Rejection is generally the number one fear most guys have when it comes to women. For many years, I was too terrified of rejection to approach the women I was attracted to, which is why I decided I needed to get them to approach me instead. It's normal to fear rejection; it's an instinctual response going back to the days when rejection from the tribe meant certain death. But that's not the end of the story; rejection is no longer terminal and this fear can be overcome. I'm still working on overcoming my fear of rejection, and here are some simple strategies that I find helpful for handling it:

Remember It's About Them, Not About You

Approach with a fun, playful, curious attitude.

Rejection stings because we turn it into a story about us: We get rejected and conclude that we're not good enough, not worthy enough, not deserving enough, not interesting enough, not attractive enough. Any insecurity about ourselves is immediately linked to the women who we think has rejected us. Then we generalize and assume that if one woman rejects us, every woman will reject us because there is something wrong with us. It's all about us.

The antidote to this is to remind us that rejection says more about them than it does about us. After all, they are not interested. It's not about you; it's about them. The crunch point for me is approaching a woman to start a conversation; if I can't get past this, any future relationship is dead in the water. Just not going to happen. So the trick to remember is that if a woman rejects you when you approach, all it means is that she is not interested right now. There are a million reasons why she might not be interested right now, and most of them have nothing to do with you. For example:

  • She might be premenstrual
  • She might be in a foul mood about something else
  • She might be running late
  • She might be waiting to meet someone
  • She might have a boyfriend
  • She might prefer to date ugly morons
  • She's even more afraid of talking to you than you are talking to her

The key to overcoming approach anxiety is to adopt a fun, playful, curious attitude towards other people while remembering that rejection isn't about you.

Think Of Reasons Why She Isn't What You're Looking For

If you get rejected, rather than dwelling on your failure, think of reasons why she isn't what you're looking for either. If you never got the chance to get to know her, you'll have to use your imagination; which can work to your advantage. People are never what they seem on the surface, and women have just as many hang-ups, insecurities, and problems as guys. Run a mile from her if she rejects you, because she may well:

  • Have $50,000 in credit card debt
  • Have an insanely jealous mafia hit-man boyfriend
  • Be secretly married or having an affair
  • Suffer from depression/anxiety or some nasty chronic illness
  • Be high maintenance
  • Have a sexually transmitted disease you don't want
  • Be a horrible gold-digging bitch
  • Be dumber, needier, or more annoying than average (50% of women are!)
  • Hate men
  • Be a lying, cheating, manipulator
  • Just want to use you for sex (terrible, I know)

Wouldn't you rather be rejected by her if you knew about all that?

Change Your Expectations

Often we magnify the pain of rejection with the implicit expectation that people we meet should validate us in some way. This is normal, but unhelpful. Often the more beautiful the woman, the more we want validation because it makes us feel good about ourselves. The way to avoid this is to start out by feeling good about ourselves in the first place, so we're not dependent on validation from other people. This is one of the aims of the program in my book.

If we approach a beautiful woman with the expectation that we can get her straight into bed with us, we're cranking up the pressure on ourselves enormously. Changing your expectations to “An enjoyable conversation for both of us”, and you'll be much less fearful.

Think Of The Time She's Just Saved You

If you meet a woman and she's not interested, she's not interested. Rather than being “polite” and wasting your time, she's just let you off the hook to go and spend your time with someone nicer who potentially is interested in you. Start out with the assumption that regardless of what happens when you meet a woman, there are plenty of other women out there who are better than the one you're about to meet. If you don't hit it off, just move on. Let some other poor schmuck put up with her moody nonsense. Politely say “see you later” and remember that she's just done you a favor.

Humans are social animals. Most people are friendly, but a few are horrors. The same goes for women. Would you really want to spend your time with a woman who would be completely rude to a stranger who approached her with nothing more that the expectation of a mutually enjoyable conversation? If a woman is so rude as to ignore you without showing the slightest interest in you as a human being, she lacks basic respect and social skills. She's not the kind of person you want to be hanging around with; you deserve better. Move on.

Practice Practice Practice

If you want to get good at anything, you need to practice. Including starting conversations, and handling rejection. To avoid this becoming a painful nightmare, you need to drop your expectations first. Practice starting conversations with anyone and everyone you meet. Over time, you'll learn how to do it better and better. Bored people like checkout operators or people waiting in queues or for elevators are prime targets. Speak to guys, girls, and anyone you meet standing around. You will need to actually experience some rejection in order to learn that you can handle it: that the sky doesn't fall, the world doesn't stop turning, and you don't need to be rushed straight to the nearest psychiatric ward.

