Fear of rejection?

Dear Brains:

Wondering if others also tend to feel a fear of rejection (fear of asking people out on dates, fear of getting rejected by jobs, fear of trying stuff etc.) and if anyone has found any good ways to cope with it/get over the fear without medications.

Feel like I may underachieve a bit in this category as a chronically single 27 y/o ADHDer and read that rejection sensitivity dysphoria is a common symptom.


Failing multiple times and trying new things is all part of being a brain.

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Having a fear of rejection is something that us brains live with we can’t stop how it makes us feel but we can stop it from stopping us the one thing I always say to myself is that if I’m afraid to do it then I’m going to do it (but if it goes against my religion that’s a different story) I personally enjoy bypassing it instead of doing the whole mind argument on whether I should or shouldn’t do something it makes me feel guilty in the end and I wonder could it be different if I went with my other choice


We ADHDers definitely do tend to take failing and rejection harder than our neuro-typical counterparts. It could be due to the fact we have emotional dysregulation issues, so naturally we’d struggle with feelings and negative emotions regarding rejection and failure (be they perceived or actual happenings).

In terms of Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, however, I’ll give @Vitea the floor. She explains RSD faaaaar better than I can.


I found that working in a call centre years ago forced me to deal with talking to people, but on the end of a phone it’s much easier.

I even have no problem with public speaking now. It’s just dealing with individuals that’s still a problem sometimes for me.

When you are forced to confront a situation which terrifies you, and you come through the other side unscathed, it can give you the confidence to do it again. And by repetition, completely remove those barriers. Either that, or it’ll cause a brain meltdown the first time, and make you more cautious about trying it again.

Just have to get back on the horse. Analyse what went wrong, adapt and go again.

I’ve gone for so many jobs that fear of rejection just doesn’t even register any more. Plus the fact that I’m often actually far better at interviews than I am at the job gives me the confidence.

Asking people out on dates… Can’t help you much there.


I used to be very shy. Then in university, I pushed myself to go up and talk to people. I learned that people were generally receptive to talking. I also learned that people seemed to react to me as though I was normal - even though I didn’t feel like I was.

I was chronically single myself until after university. However I did ask a few girls out over the years. They (politely) rejected my advances, but I felt better that I tried & failed rather than never tried.

There was a woman who I had a crush on, and we became friends. I started to find myself feeling stronger feelings for her. I didn’t want to wreck the friendship if she wanted to only be friends. Eventually I told myself that I’d rather take the chance & risk the friendship than always wonder what might have happened (similar to how I pushed myself to ask out women in the past). We’ve been married for 13 years now!

So my advice is take chances. It will not always work out as you’d like, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t work out for the better.


@StillADHD Hee hee… So you got out of the dreaded ‘friend zone’.
“You’re such a nice guy…” Da da doom.

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Yep, she fell for that hyperfocus charm :).

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Thanks for sharing! Will try to live life without regrets :slight_smile:

Unless you are famous, rich, or extremely good looking (and even then) you will face rejection, like anyone else.

Don’t take it personally (difficult when you lay it all out there). Just move on, and keep looking.

Because she will be out there thinking exactly the same thing about rejection, looking for you.

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As @HarleyKyn has summoned me to explain the terminology a little, here we go.

Concerning RSD as a term:
Emotional dysregulation (which is the only official term we have atm to describe “RSD” symptoms, so we should stick to that for now if possible) plays a big part in our social understanding and relationships. It’s easy to abuse sensitive people. However the term RSD is in no way official, yet.

There are reasons why criteria have to be met until something is adapted into the ICD/DSM.
One main big reason being that many things are already described, just with another name, or not as an independent concept, rather than a subsyndrome or even a symptom of something.

So it takes time to a) do the science, b) integrate that science, c) have all the experts with their insanely different opinions at times somehow reach an agreement and then d) work out that specific concept in a way everyone can stand behind.
The ICD-11 is coming 20 years after ICD-10!
Because it takes an insane amount of time to get all those opinions to click. this is also why many diagnoses are discussed for years and years before being implemented. The DSM is a tad younger and also a tad (really it isn’t much) faster, because it focuses on mental disorders exclusively, while the ICD covers all diseases and disorders, somatic and mental.

The thing with new stuff is that there is always a risk of something called reification.
Meaning the creation of new “disorders” without any… sickness value? I don’t know how to translate that…
Basically, we all tend to pathologise everything.
That’s why we can’t just accept new concepts into the official system at a whim. It has to be checked whether it already exists, if it doesn’t but is a combination of things, we have to ask ourselves whether it is significant enough to be a syndrome, or if it’s a symptom. If it’s significant enough, the question will arise whether it should be a diagnosis by itself.
But apart from terminology: Yes it’s important to talk about all of this and it shouldn’t be dismissed.

