How Rejection Makes Us Smarter


Photo: By charamelody on Flickr

Rejection stings. In fact, there is perhaps no bigger interpersonal “ouch” than being excluded, ostracized or discriminated against.But one study (via Psychology Today) shows that longer-term effects of these experiences can actually be positive.

Miami University researchers found that harsh social situations helps you recognise phoniness and a lack of genuineness in others. In the study, researchers asked participants to write about one of three topics — an experience with rejection, inclusion, or simply a recap of their previous morning.

Then all participants watched a video of 20 different people smiling — 10 fake, 10 genuine. Those who had just written about a time they felt rejected of excluded were better than the other groups at eyeing the phony smiles.

The researchers suggest that rejection motivates people to search out opportunities to be accepted again, thus finely honing our ability and willingness to recognise such opportunities — which an authentic smile represents.

Now read about why office jerks earn 18% more than their agreeable coworkers >

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