Dating isn’t easy. It’s not just the scheduling, interpretation of text messages, the what ifs, the awkwardness — it’s also the fact that it’s a deeply personal experience. When someone isn’t interested in you or a date doesn’t go well, it can be a huge knock to your confidence. But it’s crucial to try to stay positive and sure of yourself, and it’s so helpful in the dating game.
“Confidence is attractive,” Samantha Burns, couples counselor and dating coach at Love Successfully, tells Bustle. “We are drawn to people who feel secure, decisive, and know what they want in life and in a relationship. On a date you represent what you’re bringing to the table. Since you’re meeting a stranger only you know who you really are — your insecurities are not written on your forehead. You have control over who you show up as, including having confidence about your personal qualities, values, hobbies, goals, and appearance.”
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to boost your confidence when you’re feeling like you’ve been spinning on the hamster wheel a little too long. Here’s what love experts say you can do to help to feel better about dating.
1. Remember That Life Is Good As It Is Now
It’s so important to remember that you shouldn’t need a partner to make you whole. Start approaching dating from a place of feeling fulfilled, because you have everything you need already.
“As a single woman, you should remind yourself that you have an amazing life,” dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. “Let your confidence in your own life exude into everything around you… Happiness and confidence attracts the same.”
2. Remember That Nerves Are OK
It’s natural to feel nervous before a date, but that doesn’t need to make you question everything.
“Don’t confuse anxiety with insecurity,” Burns says. “It’s natural and normal to have a little bit of nerves or anxiety before and during a first date. Our brain is wired for survival, and it doesn’t know what situation you are walking into, and whether you are physically safe and emotionally safe from uncomfortable emotions like embarrassment.”
3. Say Yes To Things Outside Of Dating
Boosting your confidence in dating isn’t all about dating — it’s about improving your confidence more generally as well. So, try embracing things that take you outside your comfort zone in other areas of your life. Try a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up, book that trip you’ve been to, get up and sing karaoke — it doesn’t matter if it’s big undertaking or a little change, it’s just about making yourself open to possibilities.
“This will change your relationship with others and yourself,” Michal Naisteter, Philadelphia-based matchmaker at Three Day Rule tells Bustle. “Think Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes. A practice like this will bleed into all areas of your life and will open yourself up to new experiences as well as your own empowerment.” When you realize you can face your fears in other areas, dating might feel like a piece of cake.
4. Remember Dating Is About What *You* Want, Too
Too often, dating feels like we’re auditioning, desperate to get the part. It’s important to take a step back and remember that it’s a two-way street. “It takes two to tango. You should approach dates with confidence,” Michela Hattabaugh, Chicago-based matchmaker at Three Day Rule, tells Bustle. “Always remember that you’re a catch and approach the date with that mindset.” Your date is lucky to have you.
5. Take The Pressure Off
When you’re demanding a lot from yourself — and hoping to find the perfect — date, it’s easy to get down and feel your confidence take a hit. Instead, remind yourself that dating is supposed to be fun. “We can be better daters when we take the pressure off,” clinical hypnotherapist, author and educator Rachel Astarte, who offers transformational coaching for individuals and couples at Healing Arts New York, tells Bustle. “Go on dates as though you are meeting new, interesting people. Forget the goal of finding ‘The One.’ Look at dating as a way to connect to like-minded people.”
6. Stop Dating Entirely
I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but bowing out of dating altogether can actually help you. “The best way to boost your dating confidence is actually stop dating for a bit!” relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. “If you are feeling hopeless about meeting someone it can really do you some good to take a bit of a step back from dating and remember that you have a life that doesn’t just encompass dating. See friends, immerse yourself in work, take up hobbies. If you shrink your life too much so dating becomes the most important thing, it can be very discouraging or depressing if that’s not taking off.” When you’re ready, head back into it.
7. Choose Your Dealbreakers
“Knowing your core values and ‘living’ them are essential for your happiness and well-being,” spiritual life coach Angela Lenhardt tells Bustle. Dealbreakers, core values — whatever you want to call them, everyone should know their non-negotiables. Making sure you say “no” to things, people, or ideas that you’re not comfortable with is so empowering. Boundaries are important, and keeping up our boundaries is form of self-care. So, know what you need and stick to it.
If you’ve been on the dating scene for a long time without any luck, it’s totally normal to feel discouraged and like your confidence is knocked. So take a step back, give yourself a break, and re-prioritize. You should feel confident — because you deserve to be.
Originally posted on Bustle