Am I afraid of rejection? I wonder about this, especially when I’m trying to figure out when/how to talk to a woman that I am attracted to. I used to be super shy… and I still am somewhat shy, but I think it manifests in a different way now than it used to. I have no problem becoming friends with women, even the ones that I am very attracted to, but moving past just friendship is so hard sometimes. Why?
Jeremy and I spoke about this while I was visiting with him in Oregon Friday – we determined that I have a very specific mentality about my friends. I never want to let go of friends. To me, each friend is kind of priceless. I want to know that in many years, we will still be as good (or better!) friends as today. So how does this apply to the question of rejection? Let us consider the hypothetical case of the Female Friend.
If we are friends and I determine I am attracted to her, I have two options – I can talk to her about it, or I can keep it to myself. (I am simplifying, to make my point.) If I talk to her about it, she could say she’s not interested in that way but let’s-be-friends. Before I ask, we both have a valued friendship. After I ask, in this particular case, she still has a valued friendship but I have that + emotional baggage. Whereas she presumably won’t have tons of emotional investment in my attraction, I will, and it will strain as time goes on. Eventually, if I can’t come to terms with my emotions (and I know I am bad at that), I will have to let go of the friendship for my own welfare.
I know this about myself. It has happened many times before. So I err on the side of not asking in the first place, because I don’t want to lose her (hypothetical Female Friend) as a friend, knowing that is a possible outcome when I am attracted and I ask a question that could lead to rejection. Is this fear of rejection? Maybe. A solution suggested to me was “be more attracted to people you don’t want to be friends with,” but that doesn’t make any sense to me!
Emotions are complicated.
As a last aside, Jeremy needs to update his blog! If you know him, bother him about it.