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One of the most common issues that keeps men from having a fulfilling dating life – or any dating life at all – is the ever-present fear of rejection.
Fear of rejection causes many men to settle for less what they want. Some men settle for nothing.
Here’s a scenario that will almost certainly sound familiar:
You see a beautiful woman you’d like to meet. She’s standing behind you in line at the coffee shop. You notice that she’s not wearing a wedding ring, so there’s a good chance she’s single. You imagine what it would be like to take her on a date. All you have to do to make that a possibility is turn around and say something. But even “Hi” sounds creepy in your head.
So what do you say? You could ask her what she’s ordering. Or how her day is going. Or make some comment about the weather. Or crack a joke of some kind. Then you could get into a conversation and ask for her number. Or you could even ask her to join you for coffee right then and there.
But what if she rejects you? What if she thinks you’re a creep? What if she gives you a dirty look? What if she has a boyfriend? Won’t everyone in the coffee shop see you getting rejected? That would be awkward. You start to clam up. Your hands get sweaty. Your mind starts racing…
And before you know it, you’ve ordered your coffee, you’ve left the coffee shop, and you’re kicking yourself for not saying anything. That could’ve been the woman of your dreams.
Let’s talk about how to overcome your fear of rejection.
WHAT CAUSES FEAR OF REJECTION
Fear of rejection is usually the result of having an agenda – or emotional attachments. In other words, before you even meet a woman you don’t even know, you’re already attached to a specific outcome (i.e. you want this woman to be your girlfriend).
Here are some other emotional attachments that cause a fear of rejection:
- Desiring a regular sex partner
- Not wanting to be lonely
- A need for validation (from a desirable woman desiring you)
- Wanting to make the feeling of not being good enough to go away
- Not wanting to look foolish.
When men approach women seeking validation or avoiding rejection, it leads to passivity. Or it leads to not approaching at all.
A good way to start overcoming your fear of rejection is to look at approaching and dating women as a scientific experiment, instead of a way to get validation from women.
REJECTION AND NICENESS
Many men – particularly Nice Guys – already don’t feel very good about themselves. Many have toxic shame, feelings of inadequacy, or social anxiety. Some lack effective social skills and simply don’t know how to interact with strangers. Others are plagued by self-limiting beliefs.
But when it comes to rejection, the biggest problem most men have is niceness.
Being nice keeps us perpetually seeking the approval of other people, especially women. This need for approval can keep us in some pretty vicious downward cycles.
Being nice and constantly seeking approval from others:
- Raises our anxiety
- Makes us submissive and passive
- Makes us really uninteresting
- Makes us fake
- Gives the other person power to determine our desirability
- Causes us to buy into our self-limiting beliefs.
Since most of us don’t like feeling unlovable, we don’t approach women at all. Or we approach so passively we are pretty much guaranteed a low-interest response.
Again, this creates a vicious downward cycle: You passively approach a woman seeking validation or don’t approach at all. If you do approach, you’re attached to a specific outcome. You don’t do anything that would lead to high-interest response from the woman. You don’t create any tension. The low-interest response then confirms your self-limiting beliefs. You continue to act in accordance with these beliefs. You feel like shit and the cycle repeats itself.
This is why rejection feels like such a big deal.
Every time a woman shows low interest it feels like she can see right through us – like she knows we’re unlovable. This isn’t true, but we believe that it is. No wonder we play it safe and avoid anything that might lead to rejection.
REJECTION AND MAGICAL THINKING
Many men think there’s some magical way to make a woman attracted to them, even against her will. Some men also believe that if a woman is available and they got to her first, she should like them and not someone else.
Both of these assumptions have no basis in reality.
It’s time to let go of your magical thinking.
There is no magical way to make a woman interested in you – not hypnosis, not card tricks, not canned openers, not playful insults or ‘negs,’ not the so-called Mystery Method. Attraction is not a choice. It’s either there or it’s not there. You can kill it or drive it up.
Additionally, many women are flaky by nature. Especially single women. This isn’t a blanket generalization or an insult to women. It’s just a reality. There are a lot of incredible women out there too. Move on from the flakes quickly.
A lot of women who give you their numbers won’t answer the phone or respond to your texts. That’s just the way it is. You may see it as untruthful or disingenuous, but get over it. There could be a million different reasons she gave you her number. If she doesn’t respond or answer the phone, remember that dating and mating is a numbers game.
Don’t take anything personally. Don’t try and figure things out. If you get rejected, you found out what you needed to know. Move on.
APPROACH GETTING REJECTED AS A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT
If you look at meeting and dating women as a scientific experiment, you will immediately lower your anxieties.
You will find out what works and what doesn’t work – that’s what scientists do.
