5-minute listening: How to handle rejection after a first date

  • Practise your English with our short listening exercises: play the audio linked below; answer the questions; and check the answers at the bottom of the page
  • This week’s podcast is about dealing with rejection after a first date
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Rejection is tough, but you can pick yourself back up again! Photo: Shutterstock

Click on the video below for the audio (the script has been adapted from Tribune News Service).

Play a Kahoot! game about this podcast as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:


1. What sort of topics are discussed on Why Don’t You Like Me?
A. family issues
B. dating and relationships
C. common problems teens face
D. all of the above

2. What does Izumi need help with?
A. starting a conversation with a potential date
B. meeting new people
C. preparing for his first date
D. getting over being rejected

3. How does Izumi feel when he says his “world has stopped”?
A. depressed
B. serious
C. annoyed
D. enraged

4. What does Ho-yee say about facing rejection in dating?
A. It is less common than we think.
B. Most people are able to avoid it.
C. It happens all the time.
D. Certain people are more prone to being rejected.

5. Which word can replace “reciprocated” in the podcast?
A. duplicated
B. restored
C. returned
D. imitated

6. How do most people respond after they have been rejected?
A. say they will never date again
B. watch romantic films on repeat
C. refuse to get out of bed
D. all of the above

7. What does the research mentioned in the podcast compare the pain from rejection to?
A. actual physical pain
B. a panic attack
C. fears of being abandoned
D. the unpleasant feelings of being judged by others

8. According to Sara, who do we usually blame when we are rejected?
A. social media
B. ourselves
C. online dating apps
D. the other person

9. Based on your understanding, why might some people “replay the dates and interactions” in their head?
A. so they can remember what happened
B. to calm themselves down
C. to figure out what went wrong during the dates
D. to distract themselves

10. Why might someone might reject others according to the podcast?
A. They still have feelings for their ex.
B. They are not ready to date someone else.
C. They prefer to keep things casual.
D. all of the above

11. When you “string someone along”, you …
A. convince them to help you
B. keep them waiting in uncertainty
C. try to accept their unpleasant behaviour
D. make them feel bad about themselves

12. According to the podcast, how should one respond to a rejection message?
A. with a disapproving tone
B. with enthusiasm
C. as polite as possible
D. in a nonchalant manner

13. Which of the following responses to a rejection text message is not advisable?
A. “It’s not fair that you’re not giving me a second chance.”
B. “I am really surprised, but I respect your decision.”
C. “Even though it didn’t work out, I am glad we got to meet.”
D. “Thank you for letting me know that you’re not interested.”

14. According to Sara, how long does it usually take for someone to get over being rejected?
A. two weeks
B. a few months
C. half a year
D. information not given

15. What does it mean when someone says “don’t beat yourself up”?
A. to not try too hard to impress others
B. to not blame yourself too much for something
C. to not waste your efforts
D. to not try and avoid something


1. B
2. D
3. A
4. C
5. C
6. D
7. A
8. B
9. C
10. D
11. B
12. C
13. A
14. D
15. B

Chan Ho-yee: Hi everyone! Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Why Don’t You Like Me? Joining us this morning is dating coach Sara Kuburic. Welcome, Sara!

Sara Kuburic: Hello everyone! And thanks for having me, Ho-yee!

Chan Ho-yee: It’s my pleasure! I’m just going through the comments we’ve received from our listeners, and here’s a really interesting one for you. Izumi from Tin Hau wrote: “I recently met this girl online and we went out for our first date. I thought it went really well but she sent me a rejection text the next day. And now, it feels like my world has stopped. I can’t stop thinking about her and I’m not in the mood to do anything else. I’ve even stopped hanging out with my friends. What is wrong with me?”

Sara Kuburic: Izumi, I’m sorry to hear that things did not turn out the way you expected. But first and foremost, you need to know that it is not your fault.

Chan Ho-yee: Indeed. While no one likes to be rejected, this is perfectly normal in the dating world and it happens all the time. Sara, do you have any advice for Izumi on how to deal with it?

Sara Kuburic: Yes but before that, I want to address the feelings Izumi is dealing with. Most of us experience rejection as painful or embarrassing. It’s hard enough putting ourselves out there and it can feel devastating when your feelings are not reciprocated. Common responses to rejection include refusing to get out of bed, re-watching the same romantic films over and over again and swearing off dating. People are not being dramatic when they say it feels like their world has stopped; they are trying to manage their pain.

Chan Ho-yee: I just want to add that research has shown that the pain we feel from rejection is similar to the pain we experience from physical pain.

Sara Kuburic: Exactly. So many of us will replay the dates and interactions, blaming ourselves for talking too much or too little. Regardless of what we did or did not do, it’s easy to identify ourselves as the problem. But it’s not always about you! Maybe the person rejecting you has unresolved feelings for their ex, is not ready for a new relationship, or realises they want to try something a bit more casual.

Chan Ho-yee: And how can we best respond to the rejection, which in Izumi’s case, was over text?

Sara Kuburic: Not every rejection requires a response. If you decide you do want to respond, keep it simple and polite. You can thank them for their honesty and for not stringing you along. A message such as “Even though it didn’t work out, I am glad we got to meet” or “Thank you for letting me know that you’re not interested. Having these conversations is never easy” usually works. If that person wants to continue to be friends but you are not ready for that, you can just reply: “I am feeling a bit hurt right now. I will need some time before we can try to hang out as friends.”

Sara Kuburic: It’s also important to understand that being rejected does not mean that we are “bad,” “unworthy” or “undesirable.” Think about the wonderful qualities the other person doesn’t recognise or value. It’s also important to take care of yourself. There is often a lot of pressure to “get over it” but it’s OK to spend some time healing your wounds.

Chan Ho-yee: That’s really helpful. Thanks Sara! Izumi, I hope this has been useful for you. Thanks for sharing your experience with our listeners and I hope you can take this time to focus on yourself. Remember not to beat yourself up!

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