The Rejection Ratio
Joe Clark ~~ Aug 1, 2003

I have often noticed in my life that I am naturally drawn to the people who have time for me. On the flip side, the people who don't have any time to spare annoy me. There are a lot of people in this world that are so crazy busy that their schedules virtually block me out (that could always be by design, and that is taken into consideration here as well). I would like to present some mathematical ideas for a way to characterize the actions of people and for rating people as to how "rejective" they are. I know, I know, such characterization of people is not very nice, but oh well. Rejection isn't very nice either.

First of all, I would like to make the rejection ratio a fairly open concept. I want to present some guidelines here and ideas for some possible values, but in the end the actual values assigned depend on the person and the situation at hand. Just try to be consistent in your own use of this, and the ratio should be meaningful to determine who is rejective and who is not. The values I assign to the various types of rejection are characteristic of what I generally consider to be the hurtfulness of the various kinds of'll see what I mean.

Okay, now let's move on to discussing the preliminaries. Rejection is defined as when you invite someone to do something with you, and they decline your offer for any reason. Now, the "rejectional value" of the refusal may approach 0, depending on how good of an excuse they have, or it may be negative, if they turn the rejection into a counter-invitation or if they do not reject you at all. Keep those things in mind. The most common types of invitations that this ratio will deal with are the following: in person conversations, phone calls, IM conversations, emails, group outings, and one-on-one outings. Let's analyze each in a little more detail...

In-person conversations: These conversations are the conversations that come up fairly randomly -- at church, at work, in a chance meeting at Walmart. I guess I'm mostly thinking here of the truly Walmartish occasions, not the greeting time at church or the random work conversations. Here are some guidelines:

Phone calls: Phone calls are interesting phenomena, and their importance depends to a large extent on the personal preferences of the people involved. Some people talk on the phone for hours, some people get off as quick as are my guidelines.

IM conversations: IM conversations are those fun online conversations. They are fairly informal, and can last for a few hours or a few seconds.

Emails: Email rejection can vary a lot. Some people you hear from once a month or once a year, and that's all right (kinda like the Christmas letter). Some people you expect to hear from at least once a week...these factors have to be taken into consideration in the guidelines below.

Group outings: These outings could be church group social events, coworker parties, movies, or anything else where a group is involved. Care must be taken not to assign RPs where there is a valid reason for not attending the event (eg a schedule conflict).

One-on-one outings: Ahh, we come to the most awkward, most RP-sensitive invitations.

The past experience option: If you so choose, you may want to weight your RP assignments based on past experience. This can go either way. If someone has a low rejection ratio (RR) in your life, meaning they do not normally reject you, and they reject you this time, perhaps they should be given a break. On the other hand, if a pattern develops, the RR possibly should be inflated moreso, because one who goes from good friend to continual rejecter probably should have a high RR. Now, if someone has a high RR in your life, you may think twice before lowering it by a significant amount (maybe it was a fluke). However, depending on the situation, maybe they have had a change of heart, in which case the RR should be deflated moreso, since the person is taking a new interest in you for some reason.

There you have initial guidelines for a "rejection ratio" index that you can assign to all your friends and enemies (and they can assign one to you as well). Now you can have a number to gauge just how rejective the people around you are (or aren't), and maybe that number can give you ammunition for saying things like, "You're always too busy for me, you cat washer you." Enjoy, and don't be too evil with your new-found categorization abilities.