I know that Jessica will soon mention RSD and explain just what I explained now: It is a theory for now, but we don’t have enough (any) evidence yet as to how valid it is as a concept of its own.

That is not to say that the symptoms commonly associated with it are not present or that people are actively trying to invent something, but the broader concept of emotional dysregulation shouldn’t be narrowed down to RSD.

That was a lot of text, apologies. I just think it’s very important to be aware of the official medical stand of things, as it is at the moment.

I hope we all find a way to cope with this, I’m not spared from emotional dysregulation either. :heart: lot’s of strength for you.


Jessica also had a video called ‘Am I a failure’? If I recall correctly she said that we brains tend to ‘fail’ more (because of the impulsivity and inattentiveness) and feel more like a failure because of this. Maybe we also are more likely to feel rejected, because of all these experiences of failing/being rejected.

For me even a comment of making a mistake makes me feel rejected as a person. Working on it though.


Some thing useful to know. Adhd attachment styles skew to the fearful-Avoidant attatchment style and I believe the preoccupied avoidant attachment style( don’t quote me on 2nd one).

I’m fearful avoidant. When I replaced fearful with the word Anxious, which is what it actually means I believe, I started making so much more sense of it and saw how it impacted my life.


At 4 years old 1 month - I saw papers from preschool describing that I already had a chip on my shoulder at 4 years old.

I’m like oh my God!, that early,

If it happened that early, we have to accept that it’s not our fault that we have those feelings and then to recognize them
When they pop up but instead of avoiding or dismissing them, allow us to feel them
And know that the only difference between fear and courage is the behavior we take,

Fear stands still

Courage is Fear Walking.

I hope that helps.

I just accidentally flagged this article - I was trying to save it somehow - I am truly sorry - I like this post
Please disregard the flag

No worries Margrit :blush:

i guess one thing that helped a little for me, at least in certain context was consciously reminding myself how powerfull, unpredictable and unfixed any situation involving rejection can in fact be. Of course this doesn’t stop the incredible pain of RSD…it just perhaps makes it somehow endurable… for example if i go for a date or meet a new person for the first time, i kinda remind myself like a mantra before hand that if things don’t happen that it really doesn’t have to be personally to do with me… things like attraction and romance, matches etc are perhaps uncomfortably effected by all sorts of things we’d maybe rather not acknowledge. Things like contextual status and hierarchies, circumstances of the individuals involved at the time of the meeting, the cycles of the planets…honestly the list is very large… and it feels somewhat arrogant to assume that a person is responding directly to me because (add x reason, in my case usually something ridiculous about self estime or me being bitter etc). Also Truth for everyone in those kinds of situations is there is more of a tendency for things not to happen than to go the other way…there is perhaps nothing unusual about it being so. Sometimes i fear i only stick to this outlook for the sake of my own sanity but to be honest the more i reflect on it the more i feel that there is something to it…this also goes both ways in terms of us allowing ourselves to say no to people without having to feel like we are shooting a kitten in the face (again, assuming that we are responding to something personal in the other person…when it might even be that we are having a brain fog episode or a whole range of things). That being said there is maybe no reason to outright pre-emptivly state rejection of said person unless you are somehow pushed into doing so (if i find myself in that situation i just prefer to let the evening play out and then go home or if the feeling is mutual just wait for them to do the rejecting etc). It’s funny because even though because of the RSD rejection perhaps hurts me more than it would the other person i feel over the years i’ve become accustomed to being in the flames so to speak. Rejection always takes a toll unfortunately and even more so with RSD however i’ve found even being aware of my own RSD immensely helpfull in coming to terms with those situations and actually even talking openly about it with people in difficult situations can help also. I guess a more realistic way to put this would be that whilst i accept there is maybe often a part of rejection that will always be personal (or at the very least feel so) i am more at peace with the idea that this can only ever be one part and more often not a very small one in the large variety of effecting factors.

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I unfortunately was told by my doctors that i suffer from comorbid RSD, it explained a lot actually. I have learned that just doing it without too much thought first had been my only way of coping with it. Now that i have an actual answer we are going to dig deeper and See what some more healthy ways of dealing with it are. I hope you get a way to cope that works for you, i feel you and wish you the best! P.s. the “wall of awful” videos are very informative.