Dating can be a nerve-racking experience. Whether you're hanging out casually — Are we just friends? Maybe more? — or you have a 7 p.m. reservation at a fancy restaurant — This definitely feels like a date — spending one-on-one time with someone you're interested in can be both exciting and stressful. How do you approach these kind of situations? Are you dating confident?
1. Dating confidence is appealing.
Confidence is a highly attractive quality (Murphy et al., 2016). Self-confidence — indeed, even overconfidence — predicts romantic desirability, limits potential romantic rivals, and seems to help people win the love of romantic partners (Murphy et al., 2016). Research suggests that walking into a first date with confidence sets the stage for successful romantic initiation.
2. Display your confidence; don't hide it.
To reap the benefits of dating confidence is not to simply feel, internally, a sense of assurance and comfort in your own skin; importantly, to be dating confident is to display that confidence. People use impressions of self-esteem, a quality much like self-confidence, as information about personality and social value (Cameron et al., 2016). Creating an impression of confidence, therefore, may have important implications for global judgments about who you are made by your dating partner.
3. Be OK with failure.
To be dating confident is to believe in one's own worth as a partner, a view that can help remove a sense of desperation or neediness from the dating experience. In other words, you might think, This would be great if it worked out, but it's no big deal if it doesn't. Adopting this mentality might remove pressure that could get in the way of easy interactions. It might also foster selectivity and high standards for choosing a partner. This would be a good thing: Research shows that people with indiscriminate romantic interest tend not to elicit strong reciprocal interest (Eastwick et al., 2007). Much better to be selective.
4. Be present, not distracted by your presentation.
Are you in the moment when you're on a date, or are you dividing your attention, giving some to crafting a perfect self-presentation?
By giving up the challenge of a perfect presentation — an impossible feat anyway — people with dating confidence free up their mental attention to fully engage in the conversations and interactions they're having with their partner. This mindfulness is highly attractive in initial romantic encounters (Pepping & Halford, 2015), another reason why fostering dating confidence could lead to more successful and enjoyable dating.
Cameron, J. J., Stinson, D. A., Hoplock, L., Hole, C., & Schellenberg, J. (2016). The robust self-esteem proxy: Impressions of self-esteem inform judgments of personality and social value. Self and Identity, 15, 561-578.
Murphy, S. C., von Hippel, W., Dubbs, S. L., Angilletta Jr, M. J., Wilson, R. S., Trivers, R., & Barlow, F. K. (2015). The role of overconfidence in romantic desirability and competition. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 1036-1052.
Eastwick, P. W., Finkel, E. J., Mochon, D., & Ariely, D. (2007). Selective versus unselective romantic desire: Not all reciprocity is created equal. Psychological Science, 18, 317-319.
Janz, P., Pepping, C. A., & Halford, W. K. (2015). Individual differences in dispositional mindfulness and initial romantic attraction: A speed dating experiment. Personality and Individual Differences, 82, 14-19.