How to Boost Your Self-Confidence With the Opposite Sex

September 25, 2009

Rooftop

Another Friday and hopefully all you singles have big plans for the weekend. It’s autumn, and I always feel that there’s a sense of possibility in the air at this time of year. It’s the season for getting cozy, so how about meeting someone new? At the blog Life After College, guest blogger Ryan Stephens shares his #1 Theory to Enhance Your Dating Life. Ryan manages a list of the Top 10 Gen Y Blogs at Ryan Stephens Marketing, but here he gets personal:

“I’m not a serial dater, and I don’t sleep with countless women, but I have my own dating strategy – one that has worked for me on numerous occasions – and I’ve probably had more luck “dating up” (girls more attractive than me) than I should have. Also, everyone (both male and female) that I’ve shared this strategy with has increased their “luck” as well. What follows won’t necessarily work 100% of the time for everyone – but if your current approach isn’t getting you the results you want, hear me out.”

He calls it the Pretend You’re In a Great Relationship Strategy.

“If every night that you go out to the bar, coffee shop, grocery store, art gallery, etc. you pretend you’re in a relationship it immediately takes away all the apprehension. Instead of being nervous and trying too hard to impress the opposite sex you relax, be yourself, and let everything develop naturally.”

I think Ryan’s onto something here. So often we hear that we should just be ourselves, or love ourselves so that someone else can love us too. I’m guilty of having thrown out those platitudes from time to time. The problem is, you can’t be yourself unless you feel comfortable, and very few people feel comfortable when trying to attract someone of the opposite sex. Telling someone “Don’t worry, just be yourself” is not practical advice. Pretty soon they’re worrying about why they can’t do a better job of just not worrying. Ryan’s post (with examples) is well worth reading.

Using Your Newfound “I’m Taken Approach”

Pretend you’re in a solid relationship when engaging with the opposite sex and you’ll have significantly more luck.

  • Oh my gosh he didn’t call. Who cares?
  • She blew me off after I bought her a drink. Duh. And why would you buy another girl a drink if you’re in a relationship anyway? (Buying girls’ drinks is a lame strategy.)
  • He was a great dancer, why didn’t he try to kiss me? He was probably scared. Your imaginary boyfriend will kiss you when you get home.
  • I can’t talk to her, she’s a 10. You can talk to anyone you want without getting nervous because you’re already in a great relationship.


What’s brilliant about Ryan’s approach is that it comes from his intuitive understanding of a concept that is central to sports psychology: “Anxiety impacts performance.” In their book Essential Readings in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Daniel Smith and Michael Bar-Eli define self-confidence as “the belief that one can successfully execute a specific activity, rather than a global trait that accounts for overall performance.” In other words, what matters is how you feel in that moment at the plate, the starting line, the 30-yard line. It’s not about having a self-confident personality that carries you through all of life successfully. It’s about getting psyched up for the challenge you face right now.

Ryan’s technique is essentially a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an approach to making people feel more comfortable by giving them techniques to use in confronting their fears. The idea is that when you put yourself in challenging situations and take risks, you are increasing your exposure to your fears and giving yourself practice in handling them. CBT is an extremely effective approach, and the beauty of it is that it works quickly; people don’t go into therapy for months on end, but often see positive results within a matter of weeks. You might try Ryan’s approach and find that it makes a big difference very quickly.

By going out and acting the part of a male who’s taken, Ryan eradicates any feelings of desperation and increases his desirability.

“If you’re anything like me, you know that you get hit on way more often when you’re actually in a relationship. Why do you think that is? It’s because you’re happy, you’re smiling, and you’re not stumbling over your words or acting fidgety.”

One more important point:

“Unlike most “gaming techniques” this isn’t about manipulation or playing games with someone else’s emotions. It is about playing a game with yourself. You ARE that person, you’re just employing a mindset that allows you to relax instead of getting nervous, uptight, and stumbling over your words. You’re not being a phony, you’re empowering yourself to let things happen.”

This is crucial. Playing games to mess up someone else’s head is never OK. Employing a technique to foster your own development is totally legit.

What do you think? Have you done this before? Do you have other ways of dealing with feeling nervous around the opposite sex?