Elizabeth Bennet’s Guide to Rejecting Unwanted Suitors

Several rejections take place in Pride and Prejudice. If you find yourself in the same boat this Valentine's Day, do not fear! Our Creative Engagement Officer Ellora Sutton is here to share Elizabeth Bennet's Guide to Rejecting Unwanted Suitors...

Ah, Valentine’s Day. That time of year when those of us with “fine eyes” and “a certain something in her air and manner of walking” dread unwelcome guests barging in, declaring “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Ugh. Well, fret not – here’s a handy guide to rejecting any unwanted suitors who may befall you this February, complete with ready-to-use examples straight from the obstinate, headstrong mouth of Elizabeth Bennet in Chapter 34 of Pride & Prejudice.

1. Express your gratitude for their kind interest

“if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot – I have never desired your good opinion”


2. Offer a constructive critique of their proposal…

“why with so evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character?”


3. …but make sure they know that’s not the only reason for your refusal

“You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.”

4. Be honest about how you feel

“I have every reason in the world to think ill of you.”


5. Have a list of all their worst qualities to hand

“[…] your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others […]”

6. Encourage self-reflection

“do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man who has been the means of ruining, perhaps for ever, the happiness of a most beloved sister?”


7. Make sure they know it’s not you, it’s them

“I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”