Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Boosting Someone's Confidence in 5 Steps

Advice for a reader.

A reader emailed me this week and asked how he could boost the confidence of his young-adult son—specifically while interacting with women (I hear ya, man!).

It's heartbreaking to see a child or even an employee suffer through life with a complete lack of confidence. I gave him five steps to help turn his son's situation around.

Do you know someone who could use a boost in their confidence? How can you adapt the five steps and apply them to your situation? How can you take on the role of "father" in this little play in order to work out the mojo muscle of someone you care about?

Let's get to it!

Step 1: Acknowledge your role.

As his father, there are things you can do and only you can do—better than anyone else on the planet. You're the only dad he'll ever have. And there are things you can't do. Work within those boundaries and you'll be fine.

Step 2: Take care of his basic needs first.

He must know that you love him. He must know you are proud of him. Maslow's hierarchy of needs shows that basic needs like this must be addressed before they can fly the nest and go after those deeper needs. Tell him both of those things until he hears them.

(Note to leaders: Check out Simon Sinek's book Leaders Eat Last for some great insight into what your employees' basic needs are and how to build a foundation of trust within your team. Pure gold.)

Step 3: Nothing boosts confidence like skills.

Teach him how to treat a lady.

Part of your role as a dad is to equip your son with life skills. If the two of you haven't read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (John Gray) or The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman) or even The Game (Neil Strauss), then get on that right away. "The Game" is about getting the relationship, the others are about keeping it. Nothing boosts confidence like skills.

One more skill to teach those unconfident folks? "Power Posing." Here's Amy Cuddy's famous TED talk.

Step 4: Teach him about how to cope with fear and failure, and how to learn from it.

Failure doesn't boost confidence, but overcoming it does. Here's a video I made that speaks about how we need to think about fear and failure.

When doing this step, absolutely use the power of story. Tell him embarrassing stories about women who have rejected you. Tell him how you dealt with it.

Never been rejected? Tell him about something you're good at now, but started out by being bad at. Tell him about the importance of overcoming your setbacks and pushing forward.

And when he falls down, avoid the impulse to instruct. Just be his biggest cheerleader.

Step 5: Be available.

Sometimes the best thing you can be is available. Let him know that he always has an ear to bend or a shoulder to cry on. As our kids grow, our role certainly changes, but our availability shouldn't ever be a question in their mind.

What did I miss? Please comment below with any advice you have for boosting someone's confidence.