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From my own experience reaction to rejection is very internal. I'm having troubles with coming up with actions that rejected people do, that would be perfect description for what they feel. It would help me a lot if I could learn a couple of examples. And I know people on this board know about their stuff.

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    I would need to know more about the underlying character of the rejected person and their relationship with the person who rejected them. An awkward nerd rejected by a nice girl he barely ever talked to because he was too shy will be very different from a trusting, generous person rejected when his previously caring love interest realizes he has no money, or rejection of a serial-killing mad man who has finally fallen in love and released one of his victims as a first attempt at redemption.
    – DWKraus
    Oct 14, 2021 at 22:54

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I largely depends in what type of personality they have. If they're the go-getter person who's optimistic, try to have them act normal in front of everyone, but there's an internal sob-fest going on. Or make them act all sullen and dull in front of people, but nobody can seem to cheer them up. Make them grump and agitated all the time. Or dramatic. Or just completely silent all the time. Maybe even stunned and trying to wrap their heads around the rejection. it also depends in if they're a boy or girl or some other gender. Have their friends console them, or have their friends not care.

I'd have the character either act like they don't care in front of everyone and seem cool around the person that rejected them, or have them open up to everyone. Maybe right after the rejection, they go cry somewhere then 4 months later they're seen still trying to get over that person. Maybe even the attraction slowly turns into a hate for that person.

But IDK, I'm not an expert so IDK if this helps or not.

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I'm assuming you're talking about someone other than the viewpoint character (where you would be able to show the internal reaction). How much other people would notice of someone hurting from a rejection depends both on the rejected person's personality and how close they are.

If the rejected person reacts by becoming unusually quiet, withdrawn, sullen, moody etc., even someone who doesn't know them very well might notice the change but probably not understand why. A friend, on the other hand, might pick up on how their mood changes when their crush enters the room, or how they're taking pains to avoid meeting them. Maybe the rejected person spends less time in the office kitchen than they used to, only staying to chat if their crush is nowhere to seen. Or they start going to a different super market than they used to so there's no risk of running into their crush by accident, but of course if anyone asks about it they'll come up with some kind of alternative explanation.

However, if the rejected person tries to pretend they're fine, someone who doesn't know them very well might not notice any difference at all. A friend might notice how their laughter seems a tad forced and how sometimes, when they think no one is watching, their smile slips and they gaze sadly at their crush talking to someone else. Of course, when they notice the friend looking at them, they'll put on a smile and wave it off as "being tired" or "lost in thought".

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Just write about their facial expressions when faced with rejection. Do the characters show expression, even subtly, when dealing with it? If not, what do their minds say? Reacting to rejection is always nuanced, so use yourself as a reference and infer from there depending on the character concerned. It isn’t so difficult, you as a human being deal with it often daily I imagine since it is so common to be rejected, so use experience and infer or deduct accordingly. You live life, you can write about this common experience.

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  • Thanks for your reply. The thing is I don't see my face while being rejected. Also I can't really think of facial expressions of rejected people. Nothing describable comes to my mind. Hence the question.
    – Rico
    Oct 18, 2021 at 11:36
  • @Rico use emotions that are felt in rejection and try to translate them into facial expressions.
    – bvcolic
    Nov 5, 2021 at 3:00

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