In a movie to come out about high school a teacher is encouraged by his students to hit on another teacher. When he approaches her, he asks her instead to slap him to “teach the kids a valuable lesson in rejection”
So I realized that one of the things that makes me who I am (a shut-in) is a still-present fear of rejection. It is so strong, that I put huge efforts to make “safe” the actual situations where I need to talk to strangers. That is, even if I need to ask directions, I can only ask it if I’m sure the person will reply. I won’t ask a person with headsets on, who is facing away from me, because I’m not sure I’ll successfully attract their attention to start talking. And the situation when I tried and failed is so scary, that it discourages me from trying. Obviously rejection isn’t that scary, but how to explain it to my subconsciousness?
(this post is inspired by Scott Aaronson’s speculation that his own teenage fears were coming from bad counseling and extreme stygma against having sexual attraction to girls)