“You want me to do what?” said the handsome protagonist. (Fine, it was me.)
“Go sit down between them and start talking,” replied Jesse.
“That’s crazy. Isn’t that invading their personal space a bit?”
“Try it, you’ll be surprised.”
With a bit of trepidation I responded, “OK!”
If you’ve read this essay you know about the rest of this story and others like it already.
Those of us who grew up in a modern, developed, society were likely socially stunted because from a very young age we have been protected from rejection. We’ve become a bunch of grown babies.
It started with our Parents, who meant well, but “let me do that for you” didn’t do anybody any favors.
Then it was our Teachers, who maybe also meant well, but “this is how it is and there is no other way” didn’t do us any favors either.
Eventually, we’d become so indoctrinated into a system of approval and following the herd we didn’t even notice what happened and how weak-minded we’d become.
How do you fix that? Get rejected. This has nothing to do with romance (except when it does), so if you’re married or in a relationship don’t worry, this is for you too.
During the Simple Pickup bootcamp, and afterwards when I began playing what I called Rejection Theatre, I was probably rejected 500 times in 30 days. Eventually, I was so desensitized to rejection that it almost stopped affecting me, positively or negatively. It was the healthiest social exercise I’ve ever completed.
But for you?
We’ll start small.
1) Say hello to a stranger.
It’s weird that saying hello to a stranger brings about such a gut-check for so many people. “Hey, how are you, what’s that [book, music, magazine, doohicky]? Any good?”
No need to worry about getting into a conversation. Just “hi” and a question. You will probably almost never be rejected doing this, which is why we need to move on.
Note: if you say “hi” to somebody while they’re walking and they don’t hear you because you talk like a baby that is not a rejection. Speak up. Show some respect for yourself.
2) Say hello to a stranger who has headphones on, is talking on their phone, or is running/riding a bike.
A year ago doing stuff like this seemed absurd and socially unacceptable. Until I started doing it.
It takes a bit more work to get somebody’s attention when they’ve got headphones on, but not much. A little hand wave so they realize you’re speaking to them. “What are you listening to? It looks like you’re really enjoying it.”
If somebody’s on a bike (yes, I’ve done this) you need to do a bit more to get their attention. (Do not get in their path and get run over!) If they’re running it’s often a double whammy since most people run with headphones on. Running with headphones on while talking on the phone? You get a gold star. Two gold stars if you get rejected.
3) Ask a stranger for a phone number.
OK, you’ve progressed to speaking a little bit to strangers, now ask for a phone number. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl you’re speaking to. If you’ve had a bit of a conversation and think, “hey, this person is cool” then ask for a phone number.
If it’s non-romantic it helps if you were talking about something specific. Let’s say you were talking about fitness or sports: “My friends and I play basketball every Wednesday, you want to join? What’s your number?” You’ll need to adapt this to your own situations.
Feels scary. Remember, the goal here is to get rejected. You mostly will.
If it’s a potential romantic encounter: “You are brilliant/cute/funny/etc, what’s your phone number? I want to call you and take you out.”
Notice you don’t ask weakly, “Uhh, mmm, hmm, do you, uhh, maybe, uhh, want to go out some time?” If you do it this way it’s a great way to practice rejection because you’ll probably be rejected often (but definitely not every time). The other way sets you up for more success, though you’ll still get rejected a lot. And again, rejection is the goal. Get the most “No” responses and you win this round.
4) Ask for a little more.
Enough with the random strangers bit.
Back when I was on the RollerCoaster tour eating well was difficult. As far as restaurants and fast food go Chipotle is the nearest thing the US has to something that could be considered somewhat healthy. (Veggie bowl!) Every time I’d stop into a Chipotle I’d ask for 3 things, in increasing order of difficulty. (Gets a person into the “yes” habit.)
- “Can I have an extra scoop of black beans please?” This is an easy one and had a 100% acceptance rate. Woo! I love black beans.
- “More fajita veggies please?” This was also often accepted, but sometimes the person would say it’d be extra if I wanted extra.
- “Extra scoop of guac?” This one was hit and miss. If I was bantering well with the server during Steps 1 & 2 they would often say something like, “well, I’m not supposed to, but ok.” Sometimes they would say something like, “yeah, but just a little.” Sometimes they would flat out say no. Sometimes they would say, “let me ask” which was also a no. And sometimes they would say, “well, it’s going to be extra.” My acceptance rate here was probably around 25% for free extra guac.
If you try this at Chipotle, even if you get a no on 1, ask again on 2, and then again on 3. Three rapid fire rejections means you win the Chipotle rejection game. Nice work.
Next time you’re somewhere it’s possible to ask for a little more, ask. (Say you get soy milk in your coffee and it’s usually extra, see if you can get it free.) It’s an awesome feeling when it’s accepted and it doesn’t hurt when you’re denied. With either outcome you’ll get a bit of a high. But if you get a yes ask for even more next time. Find the “no” point and get rejected.
To take “ask for a little more” to another level you need to negotiate something.
For example, if you’re in credit card debt, call up your credit card company and negotiate your APR. It really is great what happens when you just call and ask. If you’re buying new shoes ask if you can get 10% off. Actually, if you’re buying anything ask for 10% off.
There is always room to negotiate, even when you’re in a place where most people do not haggle.
I bought a guitar here in Poland a week after I arrived. Since I thought I’d only be here for a few months I bought the cheapest guitar I could find. I know that on the low end it’s hard to negotiate since there already isn’t much profit margin. (Or maybe I’m just telling myself that.) But I always ask. First I tried to get them to lower the price. When that didn’t work I asked for a set of new strings and a pick. That worked. It’s not a huge win, but it doesn’t have to be. I’d be buying those strings and that pick anyway, why not try to get them free? In this case my negotiation fall back was to “ask for a little more.”
Part of the reason this works is anchoring. You ask for a lot or something that’s not normally asked for and that’s where the anchor is set. When you don’t get that and you ask for a little less it feels much easier for the person you’re negotiating with to give it up. You probably did this with your Parent(s) a lot as a child.
Since you are trying to get rejected it’s probably better to start the negotiation higher. Anchor it at 20% off. (Also, check out this comment about discounts sales associates are able to give.)
To take this to a different level check out Rejection Therapy, a 30-day game that you play on your own. I bought the download for $10 last year and the suggestions are great. (I don’t get paid for this and don’t know the people behind it.)
I particularly like the five objectives of Rejection Therapy:
- To be more aware of how irrational social fears control and restrict our lives
- Smash the tyranny of fear and reap the treasures (treasures include wealth, relationships and self-confidence)
- Learn from, and even enjoy rejection
- To not be attached to outcomes, especially when it involves the free agency of other people
- Permit yourself to fail
For more inspiration check out the 100 day rejection challenge. <– seriously, this is great
Bonus: One of the little know benefits of Extreme Pushup Bootcamp is the social challenge, which helps build your “rejection muscle.” The command to “Drop and give me 20!” can go off at any time. You might be walking down the street, relaxing at a cafe, dancing at a club, or grocery shopping. It’s scary to drop down and do pushups in front of a bunch of strangers. Everybody in your vicinity will watch. I know most people ignore the notification, but not you because you are not a fucking crybaby.
The Sad Truth
Less than 1 out of 100 people who read this will complete more than 1 of these exercises. Now you know why so few people ever see any semblance of the success they say they’d like to see. It’s easier to be a crybaby. You just lie there, shit your didies, and suck on a teet. Wait, that doesn’t sound all bad …