"Rejection" Is Meaningless

Q: I am 20 years old and in college. I currently have a crush on a guy at school that I see around every day, though I don't know him or have any classes with him. The only reason I even noticed him was because I've always caught him looking at me, and I soon realized that he was very cute. Is it okay if I try talking to him and be friendly to try to get to know him better? My biggest fear is rejection, so what can I do to overcome this fear and be brave and confident? -- Janet, 20

Dr. Susan: Would you be willing to settle for tentative yet resilient? Because brave and confident take time to grow into, and they come with successes. And dating success is much more likely if you're able to accept your own style while reaching out and making contact. So what does that mean for you in real life terms? It means you should certainly say Hi, you should definitely smile broadly when you see him looking at you, you should absolutely move toward him and ask a casual question about something happening on campus ("Oh, by the way, do you know anything about that speaker that's supposed to come on Tuesday? I've heard he's cool.") You're not asking for a date. You're providing him with an opening to be friendly back at you. If he turns out not to respond to your gentle overture, you've lost nothing at all. That's hardly a "rejection!" The best way to deal with that fear is to have several things going on in your life at one time, so that when one of them falls through, so what? Sure it feels better when all our efforts are immediately rewarded, but that's not real life. The more you reach out, the more success you are likely to have.

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