Fear of rejection

I haven’t had a relationship or really dealt with too many people in nearly 10 years. A bad break up left me really messed up and I decided to just stop with it all. I have never been too great socially, but sticking to myself even more for so long has made it much rougher on me. I want to ask someone out, and one of my coworkers is trying to encourage me to do so. But it has me terrified, I over think everything. She is beautiful and seems like a social butterfly, and has a great attitude and personality. I on the other hand, am about a foot shorter then her and most people just find me very weird, and I know I’m not attractive. My coworker told me last night he feels like I have a good chance at getting her to say yes, and told me to go for it. I have no problems talking to women until I become attracted to them, then it is just over thinking from then on. We have had conversations a few times as we are both pretty new to this company, but now when I glance at her I just get nervous and can’t think of anything to say. I know it makes me a coward, but rejection hurts. And it makes me more depressed that I can’t gather my courage and atleast ask if she is seeing anyone. I thought with age it wouldn’t matter as much, but in reality I am even worse now with it. I feel like I am going to let a possibly good thing slip away out of fear.


Thank you for sharing your story.
I have a similar story to yours. When it was someone i was not interested in, it wasn’t hard for me to talk to, interact with, or be friends with them. However, the moment i started having a thing for them it became a problem.
When i was in college i had a thing for this one girl. It lasted all the way through school. She never knew about it. One day she started dating one of my best friends. The kicker in the pants was he was in the same profession as me, with the same first name. It really was a bummer. I did learn through that though to talk to someone who you have an interest in. I had an interest with another girl when i was in college. We talked and while it didn’t work out, we did remain friends and her friendship while awkward and rocky for a few months, did end up being one of the greatest of the ones i had ever had.
I say this as well because every day i still kick myself in the pants for not telling the first one how I felt. Not because i want to change anything, but because the what ifs of life would have been different. I wouldn’t have spent that time wondering what would happen and where would it go in the future, I would have focused on a friendship and school. But college is different than working career. My analogy was to not let the world slip you by, and take action when you feel the urge, and the action is positive life affirming.
Years down the line i ended up working at a supermarket (way outside of my career path, so never say you won’t do x, y, or z. It may happen and it may end up being amazing). At this job i met one of my best friends, and also had the blessing to work with my best friend that I’ve always known since I was 16.
And most importantly, without realizing it, my wife and i would consistently work together not 30 metres away from eachother, ignoring one another for years and not know eachother existed until one day i noticed her… Well truth is i knew who she was from years earlier and she just never knew who I was. She had worked at a different job and always put too much mayo on my Sandwich. I like light mayo, she likes heavy mayo. but the mind works in mysterious ways. I had worked with her for probably 2 years before i started paying more than a passing attention to how she was.
My one best friend i met and i would go down to fish at the river and talk all night till the sun came up. We would talk about stupid stuff, especially how i never thought she would notice me, how she was too good for me, and all the stuff that gets in your head.
You know what my friend told me, and i still believe it’s true to this day…
Take that chance and try, you can only try. You have a job to do at work, and so do they. Asking one time, and one time alone is ok. Don’t keep asking if they say no. If they say they will let you know, they will. You can try to your best, but don’t leave your job over one trial.

After i invited my (now) wife to an amusement park for the day, she didn’t even realize i was asking her on a date, and then the second date i asked her to a movie. She didn’t get that one either. The third date i brought her home to meet my parents, to make her dinner, and to pick peaches. She made me peach pie right then and there (she’s a professional baker) which, some how, she didn’t get was a date (i don’t know, but i love my wife). Finally that night i was kinda frustrated that she didn’t get the hint that i was trying to ask her to be in a relationship with me, well i asked her bluntly (and i can’t remember which of the two i said but i think it was “so when are we going to make this thing official” or “are we…”)
I say that because sometimes people don’t know you are interested, or want you to make the first move.
The best way to avoid that is to first get to know them as a person because you need to get to know who they are and what they like, there’s so much they probably already do have in common with you. There’s a lot you can try to do to get to understand a person. But politely asking to do a specific activity on a specific day at a specific time can be a good idea, but they may have some things going on and may not be rejecting you. You can phrase a question like this If you need to, “would you like to go grab a quick lunch or coffee this week? Is Wednesday ok for you?” If not, politely ask them if they would rather you two have a meal in the break room first if it’s a time or comfort issue. They may be able to more rapidly get to have time to learn about the person. If none of those work, you’ve asked, stop there and your should not have broken any policy and be ok. Asking someone for lunch is a completely ok situation.

You can use a very similar style to this quick lunch date style to test out potential friends too and see how they work too. It is a two way street though. Don’t ever be the one who is always doing everything. 50/50 is fair.

One honest example i have of the you go first feeling I’ve had was shortly before i met my wife there was someone i had hear through a lot of telephone game talk (that game kids play where one person whispers into another persons ears and the messages means something else on the other end) that this person was interested in me. I didn’t know if it was real. If it was, i wanted them to talk to me. Not because i would have said no, but because i wanted to hear it from them and i wanted the sincerity to come from them. Sometimes you want to hear it too because it makes you realize you’re wanted by someone. And even if sometimes that might not be the perfect motivation, it does give you more interest in pursuing a relationship when someone themselves goes up and asks you.

It only took me until 27 to find my wife (sincerely, not a sarcastic 27) and we got married fast because we had many, many, many things in common. We have a very unique relationship which has been built through many difficult health struggles. I can’t actually remember how long I’ve been married, last meeting i had with someone i told them we were married a year less than we were by accident. But finding that right one will make it great.

I hope not to discourage you, but encourage you that you never know who is or will be a one for you. I strongly believe there is more than one person you can find in your life to be happily fulfilled with depending on where your situation currently stand, and they can grow with your and help you grow stronger and grow with you. It is decerning that person at your point in life which is hard

You got this! You are doing an amazing job by talking to us here! Keep it up and talk to them! Let us know what happens!


@j71s8 said it so well! My pithy summary is just ask, and the worst she can say is no. “No” doesn’t hurt that bad. High school coming-of-age movies have us growing up to believe that if you ask someone out and they say no, there’s a tremendous amount of public humiliation and your life as you know it is over. I’m not trying to equate you with a shy high schooler, but I know for me it was a feeling I struggled with even after my first 5 year relationship, even after I knew it was false. What made it better was rejection, and the realization that it wasn’t so bad. @taylor has a great story about rejection in her early work with HeartSupport.

Furthermore, to another point @j71s8 made, if you ask her to lunch or coffee or even happy hour, there’s a pretty good chance she’ll say yes. Those are really low stakes scenarios–a small enough time investment where things can’t get too awkward, and either one of you can end it at any time if it gets uncomfortable. “It’s just (coffee, lunch, happy hour)” is a scenario that’s not too intimidating, and even if it doesn’t go well, at least both of you have gotten a good cup of coffee, light meal, or cocktail out of it.

Go for it! The only I regret in life are the things I didn’t do, and dating scenarios dominate that list. I’ve never been sorry I asked someone out, even if she said no or it was a bad date, but I’ve been plenty sorry for not asking women out.

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Hey Hoderi!

AmandaRuthArt responded to your post with some wonderful words of encouragement live on YouTube!

Here is a link to the video so you can hear their reply:


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