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How to Conquer the Fear of Rejection

by Marianne Power

What if you smile at him and he doesn’t smile back? Or what if you offer to buy her a drink and she says turns you down. What if, worst of all, you finally ask out the guy at work you’ve been pining after for months and he says, “no.” From the moment you see someone you like, the fear of rejection can be overwhelming. In fact, it’s the biggest obstacle stopping us from finding our dream partner. So, in order to conquer rejection, here are some things to remember.

We are hardwired to fear rejection.

We are primitively wired to fear rejection. Historically if we were rejected from our tribe, we had a higher chance of dying. And if a mate rejected us our genes would not continue. That’s why it cuts deep. That’s why if someone we like blanks us at the bar, even though we know it won’t kill us, it feels like it might.

Everybody is scared – you’re not alone.

In her self-help classic, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, Susan Jeffers explains that we’re all scared of rejection – even the people who look as if they’re confident and have got it together. The only way to fight that fear is to face it – now. If we wait for the day we feel thin enough, rich enough, clever enough, brave enough to approach the people we like, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. Even if it doesn’t work out you’ll feel a tingle of pride for having the courage to take action.

Dating is a numbers game.

Entrepreneurs talk about “notching up the no’s” to get to the yeses. If we accept that with every frog we kiss, or every phone call that doesn’t get returned, we are closer to finding the right partner, it can take the sting out.

You won’t get rejected as much as you think.

There’s a game called rejection therapy which has only one rule: you must get rejected once a day. Why? Well, the idea is that our lives are so limited by our fear of rejection but by actually facing it everyday you realise that rejection doesn’t kill you. You also realise that you don’t get rejected half as much as you think you’re going to be. Most of the time the rejection is in our head – we imagine that he’s too good looking, she’s too popular etc. for us but a lot of the time it’s just that – imagination. The only way to know if the partner of your dreams might like you is to go up and say hello.

Do not base your value on somebody else’s opinion.

But say you do get the guts to approach someone in a bar, or ask out the girl at work and you get a “no.” Yes, it stings but that does not mean that you are any less of a person than you were ten minutes ago.

We don’t know why people react the way they do. They might be have been fired that day, they might have a partner, they might just be a jerk or perhaps they’re just not the right one for you. The trick – and not an easy one – is to be happy enough in yourself that a rejection from somebody else does not cripple you for weeks. It’s just somebody else’s opinion. After all, you’re great and if you keep putting yourself out there you’ll soon find someone who can see that.

To follow my month of rejection therapy, visit

Marianne Power is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in various newspapers and magazines. Her latest project follows her as she lives by the rules of a different self-help book every month to see if it can improve her broke, single, anxious existence.


  1. OliveJuice

    May 16, 2014

    I think you just have to flirt. The more you flirt the easier it gets. If he’s not into me, so what? The right guy will be!!! LOL!!!

    • fdadmin

      May 17, 2014

      Yes! Flirting does get easier. Good for you for daring to date!

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