Being single isn’t the mark of loneliness that the world seems to think it is. Single people live wonderful, busy, fulfilling lives; you don’t need to prove that to anyone else. That said, if you are actively looking for a partner but are finding it tough, it could come down to a fear of rejection that’s holding you back. See how many of the following you relate to — it may be time to start embracing the possibility of getting knocked back if it helps you get closer to love.
1. You’re not willing to get hurt again.
You’re holding a lot of your personality back because you’re trying to protect yourself from the outside world. That’s no way to walk through the world — and it’s certainly no way to start a potential relationship. Everyone is scared of rejection, but being with someone is always going to be scary at first. Put yourself out there — you might just end up pleasantly surprised.
2. You don’t know what you want.
You’ll never have much luck with dating apps beyond one-night stands if you fail to commit. As a bare minimum, you have to figure out how to articulate your expectations when meeting someone new. If you hold onto secrets and expect them to read your mind, you’ll never get what you want. It just wastes both of your time.
3. You always doubt people’s intentions.
This is so frustrating when you’re trying to meet someone new. You can always tell when someone isn’t being real, and while that’s generally a good thing, you can always take it too far. If you’re constantly fishing for compliments or seeking reassurance of the other person’s feelings because you’re terrified that they’re not as into you as they say they are, it won’t be long before the whole thing falls apart.
4. Your fear that you’re unlovable makes people pity you.
Pity is not a sexy emotion. It’s what you think about stray dogs on the side of the highway. I’m not saying that you should hide your emotions, but it’s not appropriate to trauma dump on a first date. Trust that they’ll earn that conversation later rather than shoving it on them too soon.
5. Memories of past rejections still make you anxious.
A person who is debilitatingly scared of rejection will never live in the present. You’ll always be lingering on the past and hanging all your hopes on a better future while never doing anything to achieve it. It’s a vicious cycle. You can’t judge new people based on what the old ones did to you or how those situations panned out. It’s unfair to them and you.
6. Your fear of change makes you rigid.
Your partner will want to explore the world with you and find new ways of getting to know each other, but if you’re always resisting that and saying “no,” eventually they’ll stop asking you. Sometimes you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone if you want to grow both as a person and as a potential couple.
7. Social media puts everyone else’s relationships on a pedestal.
The perception that everyone else has a perfect relationship will stop you from wanting to put yourself out there at all. When the “perfect” relationship seems unachievable, start with what feels right and embrace the imperfections in yourself. Recognize that those couples you see on social media are carefully curating the perception they want the world to have of their relationship. It’s very likely untrue.
8. You think love ends up disappointing.
It won’t help if your parents have just split up or your best friend’s long-term relationship has just come crumbling down. We need people to look up to as role models of what good relationships are, of course, but we also can’t let other people’s behaviors hold us back. You are your own person.
9. You can’t grow if you’re never vulnerable.
Why would anyone be vulnerable with you if you aren’t willing to let your guard down with them in return? You have to take that leap yourself. This mutual willingness to expose some of the rougher sides of ourselves builds trust and allows us to bond with each other — both things that serve as strong foundations of a good relationship.
10. You always wait for others to make the first move.
Sure, men are often expected to make the first move or bear more of the financial brunt of those early dates, but why not spin things on their heads? Be bold and surprise yourself. If you know what you want, you shouldn’t wait around for it to come to you because you could be waiting a very long time. Go out and get it!
11. You find trust really hard.
This is a tricky one, but it’s also really common. Everyone has a reason, experience, or fear that makes it hard to trust people. However, most people recognize that if they want to have happy, healthy long-term relationships, they have to confront the issues holding them back so they can extend that confidence and faith in the other person and the connection they share.
12. You’re living with “what if?” rather than “so what?”
“What ifs” are hard to overcome with anything other than time. Once you can see that you can’t control everything, you can let go of the idea that the fear in your mind is a fixed or inevitable thing. Life is always changing — so what? The more adaptable you are, the more amazing things will come your way in life.
13. You’re unreliable and inconsistent.
If you find yourself retreating each time you make a move, that will end up confusing your date. If you work up the courage to message first, stick around to reply to their response, otherwise, what was it for? Try to show up for people so they can show up for you.
14. You ghost people.
Ghosting often happens because people get bored or things just aren’t that deep. That’s fine, but if you’re ghosting people you seriously like just because you weren’t sure what their text meant, you need to reassess your behaviors. You don’t need to reject perfectly good people because you’re trying to beat them to it.
15. You make your partner responsible for your growth.
We all need to be more responsible for ourselves. It’s not right to expect a person to come along and change who we are. We can all transform our lives in our own right. The more excited by that prospect we are, the more we can direct our future growth. Being single can be hard. Take some time to think about how you see the world and how you view yourself and it will help you overcome your fear of rejection.
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