No one ever said dating was for the faint of heart. When things are going your way, it can feel like you and your date are Cinderella and Prince Charming at the ball (you know, before the whole slipper loss thing). When it's not, though, you're back home, scrubbing floors for your evil stepsisters. A turn of bad dating luck is enough to shatter your dating self-confidence, throwing you off your game and even giving you pause before you get back on your white horse and search for your prince or princess. If you need a confidence boost, consider these tips from dating fairy godmother DeAnna Lorraine, a San Diego-based dating coach. By following her advice, you'll have the self-esteem to get back out there again and find your very own happily ever after.
Let Go of Past Relationships Missteps
If you wish to pump yourself up, wasting time agonizing over what could've been or what should've been will only serve to bring your confidence down. To move onwards and upwards with a clearer and wiser head, Lorraine recommends making a list of all the things you've learned from your past relationships, and considering each one for one last time and one last time only. "Vow not to fall into those mistakes again, and then move on," she says.
Make a "List of Accomplishments" and Keep It Up
Make some time to consider all you have accomplished this past year or two in your career, your personal life, your education, etc., as well as the struggles you have overcome. "Even if it's as simple as -I did my taxes without my Dad helping me this year', -I took my first international trip' or -I finally lost that jerk who kept breaking into my e-mail account,' recognizing things you have done that you are proud of will strengthen your core self esteem and help build true inner confidence," Lorraine asserts.
Update Your Look
When you look good, it's more likely that you'll feel good about yourself when dating. Take a good look in the mirror, and evaluate yourself and your look. What could you update, and how could you revamp your personal style? Ask an honest friend, or even consult a stylist. "At the very least-even if you're a guy, get a manicure and a pedicure, and go to a hairstylist and ask her or him to cut and style you a new look that would be flattering on you." Lorraine advises. Evaluate your clothes as well, tossing anything Brenda or Dylan would have donned on "90210" and going shopping for a few new date-ready outfits that make you feel great, she recommends.
Break Free From Your Comfort Zone
Gathering new, challenging experiences and accomplishments under your belt will grow your confidence from the inside out. "When you take risks and do things you didn't think you could, you begin to trust yourself more and feel more competent," Lorraine explains. "Greater trust within yourself leads to greater self confidence, which will positively affect how you approach dating. Try something you didn't think you could do, like getting scuba certified, hiking Yosemite's Half Dome or even something simpler like going on a blind date for the first time. "Soon enough, going on dates and attending singles events will seem like a cake-walk, and the confidence you'll exude in these situations in turn will attract people like magnets," Lorraine says.
Re-evaluate and Then Re-create Your "Must-List"
Everyone's got a "must-list", a list of standards or qualities to which we they size up potential love interest. Revisiting and then revising it will make you feel more empowered in the dating process, Lorraine says. "Using this list to be more selective with dates will not only help you date more of the people you really want, but will also reassure and empower you when you turn people down that don't have what you now know you're looking for," she explains. "The more you know exactly what you want in a mate, the more confident you will become when looking for him or her."
Practice, Practice, Practice
It was annoying when your elementary school piano teacher used to say it, but she was right: practice does make perfect. Therefore, if you want to boost your dating confidence, going on lots of "practice" dates will help you overcome shyness and gain confidence introducing yourself, building a rapport, flirting, and overcoming rejection, Lorraine says. A great first practice exercise, she says, is speed dating. "When meeting so many people in short time frames like that, you are bound to have at least a few people respond positively to you, and at least a few reject you," Lorraine explains, "but learning how to overcome the sting of rejection to the point where you do not take it personally anymore-and being able to move right on to the next potential date-is essential in building dating confidence."
Think in Terms of Abundance
Whether you really have a ton of dates or not, always maintain an attitude that there are tons of potential "The Ones" out there just waiting for you. Having this attitude will not only help you convey a confident, attractive demeanor (rather than a desperate one), but you will be in a position to actually choose quality, compatible partners from your pool, and be able to say no to those people that are wrong for you," Lorraine asserts.
Go Easy on Yourself
Most important, Lorraine recommends remembering to relax and have fun on dates. "If you take the pressure off yourself and your date by having no expectations, you'll be never be disappointed, only pleasantly surprised," she says. "Don't let negative dating experiences get you down. Take your time, stick to your lists, and enjoy and embrace the opportunity you have as a single to sample different types of people, experience personal growth, and accumulate new experiences."
Chelsea Kaplan, a DC-based writer, is the Editorial Director of www.themomtourage.com.
Shy people may not always be receptive to your flirting, but you can tell if they're responding.