Last week while walking through Aldrich, I overheard two RCs talking: “That dating guy, you know the one who writes those funny columns?” said the first RC.

“Um, ya, the Kwama Sutra,” responded her friend.

“Right. He’s extremely cute, and I hear he’s charming and charismatic, but he writes about being rejected all the time. What’s up with that? And do you have a writeup I can use for Fin2?” the first RC mentioned before they walked away.

Interestingly, like someone who gets into the GSB, but is waitlisted at HBS, I wasn’t sure whether I should be happy or not.

On the one hand, as my loyal (and even not so loyal) readers are aware, Kwama places aesthetics above all of objective metrics that determine how datable someone might be. Subsequently, the comments about my looks made me happier than the student who gets in off at the waitlist and now can go to Harvard (please reference the above joke).

That being said, no one wants to be labeled as someone who is often rejected. Sure – Charlie Brown created a formidable career based off rejection, but I don’t have a crew as tight as the Peanuts gang.

So, I thought this week provides the perfect opportunity to write about rejection.

There are two schools on rejection.

The first is that rejection is demoralizing, painful, and overall quite embarrassing. Once you have been labeled as going for person X and person X decides not to go for you, the rest of the school gets wind and your stock drops faster than Apple’s without Steve Jobs. Consequently, you have this lingering smell on you, like that one time I got into a fight with a skunk, and no one wanted to be near me. My goal for the next 400 words is to dissuade you from viewing rejection that way.

The second notion is that someone turning you down for a date is not actually rejection. Ok, this sentence was confusing and somewhat counterintuitive, so let me dissect it further. A good example to prove my point would be to equate dating with a fear of failure. Is failure attempting to do something and not getting it right OR is failure not trying at all? Thus, those who tried actually didn’t fail – instead, the failures are those who sat on the sidelines.

You’re going to fail to execute on many opportunities. Who cares about those? The reality is you really only need to get it right a few times to be an extremely successful person. I can give you countless examples of ideas or people who struck it big after many missed chances. I am 100% that whoever created the children’s TV show character Barney had some atrocious looking designs before he struck it big. I mean, Barney is a purple dinosaur – that’s so weird. Yet, he kept his confidence, continued to design horrendously ugly creatures, and is now richer than you or me.

The same is true with dating. Polygamy jokes aside, you don’t need numerous relationships while at HBS. You actually just need a successful one, and that can provide you more happiness than anything (well, just about anything – I’d have to think flying a spaceship around the moon would make me extremely happy).

You can use the rejection process as a perfect filter to find the one person you are actually meant to be with. And think about it, the person who actually finds you worthwhile, regardless of previous hits or misses, is probably the right type of person for you. It’s like, if you are an attractive, single female, and you enjoy reading my columns, you would probably enjoy dating me (just a suggestion).

Moreover, the alternative is really not trying to find anyone at all. And let’s face it, that’s pretty boring. Not boring like LCA, but not a life to live.

So, use this column as the catalyst that allows you to reach out to that crush you’ve always thought was attractive or the columnist who’s dating columns you always read.

Here at HBS, we’re pioneers and it is time to do some innovating on our views or being rejected.

February 28, 2011
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