[side] So you’re out with your friends and you’re having a good time when someone comes up and starts talking to you. At first you think nothing of it, but a few drinks later, he’s getting pretty friendly and wants your number. Telling someone you’re not interested can be hard, with or without being intoxicated. For the morally correct way, you could tell them you’re not interested, but if you’re like some MSU students, you’ll have the person think they’re calling your number, when in fact, they’re dialing the Rejection Hotline.
“We started it completely just for a joke; I put the first recording up to make my friends laugh, and then they told their friends. It started flying around the Internet, and then we were getting thousands of calls,” Jeff Goldblatt, creator of the Rejection Hotline, said.
Goldblatt is a 28-year-old entrepreneur and president of Dream Pursuit Communications, LLC – the parent company for the Rejection Hotline, The Telemarketers’ Nightmare and AskTheCollegeGuy.com.
“I’m always coming up with random stuff exclusively to entertain people,” Goldblatt said.
The Rejection Hotline does just that. It’s a funny voice recording one person can give to another to avoid giving him her real number to let him know she isn’t interested. The original voicemail was put up in summer 2001, and after the enormous success of the hotline, the Web site began in early 2002.
“I think it’s hilarious,” Meagan Stockemer, telecommunications senior, said. “I would give it to somebody really skeezy.”
To date, there are hotline numbers in 30 cities across the United States. In 2004 over 13 million calls were made nationwide to the hotline, with over a million to the Detroit number.
“The Detroit media had a field day with that after Valentine’s this year, and the Associated Press referred to Detroit as the most rejected city,” Goldblatt said. “But that isn’t necessarily true – the vast majority, probably 90 percent, are calling because they heard the message was funny.”
Jessica Koch, kinesiology junior, said that is how she heard of the number.
“A friend of mine gave me the number. I called, and then I died laughing,” Koch said. “I don’t think people give it to people to be mean, I think they give it to people as a joke.”
Mike Fibiger, kinesiology sophomore, agreed after hearing the message. “I would give it to someone as a joke, but even that’s pretty mean,” he said.
So what does a hotline such as this say about our society? Dr. Barnaby Barratt, Farmington Hills sex therapist, believes this type of thing can be avoided.
“If people want to be mean and nasty and reject people then they can be mean and nasty, but there are other ways to reject people,” he said.
Barnaby said a hotline like this allows us to evade certain social skills.
“Our society lacks two social skills: learning to say no gracefully, and learning to receive no without taking it to heart,” Barratt said. “People shouldn’t take rejection personally. When dating you get a lot of no’s and some yes’s. No doesn’t mean anything against you; it means that, at this particular time, for reasons of their own, that person isn’t interested.”
Rejection from the hotline is something both Koch and Fibiger would take personally.
“I think I would cry,” Koch said, if faced with getting the number seriously.
“It’s pretty harsh,” Fibiger said. “I don’t think I could handle getting this. I would be pissed off.”
Which is why Goldblatt wants people to understand the hotline is all in good fun and a public service. Keeping losers at bay, one rejection message at a time.

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