It has always been my general opinion that men take rejection easier than women. When I imagine a man dealing with rejection, I picture no tears or demonstration of pain. Instead, I imagine a guy out on the town, partying it up, pretending nothing happened and ready to conquer the next woman who comes along. Okay, after reading that statement I sound like a feminist man-hater, which I am not! I've just had this ridiculous notion in my head for years that rejection just slides off of men like butta. Who can I blame this on? Society? The men in my life? Movies? You?
Whenever I imagine a woman dealing with rejection, I think of a girl buried in a mountain of tissues, sitting in front of the TV watching a sappy movie with a big tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in her lap. I also see a basket-case and a person who has completely forgotten her self worth because someone rejected her.
These images frighten me. They may stem from the cliche depictions I've seen in movies, or my own personal experience. Either way, after coming to terms with these images, I had to challenge them. So I decided use a lifeline and ask the audience...and you spoke loud and clear and put me in my place!
Several months ago I sent out a survey to men and women about how they deal with rejection. 23 men and 16 women responded (way to step it up men!). The average age of the men was 29 and the average age of the females was 27.
Question #1 asked "When you have been rejected or left hanging by someone that you liked or were dating, have you ever questioned your self-worth?"
Females response:The results are almost identical, with a slight increase in answer "Yes" on the female side. Maybe we aren't as different as we think we are!
Question #2 was: "What did you question about yourself specifically?" Here's where it gets interesting.
A common answer among both genders was "Am I not good enough?" or "What am I doing wrong?"
9 of the male responses and 6 of the female responses stated something similar to this.
Specific traits were also mentioned. Men said they questioned their looks, attractiveness, and personality. Women questioned personality, intelligence, judgement, attractiveness, and body image.
One thing I found very interesting is that one male respondent said "I questioned my success in life and how independent I am."
Two female responses revolved around the idea that "I am worth more than this, I don't doubt myself." None of the male responses reflected a sense of empowerment or knowing they deserved better.
Question #3 asked whether they've dealt with rejection in any negative ways, with several choices. Here are the results.....
Women it comes to abusing alcohol, men reported a higher percentage than women.
To my surprise, women reported a higher rate of partying than men! Women also reported spending time alone more than men.
However a big difference was that women reported 81.3% of venting to friends, while men reported 47% of venting to friends.
Overeating was also higher in women than in men (chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, anyone?)
Now, as I always say, the results of my little survey are in no way empirically valid and will not be published in a peer-reviewed journal anytime soon. I was just interested to see the responses, and boy was I surprised!
Personally, it's refreshing to know that men deal with rejection similarly to women. Maybe the divide between us isn't as big as we thought.
What are your thoughts on this survey and the differences between men and women and they way they deal with rejection?