What is TikTok trend rejection therapy and does it work? Jason Comely technique pays off

The theory goes that hearing 'no' becomes easier (Pixabay)
The theory goes that hearing 'no' becomes easier (Pixabay)

It goes against common logic, but thousands of people have found that being told "no" a lot has offered a real confidence boost.

Rejection therapy is not a new idea but was popularised through the videos of Jia Jiang, whose TedTalk video on the concept has been seen more than 10 million times.

Almost 10 years later, the phenomenon has taken off on TikTok – where the term has been used as a tag almost 100 million times.

Exponents have claimed that rejection therapy has been life changing, but what is the concept and does it actually work?

What is rejection therapy?

The idea is credited to Canadian author Jason Comely, who started the website

The concept is for participants to seek out a situation where they are likely to be rejected by another person for 30 successive days.

This could be asking a stranger to give them £100, asking someone on a date, or asking for a never-before-seen coffee in Caffe Nero (iced vanilla gingerbread mocha?).

The idea is that the request could be granted theoretically but would likely be rejected.

And if a responder answers "yes" it does not count. It needs to be 30 days in a row where a "no" is recorded.

Mr Comely writes on his website: “My journey has revealed that the stings and slights of rejection are universal among us as humans, but that with conscious intent we can turn rejection into enterprise, insult into ambition, and regret into courage.”

How did rejection therapy become popular?

Chinese-American app developer Jia Jiang was a struggling entrepreneur and felt his confidence being knocked when his ideas were pushed back.

He found that bad experiences had led him to stop pursuing his ambitions and that by “overdosing on rejection” he would not feel a fear of failure any more.

“Every time I tried something new, I felt there was a constant battle between one mindset that wanted to make a difference and one that was afraid of rejection,” he said.

“The rejection [for my ideas] was turned down and I wanted to quit. And I felt I could do it better but I needed to be a better leader.

“On Google, I found”

Mr Jiang took the idea further and challenged himself to do it over 100 days – with his exploits being recorded for a vlog. His first day involved him asking a security guard for $100.

“I felt so embarrassed,” he said. “But I saw how scared I was. I didn’t explain or negotiate. I just ran from my first rejection.”

The second day saw him ask for a second burger for free. “The fear went. I could have run but I stayed. I didn’t get a free burger but the life or death feeling was gone.”

From there, TikTok users have jumped on the campaign, using the hashtag #rejectiontherapy.

Does rejection therapy work?

Mr Jiang said he had “turned fear into the biggest gift of my life” in his ability to pass on what he has learned.

One TikTok video said: “Doing things that embarrass or scare you on purpose… helps you not take life so seriously. It is a powerful life tool to not take rejections personally.”

However, no major scientific paper or health body (that I could find) has backed up the concept yet. And user discretion is advised and not everybody likes being told no for 30 days in a row!