When you approach women like a scientist, you won’t be attached to a specific outcome. As a result, you will be more attractive to women. Why? Because when you aren’t attached to outcome, you’ll act boldly, projecting care-free confidence.
Approach women and practice openers, without concern over whether the woman is interested. Do it just to see if the openers work.
In his book, Dating Essentials for Men, Dr. Robert Glover describes the idea of treating dating like a scientific experiment and shares his results.
Here’s what Dr. Glover learned when he approached women without attachment in the name of science.
- Women responded better and he had more success when he was direct, when he told them to do things, when he was bold instead of vague.
- He had more success when he called women within a day, instead of waiting 3 to 5 days like the pickup “gurus” tell you.
- He learned effective ways to test a woman for interest.
To lower your anxiety and start overcoming your fear of rejection, get used to seeing the idea of approaching women purely as a scientific experiment, not as validation of who you are.
OVERCOME YOUR FEAR OF REJECTION BY TRYING TO GET REJECTED
Here’s an idea that might seem counterintuitive. But, you’ll be surprised how powerful and effective it is.
Consciously try to get rejected by women.
Yes. Go out and actually try to get rejected. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should do anything offensive or creepy. But you need to face your fears head on.
Trying to get rejected is fundamentally a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. And it’s a great way to let go of attachment to outcome and lower your anxiety.
Trying to get rejected will help you learn to not take things personally. It’ll help you realize that rejection doesn’t hurt. It’ll help you stop trying to figure women out. And it’ll make you appear significantly more confident in the process.
Women will often say Yes just because you’ve asked. Women are wired to say Yes. When you go out and try to get rejected, there’s a good chance you actually won’t get rejected as much as you expect.
So, confront your fear of being rejected by trying to get rejected. It is the absolute best way to get over your fears and self-limiting beliefs.
REJECTION DOESN’T HURT
You may not want to hear this and you may not believe it, but rejection doesn’t hurt. Being told NO does not – in and of itself – cause any pain.
Women find it difficult to say NO. they don’t want to tell us no. They don’t like rejecting you.
Rejection is purely a function of your mind. It has nothing to do with being told NO. When you have emotional attachment to a specific outcome, then rejection can hurt. And not because of the actual rejection but because of what you do with that rejection in your own head.
Rejection only hurts when you are attached to a specific outcome or when the rejection seems to prove what you already believe to be true about yourself.
This is why trying to get rejected is such a paradoxical yet powerful approach to getting over your fear of rejection. When you get rejected, it means you’ve succeeded.
THINK ABOUT THIS: How can a woman who is a complete stranger know you well enough to even reject you or validate you? She can’t.
If she shows low interest, it simply means that she has low interest in interacting with you at that given moment. And there could be a thousand different reasons why. These reasons have nothing to do with you or your value as a human being.
High interest doesn’t mean you have worth. Low interest doesn’t mean you’re worthless.
If a woman has low interest in interacting with you and you are hurt by it, your are really just rejecting yourself due to your internalized, inaccurate beliefs about yourself.
A RATIONAL LOOK AT REJECTION
Let’s take a look at what rejection really is:
Rejection is a person not wanting to go out with you, date you, have sex with you, or have a relationship with you, but it is NOT a reflection of who you are.
A stranger can’t possibly know who you are.
One person’s low interest in you does not reflect what everyone else thinks. And it doesn’t mean that nobody else will have high interest in you. Rejection typically doesn’t have anything to do with you at all. A person simply has low interest – and, again, there could be a thousand different reasons why.
This doesn’t mean you are worthless and unlovable.
What we often interpret as rejection is usually nothing more than a person being unavailable, distracted, busy, or not looking to date. Maybe you’re no their type. So what? A woman’s low interest has nothing to do with your worth as a man and it doesn’t mean other women won’t have high interest.
GET RID OF THE WORD ‘REJECTION’ AND START THINKING OF IT AS HIGH INTEREST OR LOW INTEREST.
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE FEAR OF REJECTION
- Become an observer. The essence of all recovery is learning how to become the non-judgmental observer of self. Observe the process of approaching, interacting, and testing a woman for interest. Observe your feelings. Observe your attachments. Observe your less actions. Treat dating as an opportunity to both challenge and overcome your self-limiting beliefs. Treat it as a scientific experiment to see what works and what doesn’t.
- Get a coach or teacher. Hire a No More Mr. Nice coach or a dating coach, attend a dating bootcamp, or find someone to help you learn new skills. Make sure they challenge you and encourage you. If what you’re doing isn’t working, find someone who can show you what does work.
- Become a social animal. If you have a low opinion of yourself, social anxiety, and ineffective dating skills, you MUST push yourself to get out of the house and practice your social skills every single day. Unless you’re willing to do this, your skills won’t improve, your anxiety won’t diminish, and you won’t get the feedback you need to determine what’s working and what isn’t.
