Today, we talk to dating expert Camille Virginia, author of The Offline Dating Method about how to overcome four common dating challenges, including the very scary fear of rejection.
Our series The Love Diaries is a space for you to share your experiences, advice, fairy-tale endings, setbacks and heartbreaks. We’ll be hearing from industry experts giving practical advice alongside Capsule readers (You!) sharing your firsthand experiences with love – everything from finding love, to keeping love, to losing love.
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Throughout my teen years, I was very shy – not only around men but around everyone. I could barely look some people in the eye without blushing and turning away.
I finally grew tired of feeling socially clueless, so I started taking small risks to create more connections through trial and error – such as forcing myself to go places alone, sitting next to a stranger at lunch, and calling my crush’s house twenty-plus times after finally getting the courage to ask him to the homecoming dance (not recommended; sorry, Carl).
In the process, I not only found a passion for connecting with others in person, but I started getting asked out on dates in everyday places – like the craft store, on the train, and even at the airport. Many of those turned into wonderful long-term relationships – and of course, many others were lessons on the qualities I didn’t want in my future partner.
As online dating became more mainstream and dating apps hit the market, I continued to connect with and be asked out by men in the real world. Other women started asking for the secrets behind my “offline” success and I realised luck had nothing to do with it. I was creating these opportunities for connection. So, I put together a PowerPoint presentation titled, “How to Let Men Pick You Up,” which turned into a live workshop that I ended up teaching to hundreds of single women across Chicago.
I knew, however, that I wanted to help more singles than were able to attend an evening workshop. So, I started my business, Master Offline Dating, which has now reached thousands of people around the world.
Four Common Fears People Have When It Comes To Dating… And How To Overcome Them
The way to move past each of these fears is to disprove it. This can be done by looking for evidence that supports the opposite of what you’re afraid of by using the people and situations around you.
When your fear goes unquestioned or unproven for too long, it can grow to massive proportions and lodge in your head as a “fact.”
“I can’t talk to people I don’t know because they might think I’m weird,” put on repeat in your head every day for years can easily turn into, “When I talk to strangers they think I’m a weirdo,” and subconsciously accepting it as truth.
Next, take small steps to prove to yourself those fears won’t happen by creating new experiential memories that support the outcome you desire. You’re replacing the negative emotions with new positive emotions.
Fear #1: Fear of Rejection
No one likes rejection, and humans are innately wired to fear it because – until very recent generations – rejection literally meant death. You got kicked out of your tribe during the Stone Ages? Good luck surviving on your own.
Tip #1: Practice being friendly.
“Friendly or Flirting?” Phenomenon= simply talk to someone the same way you would a friend and become the friendly person who talks to everybody. They have no clue if you’re flirting or just being friendly!
When you say something casual and specific to a man, like “What a great leather bag, where’d you get it?” he has no clue if you’re using that as an icebreaker because you’re interested in him, or if you just want to know where he got his bag.
This also lowers the fear of rejection for both you and him – and when you lower the fear of rejection, you raise your level of engagement and the chance that you’ll naturally get the outcome that you want.
Fear #2: Fear of Being Awkward
Chances are you’ve over-compensated for that by trying to think of the perfect line so it will come out “more naturally.” The unfortunate irony with this approach is that by taking the time to craft a “more natural” sentence you completely strip it of being natural
The longer you hesitate to say something, the bigger your fear of saying it will grow.
Tip #1 The quickest way to overcome this fear is to use my “Mind to Mouth Move.”
To apply it, catch the first thought that pops in your head about the person you want to engage, then say it out loud to them before you give yourself the chance to overthink it. In other words, take your first thought immediately from your mind to your mouth. This prevents you from over-rehearsing what to say and ultimately psyching yourself out from saying it.
Fear #3: Fear of Being Creepy
A fear of being creepy may stem from being hyper-sensitive, such as picking up on social cues that aren’t there or when someone said, “You’re such a creep!”
Definition of Creepy: “Causing an unpleasant feeling of fear or unease.” —> conversation:
• Standing a little too close
• Unwelcomed touching
• Staring intensely without breaking eye contact
• Making an overtly derogatory or sexual comment
• Lingering too long after the conversation has clearly wrapped up
Take heart that, as long as you aren’t running your hands over people and paying attention to basic social cues, your risk of making someone uncomfortable is probably higher in your head than it is in reality.
Fear #4: Fear Someone is Already Taken
This is a respectable fear in that you don’t want to overstep your bounds if someone you find attractive is off the market. The problem with this is, other than wearing a wedding ring or having a partner on their arm, it’s impossible to know if someone is “taken” or not by simply looking at them.
Tip #1 The best way to find out if someone is single is to engage them and see where the connection goes.
By being your authentic self with everyone, you’re simply starting conversations with fellow humans about everyday topics. It’s not disrespectful to acknowledge someone or ask a question, no matter what their relationship status is. I would even argue that it’s prejudiced to purposefully avoid talking to someone simply because they have a wedding ring on. Married people need human connection too!