I’m proposing a new word. Given that there are lengthy lists of phobias available on the internet, and since fear and I are well acquainted, I was surprised to discover that fear of rejection has no name. It is simply called “fear of rejection.” That makes it sound so juvenile that it need not be taken seriously. Without revealing too much (I don’t know how you might use this information—you could reject me!), this is one of my lifelong fears. I have theories as to why this may be, but if you want to hear them you have to get to know me first. In any case, I am proposing the word “aporripsophobia” for fear of rejection. Before you turn this down, let me assure you that I took four years of Greek in college, and even taught it for a year. “Aporripsē” is Greek for rejection, and, of course “phobia” is fear. The standard euphonic vowel before the o in phobia is open for grabs, but since it’s my word, I’m suggesting another o.
Unless it’s a keyboard smash, a web search on Google that brings no results is rare. Just to be sure, I checked out aporripsophobia and the mighty search engine turned up no results. One thing I’ve learned about the writing life is that rejection is part and parcel of it. Almost every writer has a history of rejection slips because, until someone takes a chance on you and makes some money off you, who wants to risk it? The first few I received nearly solidified my slavery to aporripsophobia. My advice to other writers, however, should they want it, is keep on trying. In the past two years I’ve been asked to write two academic articles and a book. I’ve also been asked to contribute to some online resources. None of these are big or visible projects, but to someone with aporripsophobia, that’s fine.
Even introverts, you see, need other people. Many of us suffer from a form of over-stimulation when around too many people. Some of us are extremely alert to our senses, finding it difficult to ignore strong odors or weak pains. Lots of people around can be frightening—crowds are loud and there’s so much—too much—going on! That doesn’t mean, however, that the quiet don’t need others. In fact, the quiet with aporripsophobia may get into a feedback loop where the need for alone time is translated as snobbery or arrogance when in reality it’s simply a way of handling the stress of being around too many people. The feeling of rejection then rushes in. I have probably said too much already, but I wanted to get aporripsophobia out there before someone louder did. I missed meteorotheology as a coined word, so, like my advice to writers, this is how I keep on trying. Finding aporripsophobia on Google some day down the road could lead to its opposite, I think. Its rejection, on the other hand, would be the supreme irony.