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  1. #1
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Default What underlies the fear of rejection?

    Intro
    A paraphrase from a new book I found, Primate Ethology (worst jacket ever) that the primary function of allogrooming [grooming of one primate by another] is to reduce or remove certain social "barriers" between individuals. The idea is that you start making contact, make someone feel good and safe, and you can eventually "pair off" with them. In some species allogrooming is only observed in conjunction with copulation which suggests that it's a courtship ritual. But, close physical contact is risky as an individual approached may not want to be touched and attack. Some species of monkeys have developed alternatives to allogrooming that can be performed at a distance, like tongue-pumping (*snicker*) and penile erection (*second snicker*).1

    Approach-anxiety in Humans
    Why the fuck did I quote that? Because dating and approach-anxiety is the same thing. When you approach a person at a bar, you're generally trying to groom them from close distance, except before touching (e.g., caressing) we groom, i.e., provide comfort and show that we're not a threat, with our words. 2 But just as with monkeys, there's a danger of physical assault, but in our world, what is that risk or fear? What are they worried about? Physical assault? Emotional assault? Being ostracized? Loss of ego, status, and reputation? Self-disappointment? Do we fear fear?




    1 Internet-dating and this forum is a good example, at least for some people, of socializing and grooming at a distance. I thought that was cool.
    2 As I was typing this, I couldn't help but smile at how absurd this whole thing is. Fine, I'll say it. I also think it's almost magical to be able to discuss it.

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    "When you approach a person at a bar"

    I am not entirely sure that this is the only time these things come into play.

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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryPenguin View Post
    "When you approach a person at a bar"

    I am not entirely sure that this is the only time these things come into play.
    It was just an example.

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    Oh I know, was just relating it to the reality of my present in comparison to the surreality of my past.

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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryPenguin View Post
    Oh I know, was just relating it to the reality of my present in comparison to the surreality of my past.
    Surreality of your past?

    Also, any ideas on what underlies that fear?

    I've definitely seen it with married people, too. People are afraid to be themselves and feel they need to watch themselves.

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    I think it is the same with a lot of couples. Ultimately, the ideal couple will be 1+1=2. In essence, the ideal is two individuals who can maintain the "individual life" and still be this killer couple. I haven't seen this happen often (when it does, it is really awesome to see).

    I think what happens more often than not is like you say, one person sort of backs their usual self off, hides things they wouldn't normally hide for the sake of the relationship, bottles some stuff up in a way.

    I only say it cause I have done it, so this is entirely subjective.

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    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I think it is the fact that guys are afraid of losing value. Once they're turned down, not only do they lose confidence, but everyone in the area saw them get turned down (possibly). It's the same prinicple as girls wanting guys that are taken/have been with girls. They know that they are worth something, and no one wants someone that no one else wants. It makes them feel inferior, like they are settling for less.

    Likewise, some guys are afraid of success. If they could walk up and they knew that they were going to be rejected, there would be almost no fear. But if I walk up to a stranger and say something, and she responds, then I am locked in. I have the extra pressure to keep going, to stay interesting, to keep escalating.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    I think it is the fact that guys are afraid of losing value.
    Why do we care about value? Also, see my comment below addressing value.

    Once they're turned down, not only do they lose confidence, but everyone in the area saw them get turned down (possibly).
    But if no one's around, don't guys still feel nervous?

    Likewise, some guys are afraid of success. If they could walk up and they knew that they were going to be rejected, there would be almost no fear.
    Perfect. In some situations, there is no fear at all. In this case, I don't think it's the fear of success that is alleviated, but the fact that there's nothing to lose. Strangely enough in this case, your value still "goes down," but you're not at all bothered. So it can't just be value, either. Perhaps the apprehension of losing value is the fear? I don't know.

    But if I walk up to a stranger and say something, and she responds, then I am locked in. I have the extra pressure to keep going, to stay interesting, to keep escalating.
    I feel this too, very much. I see it as a method of avoiding the final rejection by "hyper-grooming" : working overtime to appear interesting and entertaining.

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    But if I walk up to a stranger and say something, and she responds, then I am locked in. I have the extra pressure to keep going, to stay interesting, to keep escalating.
    But isn't this the same type of investment we make with everyone, opposite sex or not?

    I am of the mind that if you actually decided to walk up to that stranger and say something, regardless of the outcome, the pressure you feel after that point is all you, which is pretty moot if you just went out of your way to walk up to a stranger and say something.

  10. #10
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Why do we care about value? Also, see my comment below addressing value.
    But if no one's around, don't guys still feel nervous?
    I think it is so socially adopted that it becomes instinctual.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid
    Perfect. In some situations, there is no fear at all. In this case, I don't think it's the fear of success that is alleviated, but the fact that there's nothing to lose. Strangely enough in this case, your value still "goes down," but you're not at all bothered. So it can't just be value, either. Perhaps the apprehension of losing value is the fear? I don't know.
    I wouldn't say that value necessarily decreases in this case, though...because one of multiple circumstances is present. If you know you are going to fail (for some reason), then the girl is probably way out of your league or taken, in which case you have balls, or you are saying something stupid, in which case you have balls and show that you are not afraid of rejection. And I think it does still alleviate the fear of success. If I walk up to a girl and say, "Hey...how do you feel about some hot passionate sex later on?" I'm going to expect to get rejected instantly, but I wouldn't really be that nervous (if friends were around for laughs). But if I walk up to a girl trying to start some slow conversation, it will be a little bit harder...for me. But I expect the fear of success is somewhat more prevalent in contingency planners like myself....slow thinkers.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

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