Fear and confidence


I learnt a valuable lesson about rejection, dating and confidence when I was in my twenties. I was in a relationship with a girl I REALLY liked. As in loved. But she dumped me because I behaved like a knob and by the time I realised what had happened it was too late, she’d fled to sanctuary.

For about a year after the bust-up I was a shadow of my former sunny self. Not only was I bruised by the experience of being rejected by someone I should have tried harder to keep, I failed at every attempt to date someone else.

It was like I had “loser” etched on my forehead. Every time I tried to connect with a woman she would run a mile. Every new rejection buried me a little bit deeper. My confidence was shot to bits. I turned into a self-pitying slob, sabotaging any slim prospect I might have had of making a favourable impression with the opposite sex.

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Then I just let go of the notion that I had to be with someone. I stopped needing a relationship as a source of happiness, and rediscovered the joy that friends, hobbies and a good job can bring. As a result of being happy in my own skin, my confidence repaired itself. And that’s when I learned the lesson. Because I didn’t have the stench of desperation hanging over me, I became date-worthy again.

A woman I worked with asked me out. Girls would talk to me at parties without looking over my shoulder hoping to spot someone better. My ex even noticed the change and wanted to get back together. Rejection dents your confidence, no doubt about it, and fear of rejection can seriously ruin your chances of success when you are looking for love online.

Too many people dip their toes in dating site waters but don’t plunge in because of a few early knockbacks. It’s human nature to remove yourself from a situation which is causing pain, for sure. But that’s the secret – don’t let the rejection hurt. You can’t make someone like you, and they certainly won’t if you don’t like yourself.

To minimise rejection when you start online dating, make sure you have a recent picture showing your happy, relaxed self. Your profile, too, should reflect your happy, relaxed self. Not too wordy and with a bit of wit will do nicely.

Be realistic about your expectations. Too many people approach potential dates who are way out of their league. A 50-year-old bus driver asking a 22-year-old beauty queen studying to be a doctor is asking for rejection. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

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Once you have your pictures and profile up to scratch, there are two things to remember. First, don’t take any refusals personally. The issue will more likely be with the rejector than it is with you. They don’t know you, even if you’ve been on a date or two. Their loss. Remember, everyone gets rejected sometime. Everyone. Even the beautiful people.

Second, and this might sound trite to someone who is yearning for a special someone to enter their orbit, the trick is to view a relationship as something that will enhance your already-happy life, not provide the happiness that is missing. People are attracted to contented, confident people. That’s what you should be trying to convey on your profile and in your communications with potential dates.

In other words if you’re not happy being with you, why would you expect anyone else to be? If you can adopt the attitude that you will only start a relationship if you think it will make you happier than you already are (as long as you aren’t being unrealistically choosy!), and don’t fret when other people choose not to pursue one with you, online dating will be a happy hunting ground. It’s like lotto. When your numbers don’t come up each week you don’t despair. You just enter again the next week, and the week after that, all the while imagining the joy that a win will bring.

How do you stay positive and confident when dating? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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