Rejection hurts for the obvious reason that you do not achieve what you want. You don’t get to take the guy out. You don’t get that million dollar job. You don’t get to buy your new dream house. Compounded with the fact that you don’t get what you want, you don’t understand why you didn’t get it. With the guy, you don’t know what your competition was: another girl, a dying grandmother, an ex-wife, a soon to be daughter, your bad breath. With the job, you don’t know if it was your outfit, your recommendations, your answer to the second question, or if it was because you chose to take the iced mocha rather than the bottled water.
Your brain tries to crack the enigma of what you possibly did wrong. You search for the answers, you wait for the explanatory text and read through interview etiquette. You wait by the phone to see if he will text you to explain why he stopped talking to you. You consult hundreds of blogs on interview etiquette. You find the man who will co-sign your loan. But in the end, you don’t know what you did that made you rejected.