- TRY TO GET REJECTED. As we’ve already discussed, trying to get rejected can be a powerful way to overcome your fear of rejection. Try to get five women to reject you in one night. Don’t be an offensive asshole, of course. But put yourself in public places where you’ll be around women and just approach them. Start a conversation. Lean into your fear. The goal is not to get a date. It’s to get rejected. If you approach a woman trying to get rejected instead of trying to get approval, you’ll act more boldly. You’ll appear more confident. You’ll be amazed how trying to rejected can completely blow your fear of rejection out of the water. Your life will open up in so many ways.
- Embrace your agenda. When you talk to a woman, you’re trying to find out if she’s a cool person who might go out with you and maybe have sex with you. Women know this is why you’re approaching them. Don’t repress your agenda. Most women don’t think sex is bad. And they respond well to men who are congruent, who don’t repress their agenda and who don’t act passively. Most healthy women out there have the same agenda.
- Be Realistic. Many men – especially those who have poor social skills and heightened anxiety – only want to go out with the most beautiful women. This sets you up to fail. It has nothing to do with your worth and if you’re deserving of this kind of woman, but you don’t have the skillset to approach these kinds of woman. Practice your social skills on everyone so you eventually have the ability to talk to beautiful women without putting them on a pedestal.
HOW TO DEAL WITH FEELINGS OF REJECTION
- Observe. Observe your self-talk. Shine the light of rationality on it and ask if it even makes sense. Does it make sense for you to feel this bad, or is it just an old story?
- Evaluate your skills. Do it without being judgmental. Could you do better at testing for interest? Could you have acted more boldly? What could you have done differently?
- Let go of attachment. As the Buddha said, attachment is the cause of all suffering. When you badly want a specific woman to like you and she doesn’t, you’ll suffer. Consciously work at letting go of attachment – there’s no magic bullet. Go out and talk to everyone. Ask out all kinds of women. Remember that it’s a numbers game. Talk to or go out with 100 women and you won’t feel as bad if one woman rejects you.
- Rename ‘rejection’ to ‘low interest.’
- Remember that women are the weather. This is something David Deida talks about in his book The Way of the Superior Man. Women are the weather. They change. They’re emotional. That’s just the nature of the feminine.
- Do something. The masculine is self-validating by what it does. Move yourself consciously into your higher masculine self. Go do something. Do something with MEN. Do guy things. Pursue your passions. Do things that excite you. Lean into challenge. Exercise.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I was rejected several times in one night. It sucked. I feel like never trying again. What’s up with this?
Rejection only hurts when it reinforces a deeply held pre-existing belief that you’re unlovable or defective in some way. If you didn’t have this belief, you would simply see it as low interest from one individual. You would be glad you found out quickly that the person wasn’t interested and move on. You wouldn’t waste your time, you wouldn’t read into it, and you wouldn’t take rejection so personally.
You were probably attached to a specific outcome. You made yourself feel bad. A woman’s low interest doesn’t hurt, the only thing that hurts is what your brain does with it.
But it still feels bad, doesn’t it? That’s because it brings to the surface some of your deeply held emotional baggage -some old story that you internalized at a young age. If your thought-talk makes a big deal of a woman’s low interest, it’s going to make you miserable. Your brain tends to believe everything your brain tells you is true.
Part of the reason a lot of men experience low interest or rejection is that they don’t test boldly enough to drive up their interest and attraction. Lots of women will show high interest in talking to you but low interest in dating you. This is great. Be happy you found out early. Move on. If you ask a woman for her number and she doesn’t give it to you, move on. She’s not obligated to give it to you.
Don’t worry about missed opportunities. Opportunities are like busses. Another one comes around every 15 minutes.
See rejection as an opportunity. Part of finding out what’s right for you is finding out what isn’t right for you.
How do I deal with cock-blockers?
There’s a good chance that conscious cock-blocking doesn’t really occur that much in the world. It’s just our interpretation of it. It’s our interpretation of some event when we didn’t get what we wanted because somebody came and interrupted our attachment.
If the woman has high interest, she’ll probably introduce you to her cock-blocking friend and continue to engage you. Don’t take cock-blockers (or alleged cock-blockers) personally. You can boldly hold out your hand, shake theirs, introduce yourself, and then move on. Or, just say: “I see you guys know each other so I’ll catch up with you later.”
If you try and chastise someone for interrupting you, you’ll come off like an insecure jackass.
Tony Endelman is an author, blogger, entrepreneur, certified transformational life coach, certified No More Mr. Nice Guy Coach and the founder of The Integrated Man Cave.