How to Be…Rejected
by Lindsay Timmington
As an actor, learning to cope with rejection is, I think, one of the greatest feats and hardest skill to learn. That, as far as I’m concerned is as important as natural ability, drive and determination. If you don’t know how to cope with, deal with and endure rejection, then you can not be an actor.
I’ve noticed, since moving to New York that I’m better at dealing with rejection than I ever have been.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a “need to understand” kind of gal. It used to be that I needed to understand in order to fight back, to pad my argument so I could hit you hard in order to ensure that you hurt as much as I did. In more recent years my need to understand stems from a genuine need for honesty, however harsh it may be, in order to move on. Once I get that- I give myself a day, a week and a pan of brownies. I spend a little time crying, bitching and writing and then boom-I’d move on.
But still I need a clear, straightforward
Whether it’s in the form of a “thanks but no thanks” blanket email sent out after callbacks, or EVEN BETTER-a phone call from the stage manager or assistant director doling out the news and a rote “thanks for your time,” either is great because then I can be pissed momentarily, hurt for a day or so and then move the fuck on. What I can’t stand, what makes me clinically insane-find-this-girl-a-straitjacket-is ambiguous rejection and the wasting of my time.
I auditioned for Medea at a theatre company I’d worked for in past, armed with a monologue that I’d learned an hour before (that MFA is proving effective, eh?) and then proceeded to biff it, not once, but TWICE during the course of that audition. So yes, I knew with a staggering amount of confidence, that not only would I not be called back but you know what? I trekked an hour there and an hour back to Brooklyn–a courtesy email was still in order even though I practically asked for that rejection.
But when I show up to a callback and then proceed to wait THREE hours before even being handed a side, after having trekked to the Lower East Side to hunt down a copy of the play in order to study and learn the night before the callback and you don’t hand me a side until ten minutes before callbacks end and then DON’T EVEN LET ME FINISH THE DAMN SIDE, well now you’ve got one pissed off cookie on your hands. But here’s the thing—-they at least, AT LEAST had the courtesy to call me the next day, thank me for my time and tell me I hadn’t been cast.
Hard to swallow? Yes. Easier to move on from? Absofuckinglutely.
And this isn’t just specific to acting. At almost 33, I’ve learned that the dating world has turned into one giant passive agressive game of “see who can stand the radio silence longer” and that turns my crank. Because, AGAIN, here’s the thing—if you don’t like me, that’s fine-but Jesus H-have the integrity and decency to say it to my face, or at BARE MINIMUM through one of those teeny,tiny, protect-me-from-my-words-text messages and just fucking give it to me straight. “Your tits are crooked, I’m no longer interested.” “You talk too much about your cat, that’s a deal breaker for me.” “You sing the Hallelujah chorus in your sleep and that’s just not sexy.” I don’t care—make it up if you aren’t creative, have your wing man press send, but please for the love of all that’s holy, please just say it and be done.
Guys, you wanna know how to turn a completely normal, sweet girl into a bonkers-style nut who stalks you to get a damn answer and make sure you’re not dead or in a coma? Ignore her.
That’s on you.
Cause that waiting—whether it’s for the rejection email that never comes while you compulsively check the company website until the play is nearing the end of the production run to realize you haven’t been cast, or the guy that you went out with a bunch and liked and very much believed the feeling to be mutual up until the day that HE JUST STOPPED TALKING TO YOU, it’s so much easier, so much more polite, decent, filled-with-integrity to be honest with another human being EVEN IF IT’S NOT EASY TO SAY.
It’s respectful, mannerly and I wanna bring it back. You know, honesty. Straight-forwardness. Communication. You can be gentle, honest and kind when rejecting someone and even if it’s hard as hell to do, I guarantee it’s a hell of lot harder to hear, and ultimately, it’s better for all parties involved. Because then the person knows where they stand, and can move the fuck on, and frankly you no longer run the risk of someone bumping into you on the street punching you in the throat.
In our technology-driven, smart-phone obsessed world we can get away with SO MUCH MORE than we could back when we needed to call someone to communicate, or better yet, WRITE or here’s a thought, SPEAK TO THEIR FACE, and now with the advent of this godforsaken technology we can make certain that a person obsessively picks up their phone, checks for read receipts, turns off and on to make sure there isn’t a glitch preventing a phone call or a text or an email when really all could be said and done if we would just act civilly towards one another, have a little respect for another human being and their feelings and time and BE HONEST and STRAIGHTFORWARD.
Is it easy to do? Absolutely not. Am I guilty of this? 100%. But I’m here to tell you, sitting on the other side of the fence, waiting to hear from a guy who for all intents in purposes went from being 110% interested to evaporated air, my lesson has been learned—never again. I will, from now on, in any instance of rejection that I dole out, be sure to do so promptly, with care, tact and honesty. Because this shit sucks whether it’s a rejection from an audition or a dude you’ve are into and the only thing that makes it a little easier to cope with is the firm “NO,” that gives you the license and freedom to move on and find that pan of brownies.