You feel rejected when you fail to get love, attention, friendship, or approval from a person or group of people from whom you wanted to receive this1. For example, when you are turned down by someone who you asked out on a date, when your partner falls out of love with you, or when a group of friends meets up together without inviting you. The emotion is triggered by an action (or lack of action) that reveals to you what their actual feelings for you are. The action can be outright and deliberate, for instance, someone telling you they don’t want to see you anymore. However, the other person can also be rejecting you unintentionally, for example, when a group of friends meets up and forgets to invite you. Lastly, the other person might not even know they are rejecting you, for example, many parents will feel some rejection when their child is more interested in their toy than in them, at least temporarily.
You only feel rejected by those people whose love or approval you were seeking out2. These may be people you have known for a long time (family members, friends), or people who you have just met (potential lovers), people you want to work with (e.g., being turned down for a job), parents whose approval you want, and so forth. In each of these cases, there may be others who do love or admire you, but this is often irrelevant. Although acts of rejection are usually isolated, people can project them on their whole self, and feel that nobody loves or likes them.
In the comic, Murphy’s colleague comes by his open office to invite everyone for lunch. When he passes Murphy’s desk, he remains oddly silent. Murphy watches all his colleagues go out for lunch together.