The 5-step process to increase your confidence in dating

Next week I will be talking about 'confidence in dating' at a seminar in London. It is not uncommon to see seminars and workshops on confidence pop up time and time again. Why is confidence so important? and what if one doesn’t have any? Does that mean you are doomed?

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You may be wondering whether it really is that necessary to do anything about ‘having’ confidence. My answer would be yes. It is very important. In fact, consider the characteristics of someone without confidence. ‘No confidence’ looks like a dithering, uncertain, undecided, opinion-less, never-sure, constantly-seek-approval, take-no-risks shrinking violet. In principle there is nothing wrong with being uncertain or needing to seek approval. Sometimes we need to be cautious, but if it is your default trait, it can be increasingly tiresome and energy-sapping for people around you, especially your date. And tiresome doesn’t get second or third dates. Tiresome stays at home, veging on the sofa flicking through 500 channels and eating junk food.

So what does confidence do then? Confidence has options, because confidence is not afraid to try things out and make active decisions in order to achieve them. People who demonstrate confidence, demonstrate their worth. They have worked out what they will and will not accept, and most importantly they don’t need your, or anyone else's, approval to move forward in life. They give to the universe. They are easy to be around and oftentimes energising to be with - hence the attractiveness.

So, if you feel you could do with more of that, let me take you through a writing process that can help you switch to ‘confidence mode’. The main essence behind confidence is a belief in yourself. A belief that you are worthy, that you have options and that you don’t need others to make up your mind about stuff. Below is a 5-step process to get you started in creating a strong self-belief. Most of having low confidence is a mind thing. If you can change your mind-set to the ‘confidence mode’, then you’ve cracked it. You are onto a winner.

Without further ado. Get your pencils sharpened, a wad of paper, glass of wine, good music and undisturbed 30 minutes, then:

1. Write a list of what you are good at doing, no matter how minor... (‘I am great at tasting the difference between Cadbury’s and Lindts’ chocolates’ to ‘I can pilot a jumbo jet’). You need to remind yourself that you can do stuff. You have skills and knowledge. You rock baby! Make the list as long as you can.

2. Now list your values, passions and interests. What 4 things are most important to you in life? Things you will not give up on or compromise. This could be your career, family, hobby, sport, having free-time, achieving a particular goal etc. Write a sentence about each on why they are important to you. What do you get out of these things?

3. And then write a bit more… this time write a letter to me. Tell me how awesome you are. Convince me of how great you are. Be as arrogant as you dare. DO IT, I want to know. (You don’t have to send it to me - it’s the exercise that is important :)).

If you feel you can’t do it because you don’t think you can do anything, go back to steps 1 and 2. EVERYBODY CAN DO SOMETHING. I have a friend who is quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down since childhood. He can block the traffic in his breath driven wheelchair and does a mean dance routine on the dance floor with it. If this man can get a degree in law and get married….

Mind-set peoples. Mind-set. You have skills and knowledge. Tell me about them. Tell me what makes you awesome. And tell me why you would not compromise your values and passions (from step 2). Why are they important to you.

4 .Next, identify where your lack of confidence mostly shows itself. Is it being ‘not sure’ and constantly undecided? Do you always worry about what other people think about you? Write down the last 3 times where you demonstrated ‘unconfident’ characteristics. Next to each point, write what it would look like had you been confident.

5. Lastly, think about what stopped you from being confident. Write these down, it can just be one thing. It’s usually a thought that you keep telling yourself, like 'I will get rejected and I don't like how that feels'. Say it out loud and then challenge your thinking ie., ‘is that really the case?’ or ‘if what is stopping you happened, would it be the end of the world?’


    • I couldn’t choose a restaurant because I was worried that my date would not like it.
    • Had I been confident I would have suggested something I liked.
    • What stopped me was the fear of not being liked.
    • (Is that really the case that if I chose a bad restaurant my date would not like me?) I don't know.
    • (Would it (really) be the end of the world if my date didn’t like me?) ... No, not really, I still have my friends/family, there are other single people out there and there is someone online I could ask out next week.

This exercise should ‘collapse’ some of the charged emotion there is involved in not being confident. If you have never tried this type of exercise before and feel like it’s failed ‘like everything else’, then perhaps you can say to yourself that you are great at tallying the moments you fail!

Then rinse and repeat (this exersice).

Et viola. You have entered into the foray of confidence building. You have just become more sexy.

Madeleine Mason Roantree

Dating Psychologist, The Vida Consultancy Ltd

Dating and relationship expert, with an MSc and BSc in psychology, pending counselling psychology doctorate, Cert. in Applied Positive Psychology, plus cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), person-centred and psychodynamic training. Madeleine offers personal coaching and counselling sessions as well as seminars and workshops. Having experience in marriage, divorce, dating and relationships, Madeleine is passionate about helping people to understand their own needs and getting successful results in their personal relationships. She was shortlisted for Dating Expert of the Year 2014 and 2015 at the UK Dating Awards, plus nominated best dating expert in the world at the 2016 iDate awards. She has worked with various publications such as TimeOut, Daily Telegraph, The Independent and continues to blog at LifeLabs. In 2016 she founded the UK Dating Fair, an annual event for singles to get dating advice and meet the best dating experts in the UK, she is open to collaboration and idea exchanges within the helping profession.