Back when I was first looking for love, I always wished that I could be more confident. I believed that if only I were more confident, I would go right up to a woman I was interested in and just start talking to her. No second guessing myself.
However, I’d always find some way of talking myself out of it. “She probably already has a boyfriend” I’d tell myself. If there was a woman that I had a crush on, I would say to myself “I’m going to do it today when I see her. I’m going to ask her out” and then I would chicken out. “On second thought I’ll ask her out tomorrow instead,” I’d tell myself. And then tomorrow would come and I’d say the same thing the next day. And the next. And the next.
How do you become more confident? Especially if you haven’t had a lot of success with women before?
In the book Mate, Tucker Max gives one of the best descriptions of confidence I’ve ever seen. He writes, “Confidence is the realistic expectation you have of being successful at something, given (a) your competence at it and (b) the risk involved in doing it.”
Take a look at that definition again. There are three main factors that influence your confidence:
- The realistic expectation you have of being successful
- Your level of competence at it
- The risk involved in doing it
When you positively influence these three factors, it makes you more confident. To help illustrate this, I’d like to show you three ways I was making myself less confident around women…and I didn’t even know it!
I would become overly invested in her before I even asked her out
A long time ago, I had a crush on an acquaintance for years. I began to imagine the two of us together and I fantasized about us being in a relationship. Unfortunately, I started to become obsessed with her to the point where I’d overanalyze every single interaction we had with each other. If I didn’t see her for a few days then I would start to have trouble eating or sleeping. This went on for weeks, and then months, and then over a year. They say there are “plenty of fish in the sea” but I didn’t want to hear it.
I never asked her out at all during that time. At first I was too nervous. But over time, I had built up a mental image of her that would be impossible for any person to fulfill. I had put her on a pedestal. At that point, if I asked her out and she turned me down then the illusion that I had built for myself would come falling down. It was easier to continue living in my fantasy world than it was to ask her out and risk being rejected.
Some time later, I learned she was moving away and that I’d probably never see her again. That’s when I finally decided to ask her out. She turned me down. In an instant, my fantasy world had shattered. That night I shut myself up in my room and cried myself to sleep.
One of my biggest problems with women is that I’d become overly invested in her if she so much as flashed me a smile. In terms of Tucker Max’s definition of confidence, this influenced the risk involved in talking to women. By putting her on a pedestal even before I got to know her, I risked emotional devastation if she turned me down.
I had no idea what to say to her
The second thing that made me less confident around women is that I’d try to talk to her without having any idea on what to say. In terms of Tucker Max’s definition of confidence, this negatively influenced my competence at talking to women.
If you have no idea what to say to her then no amount of psyching yourself up or trying to “fake it until you make it” is going to make you more confident. It’s like trying to take an exam that you didn’t study for. You look at the first question and you realize you don’t know how to answer it. Well, maybe the second question is easier? Nope. What about question three? Uh-oh. You start to feel that pit in your stomach as you slowly realize that you don’t know how to answer any of them. If you didn’t study for that exam then there’s no way you’re going to make yourself succeed by “faking it until you make it”.
When you lack competence at something then you’re naturally going to feel unconfident about it. That’s your brain’s way of keeping you out of situations that you’re not prepared for.
The same applies with dating. If you have absolutely no idea whatsoever what to say to her then you’re not going to feel good about talking to her. No amount of “faking it until you make it” is going to help you here. Instead, the way to overcome this is to have some idea of what you want to say to her.
It’s impractical to plan out an entire conversation before you talk to her, but even having a rough idea of what you are going to say can help you feel more confident. Check out some of my other writings if you want more detail on how to talk to women.
I kept waiting for a magic time when I was confident
I would always wait for a mythical time when I was unafraid to talk to her. I wished that I were more confident and I thought that if I was then I would just go right up and talk to her.
That time never came.
The way to be confident is to go right through that fear. It’s natural to feel nervous around someone you’re romantically interested in. I don’t think I’ve ever asked a woman out without feeling a little bit anxious inside.
This is especially true if you haven’t had a lot of success with women before. When we’re trying something out for the first time or we’re not very experienced at it, our minds default to being a little apprehensive about it. That’s because back when we were hunter gatherers, being afraid of the unknown helped to keep us alive.
What’s that rustle in the grass? It could be a lion getting ready to eat you! What’s that noise in the distance? It could be an angry mammoth charging right at you! What about that huge shadow in the cave? It could be a hungry bear! Being afraid of the unknown kept us from being eaten or killed.
That hunter-gatherer potion of our brains is still hard at work today, even though there are no lions or mammoths in the cities and towns that we live in today. And it still tries to protect us by making us feel apprehensive about the unknown. The way to overcome this is to go straight through that fear.
Do you have all your bases covered? Have you refrained from putting her on a pedestal? Do you have a rough idea of what to say to her? Then you’re ready to go talk to her. Even if you don’t feel ready!
This is where “fake it until you make it” comes in. Try to act as confident as you can be around her. Pay conscious attention to your body language and try to catch yourself if you start to behave erratically. It might be hard at first, but it gets easier over time.
Finally, I’ve seen men become more confident even after they’ve just been turned down by a woman. Why? It takes a HUGE amount of courage to go up to a woman, talk to her, and then ask her out. It’s much easier not to. By actually taking that step and doing it, they’ve scaled a massive personal mountain. And by asking a woman out for the first time, they’ve proven to themselves that they are capable of doing it a second time. And a third time.
And from there, it’s only a matter of time until they find a woman that they connect with.