What is social knockback? What factor initiates it? What will happen if a person faces social rejection? What will be done to solve the problems created by social rejection? These are the key questions addressed in this essay.
Abraham Maslow (1954), an American Human Psychologist, proposed that all human beings are motivated to fulfill hierarchical pyramids of needs such as physiological needs, safety needs, the needs for love and belongingness, the needs for self-esteem and self-actualization. In his hierarchy of human needs, Maslow explained that the needs for belongingness as a sense of comfortable and connected to others that results from gaining respect, acceptance and love. For him, the need for social acceptance is the higher need that all people want to achieve in their life among other needs. If an individual fail to fulfill a single need from the above mentioned ones, this will affect the fulfillment of his/her another needs negatively.
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Figure 1Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs
(Source: Sketched by Eyob Milkias, author of this essay, after https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs).
What is Social Knockback/Rejection? What Key Factor initiates Social Rejection?
Social Rejectionis a social situation which occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from social interaction or relationship. Every individual may face social rejection at least once a time throughout his/her life. Knowingly or unknowingly, a person may face social knockback from his/her friends, co-workers, family members and from the entire community members.
According to Shushansky quoted in Steinhilber (2016), the level of sensitivity to rejection is directly proportional to the level of independence someone has achieved in their lives either physically or mentally, economically or socially. The more independent a person is the less sensitive they are. The more dependent individuals are on others for their well-being the more they will experience social rejection. This is a key reason for experiencing social rejection.
Regarding the level of rejection which individuals face, since sensitivity is directly related to dependency, people do respond to rejection across different areas of their lives differently.
The same person may experience different level of rejection from friends and family, to co-workers, to the stranger at the bar who was not feeling your advances.
What will happen in the life of an individual (socially, mentally, psychologically and physically) if a person faces social rejection?
Effects of Social Rejection: It has direct impact on person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health. Feelings of social rejection may lead individuals to become more aggressive, demonstrate low self-control, more depression, anxiety, and anger, feelings of loneliness, jealousy and sadness in their personal life and may also damage a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem (Fisher, 2015; Steinhilber, 2016).
Social rejection can invite individuals to cheat, procrastinate, and choose dishonest social behaviors. Physical consequences of social rejection include negative effects on sleep quality and immune system of a person. Experiencing social rejection may lead individuals to have an immediate decrease in reasoning by 30% and in Intelligence Quotient (IQ) by 25% and reduces the performances of individuals on difficult intellectual tasks (Western Reserve University cited in Fisher, 2015).
In contrary to the above point of view of Western Reserve University, an exposure to social rejection can benefit a person positively in terms of increasing creativity and creative outcomes. A study conducted by Kim, Vincent and Goncalo (2012) about the linkage between social rejection and creativity, find out that individuals who possessed an independent self-concept performed more creatively following social exclusion relative to inclusion.
The above mentioned researchers argue that social rejection may be dependent on the degree of independence in one’s self-concept since self-concept determines the responses to social rejection and person’s with adequate self-concept is preferred to exclude him/herself from others deliberately (Markus and Kitayama quoted in Kim, Vincent and Goncalo, 2012). This means, social acceptance and inclusion alone cannot assure the success of someone and the performance of individuals may be influenced negatively if a person have negative self-concept for him/herself.
As explained at the beginning of this paper about the hierarchy of human needs, for Abraham Maslow (1954), since the need for social belongingness is the need that all people want to achieve in their life, if an individual fails to achieve this need, it will affect the fulfillment of other needs, especially, the need for self-esteem and self-actualization negatively. This is related with what Fisher (2015) and Steinhilber (2016) advocate in their article.
What will be done to solve the problems resulted from social rejection?
Solutions for Social Rejection:Although there is no single universally accepted mechanism to address the problems related with social rejection, using the following techniques mention by Steinhilber may reduce the level of social rejection that individuals encounter in their life.
Assure and Reassure Your Independence
Reducing the level of social, physical, economic and psychological dependence on others and having independent self-concept may minimize the negative effects of social rejection. People who believe in themselves and their ability to grow and develop can more readily bounce back and envision a brighter future. If you experience rejection from someone you interact with on a daily basis, say your boss, a co-worker, or a close friend, work on strengthening yourself and becoming more independent from that person. Not necessarily becoming totally free and independent from that person, but becoming independent enough so you can step back in the relationship with more confidence, assuredness, and sense of self.
Purposefully Practice being rejected
Deliberately go out and look for rejection by making requests from individuals about things you want. This will result in considering rejection as a constant and something that can make you better. The more aware and mindful we are of how we react to situations will give us options on how to respond differently.
Change Your Perspective
Re-define how you define about yourself and your relations with others carefully. Don’t let one circumstance change your entire mindset. One instance of rejection isn’t indicative of your entire social sphere or relationship map. Make an effort to reach out to friends, family, and any other support system you have to reaffirm your positive relationships. Rejections aren’t the end of the world, but sometimes we can react as if they are. Being turned away from one opportunity makes you available for another.
To conclude this essay on the concepts, causes, effects and solutions for social rejection,no one likes to be excluded and rejected by his/her friends, co-workers, family members and community members. Maslow argued that all people want to be accepted and included socially. But, every individual may face at least once a time throughout his/her life regardless of his or her age level, educational qualifications, ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic status and etc. Lack of social acceptance has direct impact on person both negatively and positively. This problem can be solved and reduced by being independent person, by purposefully practicing being rejected and by changing how we think about ourselves and our relations with other individuals.
Fisher, N. (2015). Rejection and Physical Pain are the same to Your Brain.Retrieved from
Kim, S. H., Vincent, L. C., & Goncalo, J. A. (2012). Outside advantage: Can social rejection
fuel creative thought? [Electronic version]. Retrieved from Cornell University, ILR School site: http: //digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/articles/613
Maslow, A., (1954)Motivation and Personality.Retrieved from chrome-
Steinhilber, B. (2016). Understanding rejection: How to mitigate its Effect on the brain.
Retrieved from http://www.everup.com/2016/02/05/rejections-hacks-brain-effects/
- Arbeit zitieren
- Eyob Milkias (Autor), 2018, A Brief Essay on Social Rejection, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/388906