If you’re a guy who suffers from a nagging fear of rejection during dating, there is plenty of hope for you. In this article, I’ll share several tips you can follow to deal with the issue head-on. First, let’s address some background information about what your fear means and how it can negatively impact your life.
What exactly is fear of rejection?
Fear of rejection is a deeply rooted fear that impacts your thoughts and feelings and influences your behavior. The fear stems from a very old belief (often developed during childhood) that you may somehow be deficient, not good enough, or unappealing overall as a potential romantic partner in a couple.
What areas of life can my fear of rejection affect?
I’ll share a snippet of wisdom I learned from own therapist many years ago during my training to become a psychologist. Our principal emotional issues come out in one of two areas: our work life or our romantic life. If you struggle with fear of rejection, this fear may affect your career, dating and relationships, or both.
How the fear might affect your dating life
You may not seek out your equal for relationships and seek out instead potential partners who are needy or who don’t challenge you. The fear may cause you to delay or avoid asking someone out. The fear’s impact makes you do everything you can to prevent the possibility of being rejected, which would set off uncomfortable feelings like sadness, anger or self-blame.
Tip # 1: Repeat one simple sentence.
Say this out loud so you can hear yourself saying it: “I decide how much I’m worth, not anyone else.” If you want to create your own version of this statement, feel free. Psychologically, repeating such words is rehearsal behavior. You’re actually rehearsing acting like someone who does not have a fear of rejection, and you’re training your mind to think differently. In this case, you’re training your mind to believe that you will feel fine if you get rejected. This is because your self-esteem doesn’t hinge entirely on what any one person thinks or feels about you.
Tip # 2: Understand how little power you give yourself and how much power you give others.
When you don’t ask someone out or you avoid dating your equal because you’re afraid of the possibility of rejection, you are essentially saying that what that person thinks of you matters more you than what you think about yourself. The individual with healthy self-esteem thinks like this: I’m not worried about rejection because I don’t give anyone the power to define my worth or attractiveness.
Tip # 3: Remember one simple rule.
As a psychologist, I sometimes wonder if one truly needs as many years of graduate school as I had in order to be a good therapist. The reason? Despite my education and training, I often simply end up saying or doing with my clients what my own therapist said or did with me. Over the course of our sessions, he shared certain statements that have stuck with me over years to the point that I use some of the very same statements in my clinical work today. One rule he shared applies here: Every time you idealize someone else, you automatically devalue yourself. Reflect for a moment about how this rule applies to dating. When you truly fear being rejected by a person, you’re idealizing them (telling yourself that their opinion matters so much) and devaluing yourself (telling yourself that your worth hinges on what they think about you).
Tip # 4: Ask yourself what you could be doing to make your own life harder.
When it comes to relationships, it’s understandable that they bring occasional anxiety. Fear of rejection is real and powerful, but it doesn’t have to overwhelm you. By taking action and seeking out the things you want in life, you can make sure that you aren’t getting in your own way and allowing anything to hold you back from realizing your dreams.
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.