Rejection. Even the word itself can make you feel awkward. And when you are on the receiving end it can really hurt—even being rejected by a service driver during rush hour stings a bit!

Despite the pain, rejection is a normal part of life. We all, at one point or another, have felt the distress of unrequited love or felt the burden of telling someone that we are just not that into them. Hidden in this discomfort though is an opportunity for character building—it’s known that success in life is directly proportional to the number of awkward conversations you are willing to have. (Unless of course you take the ‘ghosting’ route which is a total cop-out).



But there is no situation more awkward than having to tell a Lebanese mother—who inevitably believes her son is the best and brightest and most eligible bachelor in all the land—that you would not like to be set up with him. Many girls have been in this situation before, and if you can handle it gracefully and gingerly then you have passed one of the toughest emotional intelligence tests you could possibly take.

So, where to start? The key is to recognize the signs that the Lebanese mother is an incognito matchmaker very early on in your encounter with said mother. There are usual tell-tale signs: she will directly ask if you are married, will inquire about your age, and ask detailed questions about your educational background. If you are naively answering all these questions without realizing there is a hidden agenda involved, things will get awkward very fast.



You will see a glint in her eye as she tells you with a wide smile about her wonderful son who is so busy running his business empire that he simply does not have time to date. By this point, it may be too late. Inevitably his photo will be shown to you and you must oooh and aaah or else risk appearing super rude. Then you must make some acknowledgment of her amazing son-raising skills. Make sure to smile and nod as his list of accomplishments is recited to you.

Now the easiest way to tell them you are not interested is to simply say you are not interested. But this is just out of the question. Everyone knows that the relationship between a Lebanese mother and her son is sacred. Any rejection of him is a rejection of her.

There are five words that are code in this part of the world for romantic rejection: I am still a student. You don’t need to say anything else—no feelings will be hurt and no harm will be done.

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