Ask Dr. Nerdlove by Harris O'Malley

How Do I Get Over Having Been Rejected?

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m stuck in a rut that I have no reason to be stuck in.

I’m a college student who is single as single gets. I’m pretty sure there are castrated monks who have had more of a love life than I have. I had difficulty finding a job this summer, so money is something of an issue (more than usual). Therefore, when my cute friend who sat by me in my social work class pinged on my radar, I tried to rein in the hormones. We seemed to gel pretty well together, but I figured it wouldn’t mean much if I asked her out on a date and then couldn’t do anything else for a few weeks.

Eventually, I told myself that if she really liked me, she would empathize one broke college student to another and we could work out cheap dates. So I ran into her at the library one day. I was straightforward: I told her about Schrodinger’s dates, that I thought they were scummy, and that I wanted to take her on a date date.

She said she was flattered…but she was already seeing someone.



Here’s where the “no reason” part comes in: I did everything right. I didn’t blow up or call her a whore or anything Nice Guy-ish. She was super cool about the whole thing. Hell, the rational part of me recognized that I had done as much research as I could. I had checked through her social media, and there were no pictures of her that would indicate she was dating. Plus, the fact that she said she was “seeing” someone made me think this was a recent development.

Nonetheless, I’ve had a bad bout of depression the past two weeks, and I know getting shot down is the cause. I’ve made every rationalization I could to snap myself out of it: if she had said yes and left out the boyfriend fact, our relationship would have been built on a lie. Maybe we went on a date, and it turns out we’re completely incompatible. Or she decides to casually bring up her castration fetish. Lots of fish in the sea. But depression, feeling like a failure, and my inner catastrophizer screaming “SEE? PROOF YOU’RE GOING TO DIE ALONE!” know of no such thing as reason.

Any suggestions as to get myself back on track?

Lost In the Weeds

DEAR LOST IN THE WEEDS: I’m going to give it to you straight: you’re in this rut because you’re making far more about this than there needs to be. You met someone cute, you asked her out on a date, she said thanks but. That’s it, really. Everything else after that is just your jerkbrain rounding all of this up to having more meaning than “cute woman had a boyfriend”.

The reason why you’re so upset is because right now you’re looking for all the ways that you f

ked up and trying to find something that you can use to blame yourself. And frankly, that’s bulls

t. There wasn’t any amount of “research” that was gonna help; not everyone puts all of their business online. Hell, you may even have seen her boyfriend without realizing it; you don’t know. And while I know the whole reason Zuckerberg invented Facebook was so folks could tell if so-and-so from Freshman Lit 101 was single or not, the truth is that you’re only going to know if someone’s available by asking them out. You did and you got turned down for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you. She’s got a boyfriend; his existence says precisely two things about you, your worth and your desirability:




And Jack left town.

Now maybe if you’d pulled the trigger on this earlier you wouldn’t have built things up quite as much; you wouldn’t have devoted as much time and emotional bandwidth to your crush, so it would’ve sucked slightly less when you got turned down. But that’s just pure hindsight.

But here’s the thing about hindsight: it’s supposed to give you the experience so you know what to do next time. Your past mistakes are lessons for you to learn from, not a club to beat yourself with. Now you know that you can date while being broke, not to emotionally overinvest in people and not to hesitate when you’re interested in someone.

Your next step — and the key to getting out of this funk — is to get back up and try again with someone else. As cute and desirable as your classmate may be, she’s not the only one out there. There are millions of women out there, women who aren’t seeing someone and who will want what you have to offer. So it’s on you to go find some of them.

Straight talk, my man: rejection is part of the game. Nobody goes five for five, not Ryan Gosling, not Brad Pitt, not Chadwick Boseman. Someone turning you down is just a sign that you two weren’t right for one another, and now you’re free to not worry about them. It’s time to get back up, get back out there and meet some more awesome folks.

And if you’re into them… ask ’em out. Even if you think you’re too broke or out of their league. You’ll be surprised which ones will say yes.

Good luck.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: So lately I’ve been reading a lot of on the so-called “Red Pill” and I’m just so confused and having analysis paralysis which sucks!

Since reading Red Pill forums, I can’t stop over analyzing attraction, alpha and beta male characteristics. I guess my question to you is… What truly makes an “alpha male”. What do women truly want in a man? Is it simply being the best authentic version of yourself, that keeps you true to your personality???

Thanks so much,

Red and Blue

DEAR RED AND BLUE: I’ve written a fair bit about the problems with “taking the Red Pill” and a lot of the mistaken ideas about being an “alpha male” both on my site and on my YouTube channel, so you may want to give those a look.

The biggest takeaway is: the alpha/beta dichotomy is basically bulls

t. It was spawned by flawed science – examining the behavior of pack animals in zoos, instead of the wild – that was latched onto by people who want to distill human attraction down to something that could fit on a bumper sticker. Even in primates, the dichotomy doesn’t exist. Dominant chimpanzees may have a harem, but they maintain it through beating and murdering other males, not because the female chimps want the alpha of the group. As soon as the dominant chimp’s back is turned, the females are quite cheerfully banging the so-called “betas” when they go in heat.

(This is without getting into the fact that we’re not related to chimps; we’re much closer to bonobos, which is a different ball o’ wax entirely.)

There are decidedly dominant and domineering men. There are more submissive men. Neither of them have the exclusive monopoly on straight women’s interest. Some women like a low-key, easy going guy. Others like the rough-tough-takes-no-s

t type. Some like the dudes who are in between the two extremes. Some even like both, depending on the mood they’re in. And the same is true for men: some men like dominant, aggressive women and others like the shy and retiring types, etc.

Now, there are some traits that are generally not going to be attractive. Being jealous, for example, isn’t an attractive trait. Neither is apathy, for that matter. But when it comes to attraction, there will be women who’ll drool over Idris Elba and there’ll be ones who prefer someone like David Bowie.

The best thing you can do is just what you said: find and cultivate the best version of your most authentic self and then find the people who appreciate and are attracted to what you’ve got to offer.

(And hey, if you need help doing that development, check out my book, New Game +…)

Good luck.

Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (; or to his email,