Our advice for successful dating

Article 10

How to improve your confidence

Dating can be both a daunting and intimidating prospect, especially if you haven’t done it for a while, but there are a few simple techniques that can help build your confidence and stop nerves from getting the better of you.

Think positive

Before you head out on your date, take five minutes to clear your head of any negative thoughts. Make a mental list of all the things you like about yourself and your life and focus on those instead. Training your mind to focus on the good will give you an instant boost.

Look smart

Dressing well and looking good isn’t just about making a good first impression (although it certainly helps). If you are comfortable in what you’re wearing and feel happy about the way you look, it will show in your general demeanour and consequently you’ll exude more self-confidence.

Stand tall

If you’re prone to hunching your shoulders and bowing your head, you’re inadvertently giving away your lack of self-confidence. Your body language is literally saying you want to hide or disappear. Practice perking up your posture by walking tall - shoulders back, head up. Acting confident can actually make you feel more confident.

Relax

Try these simple exercises to loosen you up before heading out on the big date. Shrug your shoulders to release any tension, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in through the mouth and out through the nose. Exhale as slowly as you can and imagine yourself expelling any negative thoughts as you breathe out. This should help calm any nerves and put you in a relaxed and optimistic frame of mind.

Focus on them

While you’re worrying what your date thinks of you, they’re probably worrying what you think about them. Work with that knowledge and deflect the attention away from yourself by asking them some friendly questions to get the conversation going. Concentrate on putting them at ease. By briefly taking the spotlight off yourself, you’ll be able to relax and appear more confident. When thinking about topics of conversation, remember that a first date is not the time to mention your ex, your work problems or that your house is being demolished tomorrow. The first date is when your potential new partner gets a feel of what it’s like to be in your company – so try to be positive and cheerful, the type of person you would want to spend time with.

Eye contact

Avoiding eye contact is a telltale sign that you’re feeling insecure. When first meeting your date, fight your fear and greet them with a warm smile and look them in the eye. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, making eye contact will give you an air of confidence which can be really attractive to the other person.

Take your time

When you’re nervous or stressed, it’s common for speech to become rushed or gabbled – almost as though you just want to get the words out of your mouth as fast as possible and get out. By speaking slowly, you’ll not only seem more self-assured, but also have more time to consider what you’re going to say next.

Don’t fidget

Tugging at your tie or fiddling with jewellery, buttons etc will betray your inner nervousness as well as make you appear distracted. Try to become attuned to your body and fight the urge to pull that loose thread on your sleeve or pick at the invisible fluff on your lapel.

Remember to smile!

Just as altering your posture can help with building self-confidence, so can the expression on your face. If you meet your date with a smile, you’re likely to get one back and that will put you at ease. Also, the sheer act of smiling releases feel-good chemicals known as endorphins so it’s almost impossible to smile without feeling positive and confident.

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