last minute or if you can’t talk because your video chat keeps crashing, remember the bigger picture: making new social connections takes time and patience. Try not to take things personally.

Have you ever noticed that some people seem able to brush off these kinds of frustrations better than others? Why is that? People who bounce back more easily have simply learned how to regroup and recover when facing disappointments — and you can too.

Here’s how.

  • Make Time to Acknowledge How You’re Feeling

    When dealing with negative emotions, many of us have been taught to stuff our feelings or convince ourselves they’re “no big deal.” Admitting how you feel will help you move forward in a healthy manner. What’s more, naming your feelings — disappointment, sadness, embarrassment — will help you face the situation more objectively, so you can turn “She said no because she doesn’t like me” into “I’m so disappointed she said no.” This important first step shifts the focus to you, not what you believe the other person thinks of you.

  • Re-Frame Your Thoughts with Positive Self-Talk

    We all have a harsh inner-critic — that voice that tells us “it’s our fault.” The next time you notice a judgmental tone creeping into your thoughts, remember to have compassion for yourself. Talk to yourself as if you’re counseling a friend. If a friend told you, “I was so stupid for thinking that,” would you agree with them? Of course not. You’d tell them, “You’re not stupid, you put yourself out there and I’m proud of you.” Being a friend to yourself can help you build the confidence to keep building and rekindling the relationships so vital to your well-being.

  • Ask: “What can I learn from this experience?”

    People who are resilient — able to recover quickly from difficult situations — tend to view rejection or disappointment as an opportunity to learn about themselves and grow. When they extend an invitation and get turned down, they don’t take it personally. They may simply think to themselves, “Next time, I’ll ask if now is a good time to chat before rushing into the conversation.” If someone was busy, it doesn’t mean you’re not fun to be around. That’s just your inner-critic talking.

Still Nervous About Reaching Out?

John Wayne once said, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” So try looking at it this way: When you call someone even though you’re afraid of being rejected, you’re being brave.

Best of all, you’re also working towards building up those social “muscles” that have been proven to help you stay mentally sharp and physically strong as you grow older. Good for you!

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