Fear of rejection causes more
loneliness than anything else

Is fear of rejection or actually being alone the cause of loneliness?

Being alone would seem to be the #1 reason for loneliness, but surprisingly, that's not true.

Many people who are alone are not lonely. And many people who have a spouse or partner are lonely. So what is the leading cause of loneliness?

Fear of rejection.

In the times of my life when I was the loneliest, I was afraid to ask women out because they might turn me down. The same women who think that excuse is nonsense wouldn't dare ask a man out whom they're attracted to. Why? That same fear of rejection.

In our liberated society, where women are doing everything from being U.S. senators to supreme court justices to doctors, attorneys, CEOs, and even clerics, there's still a stigma about a woman asking a man out on a date.

And while it's true that women need to be careful not to send the wrong signal, much of their lack of assertiveness has to do with fear of rejection. Suddenly they understand that men are not as insensitive as they had always assumed. It can be scary to ask someone out.

If fear of rejection is such a big obstacle, then what can we do about it?

1. Work on your self esteem

You're not going to die or even be less of a person because someone refuses to go out with you or turns down your request to get together to do something. You're still the same person you were before you asked, and the truth is that you're even a little better, because you had the courage to take a chance. If that person doesn't want to spend time with you, so what? No matter how much you may be attracted to that person, your life does not depend on their approval.

2. Build up your tolerance for rejection

I'm a writer by trade. I've written about 20 novels over the years, but only four of them have been published. The others were all rejected, many times, and never made it. But after a while, I built up sort of a "rejection callus". I was optimistic, but never wildly so. I came to understand that if one publisher rejected my book, maybe another would accept it. Also, I learned from experience that rejection--even a lot of it--is not fatal. Oh sure, I was disappointed, and often even discouraged, but I tried to let it turn me into a more determined, stronger person, not a scared, weaker person hiding in my room.

3. Don't take it personally

Sometimes people will tell you "no" for a reason that has absolutely nothing to do with you. Maybe they have other plans. Maybe they're just coming off a breakup and aren't ready to start again. Or maybe they have some kind of prejudice. Or maybe they're just too full of themself to recognize what a great person you are! Like the rhino pictured above, you need to develop a thick skin, as far as rejection is concerned. You can still have a sensitive heart despite having a thick skin. You just have to choose your reactions carefully, and that comes with practice. But you can do it!

4. Get involved in group activities

When you join a group that does something you're interested in, whether the group members are all the same sex as you or both men and women, it takes the pressure off. It's not a "date." It's a group thing. As a single, you may be reluctant to join a group composed of married couples, but you can find a group of nonthreatening singles, even if it's signing up for a class or charity project.

5. Realize that loneliness is a feeling

God himself said, "It is not good that the man should be alone." (Gen. 2:18). No, and it's not good for the woman to be alone, either. In the southern United States, people use the term "pity party" to describe feelings of woe and misery. That may seem a bit harsh, but usually loneliness is something you have to overcome yourself. Confident, strong, assertive people--men or women--are more attractive. Someone who feels threatened by your self-confidence is not someone you want to be with anyway.

6. Be prepared to dig

If you want to find a diamond, you've got to dig through a lot of dirt. Or, as it's been said, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Dating, making friends, or achieving emotional stability can be hard work. Prepare to roll up your sleeves and take some bumps and bruises before you get what you're after. You're not as fragile as you think. You're tough, and if you want something bad enough, you're tough enough to get it.

7. Stop waiting for a rescue

A prominent psychologist once said he knows a patient has turned the corner when they no longer expect someone to come and rescue them. You can sit in your house or apartment forever, but the odds of your prospective mate walking up to your door and hauling you out of there are pretty darn slim. The clock is ticking on all of us. You can choose loneliness or you can choose life. It's up to you. You can do this!

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