Increasing Self-Esteem/Dealing with rejection


I am a male in my early 40's. I have always struggled with friendship.
It just seems that people are not really interested in making an effort with me on a friendship level. I come across people in life, make an effort and these people just do not seem to reciprocate. It hurts. I feel a real strong sense of rejection and my natural instinct is to keep persisting (which never works). I guess I come across as needy and desperate.
What do you do though? If someone is rejecting your advances of friendship, what do you do? How do you not let this get to you or get you down? I have a friend whom I have known since I was about 11 years of age. This friend has always been a slacker and the friendship has been kind of one-sided with me making the most effort, but in recent years he has really just stopped making effort completely. I even tried organizing a vacation with the guy, but he side stepped me three times on this and then booked his airfares without even telling me. I am still getting over this and this happened about two years ago. My life lacks quality friendships.

ANSWER: Hi Steve,

I believe you hit the nail on the head when you say, "I guess I come across as needy and desperate." Unfortunately, most people want to run when they encounter someone who comes across that way. There are plenty of reasons for this, not the least of which is - very few people have the time or the wherewithal to deal with neediness and desperation. For some, life is complicated enough and they have their own issues to contend with.

So where does this leave you? First of all, you must learn to be your own best friend. Develop new hobbies and interests, read self-development literature, read more period. Join a gym or organizations that encourage social interaction; do charity work in hospitals; offer to help others, etc. Doing so will take the focus off yourself and, in turn, you will not appear desperate or needy. You will also be less needy because you will discover a world where there are those more desperate and much more needy than you are. You will also become more interesting and have much to offer. No matter what, you will have to change your perspective and it will take time. For things to change in your life - you must change.

I have a couple of articles that can help you get started:

I hope this helps.

All the best!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you for your reply and for sending those links. I read them and will be sure to read some more later today.
With regards to people rejecting me, how do I simply "get over it"? Just recently I had a kind of friend who was very happy to use me to get some things done, but when I suggested we catch up for a coffee, he was not interested. Now that I am of no further use in their situation, he does not ever give me the respect of replying to my text messages. This makes me very angry inside, but I keep wanting to persist and correspond with this person. Same with my friend whom I have known for nearly 30 years... I just want to keep persisting.
What is the best thing to do in this situation?

ANSWER: Hi Steve,

I can certainly understand your anger and frustration over being used. Unfortunately, there are some people who are only interested in getting what they want with no consideration or regard for whom they are hurting or inconveniencing.

As far as persisting and wanting to stay in touch with these people, if I were you, I would have to ask myself - WHY? Do you think you will change their motivations? Do you expect them to change their minds about you? What do you hope do gain in pursuing them?

I can answer that question for you. You will gain nothing but more pain and frustration and the reason for that is the total lack of caring and conscientiousness by these two people. If they cared about anyone but themselves they would have responded differently from the beginning. Your best bet is to stay away from such people altogether. Do not be a glutton for punishment.

They only way you can stop any self-defeating behaviour is to practice, practice, practice! Do whatever you can to avoid putting yourself in such a position. Understand that you are just courting a no-win situation.

Learn to respect yourself and know that you deserve consideration from others. If they don't genuinely want your company and friendship, then don't waste your time!

All the best!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks again!

Can you advise how you can just move on? I find myself obsessing and often thinking about these people, wondering how I could get them to like me or how I can make them feel bad for how they have treated me etc. This one friend of 30 years, the major rejection occurred about 2 years ago and I still find myself dwelling on it etc.


The only way to move on is how I've already stated:

"They only way you can stop any self-defeating behaviour is to practice, practice, practice! Do whatever you can to avoid putting yourself in such a position. Understand that you are just courting a no-win situation."

At some point Steve, you have to recognize that this is a self-defeating, no-win situation and then move on. There is not much else I can tell you. You must do the work to get yourself in that mindset.

Best regards!

Increasing Self-Esteem

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Zorka Hereford


I can answer questions pertaining to a healthy self-concept, personal development and how to think critically about your life choices.


I've written a book "9 Essential Life Skills - A Guide for Personal Development and Self-Realization". I worked a combined twenty years for a top financial institution and a number one communications company where I acquired excellent leadership and training and development skills.

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Visit my website at to read my many personal development articles.

I've obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree with studies in philosophy and psychology as well as a college Business Management Diploma.

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