Everyone has issues. Your friends have issues. Friends share burdens. Really young friends might have a problem with that because they have yet to develop really deep sustaining friendships. The unfortunate thing about looking for signs of rejection is that you’ll see them, even if there’s no rejection taking place. It’s like when you’re in a sensitive mood, it’ll feel as though people are giving you judgmental looks, but if you’re in a good mood, you’re more likely to view those expressions as only neutral, or maybe even a bit pleasant.
I think fear of rejection diminishes over time, simply because eventually you just get tired of being afraid of it. Sadly, it takes many people at least half a lifetime to reach that point. Fear of rejection can change “micro expressions,” and body language, as well as perception of others. So, fear of rejection can attract rejection. Others often interpret fear of rejection as distrust.
One way to overcome it is to change focus from yourself to those you’re with. Express interest in their issues. Consider how to be supportive of them. Perhaps focus on having fun, or sharing humor when it’s appropriate. In other words, if you’re looking outward towards them, your mind isn’t occupied with your own insecurity. People usually respond well when they see that someone genuinely cares about them.
People are attracted to good listeners. Say things - true things, that help others gain confidence, and your opinion will be held in high regard.
It’s more common for others to just get quiet and back away when a friend is being badmouthed. They usually have no idea how to respond, don’t want to get involved, or they decide the issue should be settled between the smack talker and the smack talkee.
Do what you feel is the right amount. If you go beyond that, you’re into the realm of trying to “buy” friendship. If you overextend yourself, you could end up resenting the person you did it for.
In weird way, I was lucky when I was the class fat kid who was poor and wore embarrassing clothes. I was so rejected I got used to it, hence stopped fearing it.
I’ll check back later. Take care, Wings