Shining Light On Rejection: What We’ve Discovered from Over 1000 Responses to Our Rejection Attraction Quiz

Since we launched our Rejection Attraction Quiz, 1200 people have taken it. So, THANK YOU to all who took the quiz. By the way, if you haven’t taken it and want to, you can take the Rejection Attraction Quiz here. Participation is anonymous. I suggest you take it BEFORE reading this article, as I am about to give it all away.

We’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who were impressed that the questions and answer options were spot on, so it will be worth your while if you take it. After you take the quiz, you will be immediately directed to your personal results.

The overall results have been truly eye opening.

I have put screenshots of the most interesting data right (at around 1000 responses) in this post, with some analysis that reveals evidence of our tendencies to find rejection, even (and especially) when we aren’t consciously looking for it. If you study this post, you’ll very likely discover that so many of us are setting ourselves up for personal rejection again and again, without understanding how it happens.

At the iNLP Center, we call this a Attachment to Rejection: A Psychological Syndrome. It’s a largely unconscious process whereby one unwittingly “seeks” rejection because rejection is 1) familiar or 2) self-justifying or even 3) strangely pleasurable (in a dark, more mysterious way).

If you’re suffering through life with a frustrating attachment to rejection, you’ll find yourself:

1. Scanning for evidence of anticipated rejection (thus creating self-fulfilling prophecies).

2. Feeling low social-confidence.

3. Attempting to please or impress others way too much – and feeling worried that you won’t.

4. Suffering the emotional consequences of believing you are rejection material.

5. And walking into it again and again in a thousand ways.

So you’ve got to find a way beyond it. Of course, letting go of a rejection attachment does not guarantee that people will never dislike you. It guarantees that you no longer encourage it. This post will shed a lot of light on what we tend to do to encourage or discourage rejection.

What follows are seven screenshots that represent the overall results. Click on any image to enlarge it. The questions analyzed are taken directly from the quiz, but not necessarily presented in the same order.

1. When I walk into a room of people, I…

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The two answers here that are not set ups for rejection are:

• Feel excited and look for a chance to jump into a conversation. (20.4%)
• Stand back and observe, calm and curious about how people socialize. (29.1%)

If you are doing either one of these, you are not emotionally anticipating or actively inviting rejection. A combined 49.5% of respondents fell into this category.

The answers that indicate an attachment to rejection are:

• Feel anxious in general – social anxiety. (32.7%)
• Scan for people who might look better or more successful than me.
• I hate walking into rooms full of people.
• Try to make myself as inconspicuous as possible. (9%)

A combined 51.5% of people fell into this category. If this category is you, then you should consider that you are anticipating rejection. And the anticipation affects how you observe and interpret everything around you. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy at work.

Learning to observe and anticipate the world from a more neutral place will be a revelation to you. The best way to begin is to learn how psychological attachments create self-sabotage by watching this enlightening free video: Self-Sabotage – End It With An AHA!.

 2. When a friend asks a favor of me, I

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 The only answer here that does not indicate a rejection attachment is:

• Consider whether or not I am willing to do it and give an honest answer. (45.2%)

Almost half of people fell into this category. If this is you, pure and simple, then congratulations. You have clear boundaries. Keep it up!

The rest of the answers lead into the rejection trap, or indicate that you were in it all along:

• Immediately say yes without considering whether or not I can do it.
• Feel a bit defensive, as if they are imposing.
• Say no if I need to, then feel guilty for not helping them out.
• Agree to do it, but often don’t follow through if it is inconvenient, honestly.
• Think that if I say no, they will be upset with me.

3. When I think of what I really want in life….

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The non-rejection attachment answers to this question are:
• Become motivated and begin to make plans or take action. (20.5%)
• Look for others who have achieved what I want and learn from them. (10.3%)

The rest – 69.2% –  fell victim to rejection attachment scenarios:

• Feel frustrated that I have not achieve it yet (25.2%)
• Feel depressed because I know I will never get it. (11.5%)
• Become anxious and afraid of failure. (17%)
• Believe that the closest people to me will not approve.
• Hear a voice in my head that says, “You can’t do it.”

I can identify with this one. As someone who has placed a lot of emphasis on achieving goals, I’ve done my fair share of fighting perceived rejection and failure. It’s so difficult. And unnecessary. That’s part of why it’s difficult. You know it’s all in your mind and emotions, but still fear failure anyway. That’s what attachments are – deeply ingrained clusters of belief that hold on in spite of your intellect.

4. When I was a child, my mother….

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It may come as no surprise to you that the world is facing a positive parenting epidemic. It’s simply amazing how many people leave childhood with a mountain of issues to carry throughout life.

The fortunate answers would be:

• Was very supportive and loving. (23.8%)
• Believed that I could do anything I put my mind to. (13.6%)

The unfortunate answers are:

• Held impossible expectations.
• Was never there for me. (31.1%)
• Criticized me too much. (27.1%)

More than 60% of respondents give mom negative marks. Mothers are a primary source of acceptance. If yours sent you mixed messages, then it may be a sign that you’ve become attached to the mixed-ness.


5. When I was a child, my father…

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Parenting epidemic part 2. Fortunate answers:

• Was very loving and supportive. (17.3%)
• Believed I could do anything I put my mind to. (13.2%)


• Held impossible expectations. (about 7%)
• Criticized me too much. (19.1%)
• Was never there for me. (44.1%)

Overall, roughly 70% of respondents felt they had a father that fell short of helping with self-esteem and acceptance.


6. When I complete a goal or project….

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When you complete a goal or project – large or small – it is time to feel good about yourself and celebrate.

Only 29.4% of people do that!

Roughly 7 out of 10 people do one of the following:

• Move on too quickly. (14.9%)
• Feel self-conscious when speaking about the success. (18.5%)
• Feel like if it was perfect it was good enough. (16%)
• Can’t help but look for what I did wrong. (15.3%)
• Honestly don’t enjoy that satisfaction of a job well done.


7. My inner voice…

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There may be no greater indicator of a rejection attachment than a critical voice in your head that harangues you. In our survey, this inner critic was well represented.

The healthy answer is:

• Is supportive, encouraging and friendly. (14.5%)
• Warns me of potential mistakes in a calm fashion. (16.1%)

The rest – roughly 70% – reported an inner voice with a different story:

• Compares my performance to others. (14.7%)
• Criticizes me on a regular basis. (30.2%)
• Reminds me of a critical parent. (9.6%)
• Seems to be demanding perfection. (14.9%)

The inner critic is the flagship of a rejection attachment. One of the signs that you have finally worked through the attachment is when the inner critic let’s up – and you experience long periods of inner silence and calm.

I’ve worked with some people who – upon encountering this strange inner quiet – reported that it took some getting used to. We get attached to all the drama and struggle. When it goes away, it’s odd. That’s why we call it an attachment. Being free from it takes some getting used to.

Thanks again to all who participated in this quiz! If you see yourself in any of this rejection attachment business, know this: You CAN let it go. It takes more than wishful thinking, but it is entirely within your reach.

To really understand this concept of psychological attachments and self-sabotage, watch this free video if you haven’t already: Self-Sabotage – End It With An AHA!


About Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.

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