Is Fear of Rejection Keeping You Single?

young people socializing at a partyYou are single, feeling good about yourself, looking your best, and decide to go out for a night on the town. In the back of your mind, there is a small nugget of hope that perhaps tonight you will finally meet the person of your dreams and begin the relationship you have been fantasizing about.

As you arrive at the party, bar, or dance club, you settle in to the festive atmosphere and begin to enjoy yourself when you spot that potential mate across the room. Their physical appearance fulfills all your requirements and they appear to be witty, vivacious, and fun as you observe them interacting with their friends.

Suddenly, you find yourself unable to move, your feet stuck to the ground, and all of your desire to connect stymied by a sudden loss of will and resolution. As much as you may wish to follow through and walk the 20 feet across the floor, you find yourself unable to gather up the courage to make what now feels like a million-mile march.

This sudden shift is driven by a common fear among people both LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and straight: the fear of rejection. Rejection is a concern that many people carry in the dating world, as it can influence one’s ability to make a connection to someone who could potentially be a great friend, a fun fling, or even a partner.

The fear of rejection is often rooted in the misguided belief that we are not good enough for a person. We fear giving that person the power to make us feel foolish or less than in comparison to them. We build a construct around the person we are hoping to meet that makes them better than us, even though this is often not the truth.

Here is the kicker to the fear of rejection: It is very possible that someone at that same party, bar, or club finds you to be the object of their attraction and is fearful of approaching you because they imagine you will reject them. It might even be that person you were attracted to, the one standing 20 feet away.

This ultimately leads to a room full of people, many attracted to others, and yet all equally fearful to step across the room and introduce themselves. Thus, the room is frozen in a static energy of missed connections.

There is a powerful means to counteract the fear of rejection—and that is by recognizing that almost everyone is being influenced by it. With this knowledge, you can choose to empower yourself and be the person who breaks the shackles of the rejection construct and risks crossing the room to say hello.

By taking this risk, you reveal yourself as someone who is not constrained by social encumbrance, someone who will take the time and energy to reach out for connection. This presentation of self-assurance and risk taking can be quite sexy to the person you are approaching. Confidence is a proven aphrodisiac.

It also helps to make the approach with a deep sense of curiosity about the person rather than being overwhelmed by your preconceived ideas of who this person is based on how they represent themselves in the moment. They may be projecting a little bit of attitude that is founded in their fear of rejection protecting them from harm. If you assume everyone is holding a tiny bit of fear of rejection, it can help you to be kind and gentle in your approach.

As you begin to release your fear of rejection, you will notice that other people begin to find you more approachable, and the potential for deeper connections will begin to blossom.

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by John Sovec, LMFT, therapist in Pasadena, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Liza

    Liza

    August 20th, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    If you are too afraid of actually making that connection then of course you are going to be alone! How are you ever going to ever meet that one special person if you always let that fear creep in and hold you back?

  • clive

    clive

    August 20th, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    I can very much relate to this because i have always had terrible self esteem and have never quite felt as if I can measure up to anyone else in the room. It is something that I very much struggle with even as an adult, and often it feels so much easier and that you have less likelihood of getting hurt if you put up those walls and that keeps you from really knwoing others. If they don’t know you quite as well and you do not let them in then you won’t get hurt except by your own doing.

  • Grayson

    Grayson

    August 21st, 2014 at 3:40 AM

    When you already feel that you have been rejected numerous times in the past, then yeah, you don’t want to have to go through that over and over again.
    That kind of fear can really shut you down and have you leaving others shut out even when deep down you know that you want to find someone to spend your time with.
    There will come a point when, if this is what you want, you will have to commit to letting go of that fear and experience some of the ups and downs of dating again.

  • Shyla

    Shyla

    August 21st, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    could it be a form of social anxiety which is holding you back?

  • Wendy

    Wendy

    August 21st, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    I have social anxiety low self esteem also a rejection from my husband that cheated on me i suffer depression and my future is really scaring me i dont know what it holds i just want peace and happiness

  • alison

    alison

    August 22nd, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Taking the first step is the hardest part. @Wendy sorry to hear about your cheating husband that sucks. We are stronger than anyone knows, you will find happiness again and peace comes from within. someone better is out there for you

  • Diana

    Diana

    August 22nd, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Well what I can say about this is that I have tried both ways looking down to the floor, not being able to even move and feeling strong but miserable because I don’t meet that special person and then go for the one guy that invite me out and then I feel awful because I don’t know how to act around people, so for me either way is not good at all!!!!

  • Katie

    Katie

    August 23rd, 2014 at 5:35 AM

    The way I see it is that it can not only keep you single, but if you allow this fear to invade all parts of your life, it could keep you scared, alone, unemployed, and unable to achieve to your highest potential.

    That doesn’t really sound like something to strive for does it?

  • Dinah

    Dinah

    August 23rd, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    I thought being in a relationship would make things better. It does not. My partner isn’t even interested in me he looks at other girls and it hurts me so does his constant indifference. He treats me like I am completely incompetent. I feel more alone than ever!

  • Truth Really Is

    Truth Really Is

    December 10th, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    Just too many women that are sleeping around with different men since they just can’t commit to only one.

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