8 Ways for Men to Embody Confidence in Dating
Men, in particular, are told they should be confident in dating. Pick-up artist advice touts the "fake it till you make it" approach and encourages men to date using power games, one-liners, swagger, and even honesty and vulnerability. While there is an element of effectiveness to these approaches and even an element of truth, the results tend to be more short-lived than long-lasting. Still, the confident, smooth-talking player archetype is ingrained in most men's subconscious as the pinnacle of masculine magnetism when it comes to women. Many of my clients come to my office feeling like they need to live up to this ideal and are failing in some way, or they have a sense of resentment, bitterness, and rejection of this archetype as the reason women don't flock to them.
So, where's the truth in these ideas of the smooth and confident male?
- Myth: Women want to pick up lines and bravado.
- Truth: Women do want men who act genuinely confident.
- Myth: Women want a man to take charge of everything.
- Truth: Women want a man to know who he is and when it's appropriate to take charge versus when it's appropriate to take a step back and listen or let her lead.
- Myth: Confidence is built through "faking it till you make it."
- Truth: Confidence does involve taking actions, risks, and putting yourself out there. You don't have to act as if you are an expert when you may not.
- Myth: The end goal of dating is a notch on your belt or getting a woman to want you or have sex with you at the night's end.
- Truth: Confidence is about being okay with the uncertainty of not knowing if someone likes you right away and still being able to show you like them.
So, why do women want confident men?
Women want confident men for the same reason anyone likes to be around a confident person - because they are pleasant to be around. True confidence puts people around the confident person at ease. When a man feels profoundly confident and secure, a woman can feel trusting, secure, and at ease in his presence.
How do women test men's confidence, and how should men respond?
Women may unwittingly test a man's confidence by having strong opinions, being confident and independent, being polite and offering to pay for the date, or walking home alone when they want company. In these cases, the best thing a confident man can do is keep his actions consistent with relationship values such as kindness, generosity, and protection (i.e., offer to pay, offer to walk with her), and listen if she does not accept these offers. Women also may test a man who seems like a people pleaser to see if he agrees with everything she says by asking his opinion or arguing with him. It's good in these cases for men to be respectful of their opinion but not to abandon their own.
Women also tend to evaluate how confident men are by how reactive they are to pulling away. Usually, women do not consciously test men by pulling away but may do this unintentionally. If, when a woman is busy, a man acts jealous or possessive, pulls away himself in a seeming punishment, or is in other ways highly reactive to this, rather than being consistent, women may read this as the man being inconsistent, insecure, and unable to pay attention to her and her needs.
True confidence is quiet and understated. It is consistent, patient, trusting, attuned, and anything but impulsive and showy. It's not about shining how great you are out into the world but about quietly knowing your value, when your strengths are needed to help a situation, and when it's best to keep your gifts and offerings in check so that others can shine their light. The root word "confide" indicates confidence is an ability to trust or confide in yourself. Simple, practical truths about truly confident men include:
- Confident men are okay with vulnerability and failure.
Confidence comes from taking risks, which inevitably end up in occasional failure. Confident guys are not humiliated or embarrassed to discuss their blunders since they have learned from these setbacks and adjusted their actions and habits accordingly.
Confident men are self-aware and know themselves.
Lust for learning and growth often goes hand in hand with confidence. Confident men tend to humbly work on themselves through personal development work like therapy, workshops, men's groups, coaching, etc., which develops self-awareness and self-worth.
- Confident men are intentional and have a clear vision of what they want.
Confident men tend to be thoughtful, reflective, and clear-minded about their wants. Rather than hit on as many women as possible, they choose to engage with women they honestly would like to pursue a connection with. Quality over quantity of women is essential to them, and they are able to identify they can rapidly and consistently recognize the traits they want in a woman.
- Confident men take (intentional and aligned) action.
Confident men are not still and passive. They seek out contact with women they are interested in and stay consistent with their actions and interest.
- Confident men are curious, receptive, and open to learning.
Indeed confident men are not afraid to listen and learn. They are more interested in listening and learning than they are in teaching and explaining. Rather than seeking to have their perspective heard and understood, confident men are interested in the world around them. They tend to be curious about many things, including the woman they are interested in. They tend to ask many questions about her out of genuine interest and curiosity.
- Confident men are generous.
When a man is confident, he feels he has much to share and give. He feels safe in relationships, life, and career and instinctively wants to share this with others through providing and generosity.
- Confident men don't take rejection personally.
Generally, more confident men aren't overly reactive to rejection. They are more accurately able to read when they are getting a clear no, and while it might make them sad, they accept it as part of life without making it mean that there is something wrong with them. They don't feel the need to prove to the person that they are worthy. They also don't read small actions as rejections, such as a woman not responding right away, and identify that connections take time to grow.
- Confident men are not people pleasers, or "yes" men.
Confident men know when to say no. They stick to their morals and values. Men who are confident like to say yes to women they care about but will say "no" when something matters to them. Less confident men may rationalize that not many things matter to them, which is why they say "yes" so often. More confident men clearly know their morals and values and do not abandon them to please anyone else. They are willing to stand up for what they believe in and do so kindly, politely, generously, consistently, and assertively.
Confidence is a part of who you are at your core. As such, you cannot pretend to have it in one area of your life while expecting to see a fundamental shift in how you feel. Yes, taking action and putting yourself out there will help you become more self-trusting in a particular area. Confidence is built on taking courageous risks where you might fail, such as approaching a woman you are drawn to, but also through reflecting and learning from those mistakes rather than using a machine-gun approach of trying the same formula on as many women as possible. Confidence is not about hiding flaws but being okay with all of whom you are and expressing that.
For more support in developing your confidence, Daring Dating: A Course in Confidence for Men launches on September 6 for one week as part of a Men's Dating and Lifestyle Superstack of Courses. Pre-register here. This is being offered for 1/3 of the price of the actual course in an effort to support men through this lifestyle bundle, and will only be available for one week.
Alternatively, if you're looking for personalized support in the form of a dating coach for men or personalized therapy services, please contact us to see if one of our coaches or clinicians might be a fit. If you're already investing in coaching or therapy, please feel free to join our complimentary matchmaking database here.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. How does a confident man act in a relationship?
A. You can handle any difficulties in your relationship by remaining honest, communicative, and intentional. Your partner will feel secure knowing that if you discuss a difficult topic, you won't start lashing out, acting defensive, or shutting down and silently withdrawing, leaving her alone.
Q2. What are the main challenges of online dating?
A. Online dating has made life easy to come across people you might otherwise never meet. However, online dating contributes to a sense of overwhelm, the illusion of having too many options which generally leads to inaction, and people treating each other like they are replaceable or disposable. Ghosting, maltreatment, catfishing, and other negative interactions lead to an erosion in feelings of trust. This leads to people approaching relationships defensively rather than with important relationship values, like openness, curiosity, generosity of spirit, and enthusiasm.
Q3. What are the indications of a confident man?
A. A confident man will generally strike a balance between being content with who he is and what he has to offer, and a willingness to learn, grow, and challenge his established ways of being. He is open to feedback, and not afraid to communicate both when he is interested and when he is not. Confident men don't often avoid situations out of a desire to avoid criticism or conflict, but simply address the issue using communication before moving on.