I’ll admit to you all now, I wasn’t always a fearless dater. In my late teens and early twenties I was absolutely a scared, clueless dater. Many years and dates later, I’ve become an expert at dating but the hardest thing for me to get over was my fear of rejection.
Here’s how I finally overcame my fear of rejection:
1. I learned to stop taking things personally
A rejection often feels personal at its root. Sure, you might get rejected because someone just doesn’t want to date, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel like you are personally being rejected. Part of the way that I learned to overcome my fear of rejection was simply remembering that even if I’m being rejected, it doesn’t change who I am in any way. Sure, it changes my knowledge of who is or isn’t interested in me, but being rejected didn’t make me less of a person at all. It couldn’t change me, or hurt me, unless I let it. I stopped letting rejections change my mood and how I viewed my own self worth.
2. I realized that the root of my fear was Ego
There are people who deal with crippling anxiety who are afraid of interacting with people but I was never one of those people. I was afraid that I’d embarrass myself which ultimately is a nice way of saying that I was principally concerned with my own ego. Why would I let a rejection bring fear into my life? My fear was a construct made of Me, Myself, and I. Learning this, I worked on quieting down that voice in my head that would tell me “I’ll be embarrassed if I ask her out and get rejected” by reminding myself that in the end, embarrassment is a function of the mind and is only as real as you let it be.
3. I sought out rejection
I’ve always been a learning-through-immersion type of person. When I was trying to learn how to overcome my fear, I tried to ask out as many people as possible. People I thought would have no interest in me, people who I thought were out of my league, anyone who I thought would reject me, I asked out. You know what? I got rejected A LOT. I also got a lot more positive responses than I thought I would. Overcoming rejection takes a lot of practice, and that practice of getting rejected helped me build up a certain level of confidence, indifference, and a thicker skin.
4. I took risks
Outside of asking people out, I actually stopped trying to please people and started focusing on making myself happy. When I was dating, I’d agree to any date idea floated to me. The problem was, I’m incredibly picky when it comes to date ideas. I’ve always hated dinner dates and coffee dates as a first date activity but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve agreed to a dinner or coffee date because I thought I was out of my league and this was the only way they’d go on a date with me. There came a point where I said screw it, if they don’t like the activities or places I want to go to, why not just bail on the dates completely? Chances are I’ll be paying for it, why am I not seeking my own happiness? To be honest, I found that many women were inflexible about date activities (ex. Dinner on the first date or no date at all). I took risks, lost out on some first dates with women who just weren’t for me in the end, but all those rejections helped me overcome the people pleasing behavior I developed as a result of my fear of rejection.
5. I realized that fear never goes away
Did I lead you to believe that I don’t have a fear of rejection at all? Well sorry, I said I overcame my fear, I didn’t say it was gone. I absolutely still have a fear of rejection…and I’m okay with that. I have a fear of rejection the same way I have a fear of anything that sucks that is completely plausible like being disliked, offending someone, getting tongue-tied, or saying “umm” way too much. I realize that although I still have this fears, I don’t let these fears rule me. The key is, acknowledging that you’re afraid, and just doing it anyway. Chances are that if you’re rejected, the only thing that will be hurt is your ego.
Hopefully, you’ve learned from my experiences and they help you overcome your fear of rejection.
Good Luck Out There.