To help minimize the pain you experience when first practicing handling rejection, remember to minimize your expectations. Don't expect to get a girl's phone number or to end up in bed with her; just have the expectation that you will get practice at initiating a conversation. Even if they say nothing at all and “reject you” totally, you have still succeeded at making the effort to initiate a conversation. If this is all you expect, you cannot really fail. Most people will respond positively to small-talk, especially if they're bored. This will help boost your confidence.

Give People Interest Ratings

Another way to help reduce expectations and make the mental shift from rejection being about you to it being about them, is to practice approaching people with the sole intention of ascertaining how interested they are in having a conversation with you right now. Give each person a mental rating between 0 and 10. Remember, the rating is about them; not about you. Walk away from each conversation thinking “She was a 5” or “She was a 2”. Rather than rating her beauty, desirability or hotness, you're rating her level of interest in a conversation right now. This also helps diffuse the feeling that you've “missed out” if she was really attractive to you, because instinctively we know that the lower the number, the less worthwhile she is pursuing. Remind yourself that there's no point pursuing people who aren't interested in you; that's just wasting time you could be spending on women who are potentially interested.

Don't Generalize

If a specific woman isn't interested in a conversation with you right now, avoid generalizing this to mean that she wouldn't be interested under other circumstances, or that other women similar to her won't be interested either. This is just the mind playing evil self-defeating tricks on us. We're purpose built to find generalizations everywhere; it's essential to our learning and survival. But in this case, it's not helpful. Remind yourself of the reasons why this particular woman is bad news for us, and move on.

Also avoid grouping women into categories like “too good looking for me”. The truth is that there are no such categories. A hot looking woman is just as likely to be interested (or not interested) as a plain looking woman. You may have taught yourself that hot looking women aren't interested in you, but that's only because you didn't care enough about the plain looking women to notice that a lot of them weren't interested in you either. Regardless of looks or any other quality you might find desirable, most women aren't going to be interested in you; your job is to locate and connect with the ones that are. Don't assume that all hot women are gold-digging bitches just because one rejected you once upon a time. Hot women have feelings too, you know.

Focus On How They Feel

If your focus when approaching a woman is to get them to make you feel good by hanging around with you, you've lost the battle already. You've made it all about you. Remember: it's about them, not you. Rather than worrying about what you're going to say to make them like you, think about what you're going to say to make them feel good, either about themselves or about the conversation.

Be an interesting, entertaining person. Learn the skills necessary to improve the way you interact with other people if necessary. Communication is everything, and if you want to reduce the risk of rejection, then focus on how you can communicate powerfully in ways that make the other person feel good. Don't worry so much about how you feel; care about their feelings instead, and you'll get on much better with other people generally.

Become The Qualifier

Rather than putting women on a pedestal and trying to impress them into thinking that you're good enough for them, switch the scenario around and become the qualifier yourself. Aim to find out if the woman you're approaching is good enough for you, rather than worrying whether you are good enough for her. Most attractive women are extremely insecure, because they've never had to practise approaching other people to make friends and deal with the occasional rejections that occur as a result.

Women have flaws too. It's not about trying to get them to accept you, it's about working out whether you want to accept them and getting to know a woman well enough to discern whether she's worth giving part of your valuable time to.

Have A Fun, Interesting Life of Your Own

The better your life is, the happier you'll be, the more women you'll attract, and the easier you'll find it to handle rejection. When the reality of your world is that there are women available to you 24/7, it won't matter so much whether the next hottie you meet wants to get to know you or not. Lucky for you I wrote a book on exactly this subject, eh?

Categories: Women

Graham Stoney

Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.


Mothman454 · July 16, 2012 at 4:31 am

Saturday July 14 was a great day meeting ladies; most were polite and sociable. Sunday was brutal; some wouldnt even shake my hand, except one sweetheart at the YMCA mall oulet. The nasties should get a government grant so they can attend Charm School.

    Graham Stoney

    Graham Stoney · August 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Ha! I love the idea of the government grant. Good on you for getting out there!

Matt · March 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I really like the point where you stated - "Give each person a mental rating between 0 and 10."

I think one of the pitfalls - whether you're playing 'the game,' or are just going about your everyday life - is that men put far too much emphasis on looks and the 1 to 10 scale.

I really like the way you've twisted it up a bit, Graham. Great insight.

dave · December 30, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I still do not understand why men allow "the game" to played this way, where women get to skip rejection as if they are entitled to some guarantee that the man is interested enough to risk a laugh in his face. Never understood this, and never got very far since i was "not good enough(?) " and had failed to make myself into the person that I was supposed to become. Good luck in playing such a horrible "game".

JT · September 3, 2011 at 5:16 am

I deal with this on a daily basis in my work as a dating coach, and I really like your post.
Dealing with rejection from women is something guys really need to focus on in order to improve the quality of their dating (and everyday) life. It’s inevitable that we’re going to get rejected, it’s how we deal with it that counts. I wrote a post on the subject on my blog.

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