How to be less concerned with other people’s opinions
When dating being overly concerned with other people’s opinions can become quite debilitating and stop us from relaxing and being ourselves. It is important to learn strategies to help you overcome this self defeating behaviour if you want to be able to relax enough to meet someone you really connect with.
Self consciousness is often at the root of concern about other people’s opinions. When you are self-conscious you are excessively aware of your behaviours, thoughts and feelings and, as is often seen in teenagers, it can make you feel very ill at ease in social situations. When you are feeling self conscious you are paying too much attention to your thoughts, how you look and how you are feeling. It may seem as though you are overly concerned with what other people think of you but actually they are simply a reflection for you to look closer at yourself – ‘Do they like me? Do they think I’m stupid because I said that? Are they bored of my conversation?’ these are the usual types of questions that come up when we are overly concerned with someone else’s opinion of us.
The antidote is to practice turning your attention from your own self and onto the person you are with. Listen attentively to what they are saying but more than that take time to notice everything you can about them from whether they seem tense or relaxed, their skin tone, to the colour of their eyes. Imagine you were going to have to describe them from memory – try to take in every little detail and commit it to memory. This should exercise your brain enough that there is little room for negative self talk and worry about yourself. Showing interest in other people is the hallmark of people who make friends very easily – we all want to be noticed.
What will ‘they’ think?
Sometimes people feel extremely inhibited because rather than going on dates and assessing their date’s suitability on their own list of criteria, they are carrying a whole bunch of other people and their opinions with them too. Who are ‘they’? Most often it is parents, family friends and social groups and the question of whether they would approve of or accept this person can cause many people to become so unsure that they never settle for anyone.
Although we all do it to a certain extent when dating because we want to fit in with our family and friends it is really important that, as much as you can, you set aside other people’s possible reactions and begin to trust in your own ability to choose someone who is right for you. The reality is that most people who care for you will want you to be happy and will most likely accept who you choose if you seem happy and confident with your choice.
Doing your date’s thinking
Another common problem people have on dates is spending the whole time trying to work out what their date is thinking trying to read every little sign and work out whether they are having a good time or not. This mental obsession with what is going on in someone else’s head can make the date uncomfortable for both parties because you will be too keen to make a good impression and busy analysing the results of every move you make to really engage naturally. While it is perfectly normal to want to know whether your date is enjoying your company it is much more important to know whether you are enjoying theirs – something you may not even have considered.
In a bid to be liked and accepted some people are very good at making themselves fit with whatever company they are in, often pretending they have interests or opinions which they don’t really have as they think they are more acceptable. This is never going to work in the long run because eventually, if you get into a serious relationship with this person, they will get to know the real you and any fabrications will be exposed.
Starting a relationship from a place of dishonesty means it will always have unstable foundations. The most important thing to remember when you are dating is to be yourself – you are the very best version of you that there is – if that isn’t good enough for the person you are with then maybe they aren’t good enough for you.
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