Fear of rejection was the thing that held me back from making friends and achieving what I want to do. Fear is an instinctive emotion designed to protect us from dire circumstances. In some cases it may be totally instinctive and in others it may be learned.
Fear of rejection was the most debilitating fear that I have ever experienced. It was the most challenging to overcome. Imagine that you think you might have something in common with people but you are just frozen in trying to speak to almost anyone that you don???t know. The fear prevented me from asking for help, making new friends and getting the information I needed, such as feeling scared to ask people for directions, so I didn???t want to ask people for help. In particular, I was paranoid of approaching a total stranger and making conversation for the first time. I would rather have had people throw punches at me instead - it would have been a lot more comfortable. I should have seen a therapist. I know that but I had a very strong fear of approaching a psychologist to talk about my problem! However, it was overcome.
The best thing that I ever did to overcome fear of rejection was to work on a stand in an exhibition where I had to actually approach people about a product that we were promoting. The nice thing about that scenario is that the people were expecting me to approach them approached. If you are on a stand they are expecting you as an exhibitor at an exhibition to actually approach them and talk to them about your products. I knew that it was totally irrational that I should have this intense fear. I???m not even sure why it was such an issue. Perhaps there was something relating to my childhood but I was more interested in how to fix it rather than why it happened!
I would have jumped off a building with a rope attached to me I would be less scared to do that and certainly less scared to stand up in front of a bunch of people with a microphone - it is quite safe in front of a crowd relatively speaking, but that personal one on one was a real issue for me and I just have to watch myself now as I can still slip back into old habits if I am not careful. I still have to manage this and in particular breaking the ice with strangers used to be very difficult for me. So if you see me not talking to anyone you will know that it is nothing to do with you - it???s all about me.
I just wonder how many other people have that same sort of fear and the thing is you might say OK well should you go and see a psychologist or some sort of therapist and if you can, do it, absolutely. Generally that fear in particular is self-perpetuating in that you don???t want to go and talk about your fear of approaching someone you don???t know, to someone you don???t know. That was part of the dilemma I had and the other one was I wasn???t balancing my budget so I was spending all my money and I didn???t really set aside money to do that seeing I was having so much fun running around doing all these activities.
I also had was a fear of confrontation - the fear of getting into a situation that I couldn???t handle and the first goal that I had of going to do karate, was an attempt to overcome my fear of confrontation. Doing martial arts did improve my self-confidence in confrontation but it didn???t really solve my fear of rejection.
I have to say also to try and overcome my fear of talking to people I also go to the pub quite regularly, except that all that happened was I got drunk. For me anyway, I think it actually reinforced a negative pattern- it didn???t actually help at all. Probably it made it worse. People say that if you have a drink you will loosen up but my fear was so strong that alcohol did nothing for it until I was dead drunk and by that stage nobody wanted to talk to me anyway so that was self-defeating.
I figured it was better to overcome any fear I could as a process to overcoming the biggest one. So I confronted my small fear of heights by learning to fly. I challenged myself to do public speaking. Actually I found it easier to talk in front of a bunch of people I had never met than meeting a single stranger for the first time.
If your fear of rejection is as strong as my fear was, do whatever you can to get yourself professional help but if your fear is very mild then there are plenty of non-confronting ways to practice being friendly such as online multiplayer games, social websites but if you have any doubts whatsoever then get a professional opinion. Stay away from getting drunk or using illegal drugs to overcome you inhibitions. It???s counter-productive. Develop an interest in something and then share your knowledge and experience widely using blogs, videos and social sites.