Overcome Your Fear of Rejection in Dating

Tamsen Butler
Woman with purple heart-shaped tree over face, sitting on a stone bench

If fear of rejection is keeping you from going after the things you want - and the people you want to date - then it's time to do something about your fear. Imagine how your life would change if you weren't afraid of hearing, "no."

Asking Someone Out

Asking someone out on a date can be nerve-wracking, even if you think they may be attracted to you, but when you have a fear of rejection, it can be downright terrifying. For some people, simply focusing on their desired outcome is enough to compel them to push through their fear and ask someone out. If that's not enough, it may be time to get to the root of your fear so you can address it.

Are You Enough?

There's a good chance that, on some level, you fear rejection because you just don't feel good enough about yourself. You might have issues from your childhood when your parents or other important people in your life made you feel as though you were never good enough. If this is the case, mental health professionals suggest you work toward letting go of that past - which is easier said than done. Acknowledging you aren't a child anymore and not under the jurisdiction of your toxic parents can be quite freeing.

Positive Affirmations

Self-talk can be surprisingly powerful in helping you boost your own self-confidence. Tell yourself - or write down - words or phrases that remind you how great you are. Before you ask the person out, consciously remind yourself of your worth. If you're having trouble coming up with positive affirmations, try something along these lines:

  • I am a good person, worthy of love.
  • People see me for who I truly am and they like me.
  • I deserve to be with someone special.

Set Up for Success

Plan ahead for asking the person out to help calm you and make you less apt to back out for fear of rejection. Ensure you're in a one-on-one situation where you can be easily understood (no loud concerts!) and ask in a way that isn't vague or self-deprecating. Ask in a way that makes it clear you'd like to go on a date.

  • Good: "I'd like to take you on a date this weekend. How about dinner on Saturday?"
  • Bad: "I guess you probably wouldn't want to hang out with me this weekend, would you?"

Getting Serious

Fear of rejection isn't limited to asking someone on a date. It can happen when you're already in a relationship and wanting to take things to the next level. That might mean going exclusive, moving in together, or even saying, "I love you." A good tactic here is to look at things logically; your partner obviously wants to be with you (otherwise, why would they stick around?) and also keep in mind that rejection isn't always a bad thing. If you ask someone to marry you and they say no, isn't it better than them saying yes and you both wind up miserable?

Free Will

You can't control everything, so there may be times when you're rejected despite your best efforts. You might be ready for an exclusive relationship but your partner isn't quite finished playing the field. Instead of worrying so much that you'll be rejected in your request for monogamy, see it as an opportunity to reveal the real course of your relationship. Don't fear getting rejected if the rejection points to a deal-breaker for you. Instead, consider it much-needed clarification and move on.

Default Rejection

If your fear of rejection stems from your partner consistently shooting down your suggestions or requests, it's time to take a hard look at the relationship and decide if you truly want to stay with someone who shoots you down. Couples counseling - or individual counseling to figure out why you find this acceptable - might be a good idea in this instance.

Happily Ever After

You may never fully shed your fear of rejection, especially if it's deeply ingrained into your psyche. But if you can accept that people are allowed to make their own decisions and sometimes those decisions result in some form of rejection - and oftentimes it's completely out of your control - you can start living a happier life that frees you to take bold steps without being paralyzed by fear of potential rejection.

Overcome Your Fear of Rejection in Dating