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Do you find yourself hiding behind closed doors on a Saturday night because you hate to date? Well, you’re not alone. Not everyone feels comfortable dating. In fact, many people find it so terrifying that they stay in an unhappy relationship so that they don’t have to face the dating jitters.
However, having what you want in your live always involves stepping out of your comfort zone; getting that new job requires attending interviews, losing weight requires an increased fitness routine, and travelling overseas requires speaking a strange language. And the same goes for dating.
Falling in love brings many moments of happiness for the rest of your life…. So surely a few first date jitters, awkward moments of silence or embarrassing stumbles here and there are worth discovering the treasure? Yes! Then let’s take a look at ways to develop confidence to meet a new mate.
Tips for Developing Dating Confidence
1. Make anxiety your friend
Most people expect that dating success requires confidence. Yes confidence is sexy, but you know what, plenty of shy, awkward, introverted people date and fall in love. After all, first date jitters are a part of who you are—and don’t you want someone to fall in love with the whole package? The desire not to feel nervous will only make you more nervous so accept dating anxiety as a part of life, embrace it as a feeling of excitement and anticipation and steam ahead despite the trembles.
2. Kiss lots of frogs
Developing dating confidence is all about experience. The first time you hopped in the driver’s seat of your car you likely fumbled around to find your way. Despite the risk of a car accident, you managed to take the wheel of that automobile, and with practice, gained the skill to drive with confidence. Dating confidence requires the same practice. Yes it feels clunky at first but with each new date it becomes easier. Practice talking to new people in different situations and date as often as you can (even if not the perfect fit). Then when your knight in shining armour does arrive you’ll be ready to fall giddily into his arms.
3. Learn relaxation or deep breathing
An important part of dealing with anxiety in any situation involves learning to breathe properly. When anxious, we tend to take shorter breaths, high in the chest rather than long, deep breaths into the belly. Learn diaphragmatic breathing or a relaxation process to help you breathe from the belly when anxiety arises. This simple practice can help ease anxiety and nerves in any uncomfortable situation.
4. Adopt positive body language
The way you carry your body affects how you feel about yourself. Guess how you feel when you stand with your shoulders rounded, head down, and drag your feet? Depressed. Want to feel confident instead? Pull back your shoulders, stand tall, hold your head high and smile. Sure you can’t make yourself confident just by changing your posture but you can add to a feeling of confidence by doing so. Next time you’re feeling like a withering flower, imagine a piece of string through your spine and someone pulling it from above. Straighten up, open your chest, and raise your voice a little to be heard.
5. Master small talk
One reason people hate to date stems from fear of running out of things to say. There are three ways to overcome this concern. Firstly, understand that the art of small talk is about finding common ground to enable the conversation to flow with ease. Secondly, small talk mastery means being armoured with interesting open ended questions to get the conversation going. Thirdly, good small talkers are interested in life; they read from a variety of sources, retell stories from friends, and keep abreast of current affairs. So to improve your small talk skills prepare ahead of time. Find common ground before you meet, plan some open ended questions, and stay up to date with the world around you.
6. Take a perspective shiftRather than trying to meet “The-One” focus on learning to enjoy dating. See it as just another experience in life and focus on doing your best to relax and have fun. Being too focused on making a good impression and getting your new friend to like you only creates a sense of angst.
Such self-consciousness feeds anxiety so create a new focus for dating that shifts your attention away from yourself. For example, set your focus for the date on learning as much as you can about your partner, helping him or her relax, listening and really understanding who they are.
Last week: 7 ways to be in love and stay in love
Author of De-stress Your Success: Get More of What You Want with Less Time, Stress and Effort, Sacha Crouch is a business, executive and life coach who helps people create the work and lives they love. For other free lifestyle resources visit www.activ8change.com.au.
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