Even if you’re a self-assured person overall, dating can sometimes be unnerving. Especially once you grow fond of a person — in creeps the angst of hoping they feel the same way about you. In creeps the doubt, and the fear that perhaps they won’t.
The song and dance of dating can be disempowering. It’s easy to seem less comfortable in our skin during this process. We may second-guess ourselves and accentuate supposed flaws. Confidence and certainty can start to wane.
The problem is, research consistently shows that confidence is appealing in dating — while neediness and excessive insecurity are not. So, the less sure of ourselves that we feel, the less likely we are to attract the person that we want. It’s counterproductive. Our shrinking in favor of someone else is actually more likely to turn them off.
Few things mess with our self-esteem more than being shunned by the object of our affection.
We take it personally. We wonder what it is about us that repels someone — or what’s lacking that might turn them on. This thought process chips away at even the stoutest self-perception.
We should be upfront about what we want. It’s when we try to force others to want it too that an unappealing line is crossed.
If a guy for whom I’ve exhibited zero concern maintains a feverish pursuit, friends say it’s my aloofness that makes him want to chase even faster. I get the logic. But I’m not intentionally indifferent or playing a game. I’m only confident — in who I am, what I want, and that someone will come along who offers those things.
So, I don’t sit down for a date with the intent of making someone like me. I’m just me. If they dig it, fine. If they don’t, that’s fine too! I put my best self forward, but I’m not attached to the outcome. This approach allows me to relax and not sense the pressure that often leads to anxiety and apprehension.
* * *
An assured demeanor is less about physical appearance and tangible elements than internal conviction.
Some of the people most widely considered attractive are also the most insecure. Don’t think you have to look and dress a certain way or reach a particular socioeconomic status to exude confidence.
There are a few pre-date tips backed by science to give you a quick confidence boost — such as wearing the color red and listening to bass-heavy music. Both make you feel more powerful, which helps you present yourself as such.
When I consider what helps me maintain a poised attitude toward dating, the importance of a few longer-term actions come to mind:
1. Detach your self-worth from whether or not you have a partner.
If you think more highly of yourself when in a relationship and less when you’re not, naturally, you’ll place disproportionate emphasis on companionship. Confidence while single and dating is more challenging because you’re not as secure in your worth when unattached. You can become desperate to find a partner if it’s directly tied to your perception of value.
Allison Abrams, LCSW-R says,
By knowing your worth, you are less reliant on another’s approval, thus protecting yourself from the harsh blows of rejection. Yes, rejection may still sting, but it will not break you. By valuing yourself, you are subconsciously requesting that others do the same. And this is a highly attractive quality.
Detach your self-image from your relationship status. That way, if a partner leaves or a prospect doesn’t reciprocate your affinity, they can’t take your worth with them.
2. Get comfortable alone.
Loneliness is a natural human condition. However, we must enjoy spending some time alone or we’ll perceive an urgent void in need of filling. It’s also imperative that we learn about ourselves — our likes, desires, and needs, without the influence of others. Much of being confident is knowing who you are.
Develop other interests so that dating isn’t your sole focus. Avoid succumbing to the perception of being alone as a state that’s inferior to the opposite. Then, a significant other is a complement to, not the completion of your wholeness.
3. When on a date, consider whether you like the other person instead of if they like you.
We can work compulsively to decipher hidden meaning behind every word spoken when trying to determine if someone finds us interesting or enchanting. We overanalyze every mannerism.
i.e., Did they yawn because they’re bored or tired?
We’re too preoccupied with worry and frivolous details to foster a genuine connection, let alone feel confident. Worse, we’re more compelled to manipulate the narrative — saying and doing what we think the other person wants. There’s a difference between being attentive and being obsessive.
Also, avoid inquiring too much about exes, requesting to see pictures of them, or otherwise measuring yourself against a date’s past lovers. Confident people aren’t overly concerned with comparison. Remember, you’re a catch, too.
4. Stay in the present.
Let the dating progress organically, or not. This is one area of life where I’d say don’t set an overt intention. Outside of being open-minded and authentic, try not to predetermine how things will go. You either don’t know or barely know this person. Deciding in advance that they’re your soulmate encourages trying to force fireworks — which again, can seem overzealous. Just enjoy the moment.
Notice that the behaviors above are all connected to focusing on yourself?
When you fixate on things you can’t control, such as another person’s behavior or thought process, you get a sense of being helpless. It’s hard to feel both confident and incapable.
Aside from how others respond, dating from a place of confidence is good for you. You’re less likely to lose yourself in someone or accept poor treatment when you have an esteemed perception of self.
The secret to dating from a place of confidence is to trust yourself and the timing of your life.
You do that by investing in yourself, cultivating independence, and working to be the person who’ll attract what you seek. If you want someone kind, focus on being kind, not trying to make a kind person love you.
When you trust that your love life will unfold as it should in due time, there’s nothing to fear and no place for uncertainty. You can’t adopt the idea of being “good enough” for anyone other than yourself. Flaws and all — know that you’re innately adequate.
Previously published on “Hello, Love”, a Medium publication.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.