Fear of rejection: Why do men suffer more?

Fear of rejection can be caused by low self-esteem.

Fear of rejection can be caused by low self-esteem.

Photo credit: shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • Fear of rejection is the irrational fear that others will not accept you because of your looks, personality, ideas, qualifications, or other personal attributes.
  • In the dating scene, fear of rejection is most consequential for men despite the phobia being more common in women.

Almost everyone experiences the fear of rejection. Whether it’s that job you applied for, enrolment into your school of choice, joining a team, or approaching your crush. Men and women experience the fear almost equally. In the dating scene, however, the fear of rejection is most consequential for men despite the phobia being more common in women. A woman can sit out and wait for her desired partner to approach her, but men rarely have that luxury.

What is fear of rejection?

Broadly defined, the fear of rejection is the irrational fear that others will not accept you because of your looks, personality, ideas, qualifications, or other personal attributes. The feeling is irrational because it is not based on any evidence that the other parties will not accept you or that your attributes are not adequate.

You have no proof that the girl you like doesn’t like guys with your physical attributes or personality. Or that your grades are not sufficient to get you that advertised job. But your brain has convinced you that the risk of rejection is high, stopping you from making a move towards your dream.

Causes of fear of rejection

The fear of rejection is usually due to low self-esteem and low self-confidence. If you consider yourself less attractive, less qualified, or less interesting than others, you will always feel like you don’t deserve the chances you want to take. This is usually not the case.

For many people, this fear comes naturally. For others, the fear starts after being rejected. They harbour that pain of rejection in their mind and it affects how they perceive other opportunities.

Managing and overcoming fear of rejection

You have no choice but to manage your fear of rejection in order to have a chance at your dreams.

Fortunately, it is possible to overcome this fear and build confidence.

Here are some ideas on how to approach the fear of rejection and overcome it:

Work on your self-confidence

The main reason you fear rejection is because you feel unworthy of the opportunity. In doing so, you are being unfair to yourself. Reflect on your capability, your strengths, and the work you have done to be the person you are today. Acknowledge that you are a work in progress but also recognise that you are not worthless.

With this mindset, a possible rejection will still hurt, but it will not make you demean yourself. Instead, you will have the energy to move on to the next opportunity with your chin up.

Keep in mind that it happens to everyone

Rejection is a part of life because opportunities and resources are always limited. No single event, person, group, or company can say yes to everyone, and no one gets accepted in everything they attempt. That accomplished neighbour with a perfect family and job had his application for promotion rejected. The birthday party you were invited to last week? The birthday boy did not invite many other people that consider him their friend.

If you always keep this in mind, you can prepare your mind to embrace the acceptance or rejection healthily.

Try to learn, even when the “no” hurts

While this may sound like a cliché, it actually works. If you are rejected by your dream girl, the hurt may seem unbearable at the moment. But if you take time to assess the situation, you will realise it was probably the best outcome. If she rejected you for something you cannot change, especially your physical attributes, respect that as just her preference.

Also, evaluate what you can do better. Can you improve on how you approach potential partners? Can you change your criteria to get someone who is your fit?

If it is a job or career opportunity, ask what skills you lacked. Work on them and apply for the next vacancy or promotion.

Ultimately, you will have to face the fear head-on

Although a therapist may help you work on your self-esteem, self-confidence, and other associated anxieties, you will have to do the real work yourself. Apply for all the possible job vacancies you see. Approach the girls you like confidently, get over the rejections gracefully, and move on to the next potential partner. With the right attitude, any rejection you face will actually make you stronger.

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