[ continued from yesterday ]
Introducing ourselves and speaking to people that we don’t know is difficult for shy people - mainly because they’ve learned to fear rejection. They are overwhelmed by a sense of awkwardness and don’t know what to do. That anxiety can be so paralyzing that these men and women avoid trying anything new or speaking to people they don’t already know.
Their fear of rejection makes their world smaller. Rejection isn’t fatal, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem at the time. The problem is often what therapists call “catastrophic thinking” – a belief that it would be unbearably awful if rejection occurred. But is being turned down for a job or a date really lethal? Of course not. The consequences are far worse if you choose to take yourself out of the social game because you’re terrified of being turned down.
If you’re afraid of rejection – and most people are – why not practice getting really good at it? Realize that each rejection means that you’re succeeding in extending yourself and doing something challenging. Each time you experience it you’re actually getting closer to your goal of expanding your circle of friends, of getting that job that you want, of meeting your goals and succeeding in life. Tolerating a little rejection is a small price to pay for getting more of what you want in your life.
If you’re not doing well at meeting people in your current routine, try changing things. Too many people rely on the usual standbys – bars and the gym – for meeting people and striking up conversation. Try joining a club or organization, where you’ll find more things in common that can be conversation starters. Or get a cute dog and head to the park on a sunny afternoon!