How To Date With Confidence

Women's Dating

How to Date With Confidence in 7 Steps

Rachel Dack

Written by: Rachel Dack

Rachel Dack

Rachel Dack is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and relationship coach specializing in individual and couples psychotherapy. Rachel's areas of expertise include relationships, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and self-esteem.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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If you aren’t dating with confidence, your dating life may feel out of control. You may find rejection very painful and difficult to manage.  You may doubt yourself and struggle to trust others. In turn, you may date with your guard up, not allowing others to get close to you, and resist opportunities to connect and be vulnerable. 

There is no such thing as a perfect dating life. Once you make the decision to put yourself out there, you will be faced with a variety of potentially awkward, disappointing, or uncomfortable situations. However, if you can approach dating from a confident and secure place, you will fare well.

Here are 7 steps to help you date with confidence:

1. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

Have you ever heard Theodore Roosevelt’s quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” or something similar? This statement definitely applies to being single and comparing  your love life with those of others.

While you may be upset or insecure about your status, you are going to feel worse if you compare yourself with other people. Comparing yourself with others in relationships or marriages will likely leave you feeling behind, sad or inadequate. It will also interfere with seeing the perks of being single and the joy you feel in some areas of your life, such as your career. 

Photo of a superwoman
Confident individuals know that they don’t compare to anyone else.

To date with confidence, allow yourself to set dating goals and keep yourself focused on your own path forward. Let go of comparison and putting yourself down based on what others have or what you see on social media. Staying aligned with your own goals (and resisting focusing on others) will help you date with confidence.

2. Get Clear on What You Want (and Don’t Want)

Knowing what you are looking for in a partner and in a relationship will help you date confidently and avoid choosing the wrong partners. Know your potential dealbreakers and take time to reflect on what’s most important to you. 

Once you know what’s important to you, use conversations and dates to determine how well your potential match fits into your life. Ask thoughtful questions, have healthy standards, don’t ignore red flags, and let go of self-defeating thoughts that may convince you to settle. 

3. Say “Yes” to Dates (aka Get Offline!)

I am a huge fan of online dating. Many of my clients have met their partners/spouses online. How did they do this? They gained the confidence to say “yes” and take things offline. Online dating websites and apps are great, but they are purely there for the introduction phase. After that, if you want your relationship to blossom, you have to connect offline. 

If you aren’t dating with confidence, you may find yourself engaging in the online messaging process, but resisting meeting potential matches face to face. You may be avoiding being vulnerable and protecting yourself from the anxiety that sometimes accompanies dating. Instead of running from what you want out of fear, simply say “yes” when you are interested.

4. Assess How You Feel 

Avoid primarily focusing on whether your date likes you, and consider how you feel about your date. One of the most valuable pieces of information you have after a date is how you feel about him or her. This involves asking yourself questions like “do I like my date?” or “what do I like about my date?”

And you should certainly ask yourself “do we have a developing emotional connection?” to make sure you’re on the right track.

If you are dating from an insecure place, these questions and others will be drowned out by doubts over whether your date likes you. It’s natural to want the date to go well and to want to be liked.  However, if the majority of your attention is spent obsessing about your date’s impression of you, you are depriving yourself of doing the choosing too. You can take charge of your dating life by checking in with yourself about how YOU feel during and after a date. 

5. Handle Rejection Like a Pro 

It’s not a good feeling to be turned down or hear that someone isn’t interested in you. Rejection is crappy, but unfortunately, it is an inevitable part of the dating process. You are not supposed to hit it off with everyone you meet, and you have limited control. In the midst of rejection, you may feel like a failure, you may lose hope, and you may feel like giving up.  

But try to balance allowing yourself to feel sad about the rejection with moving through your feelings and not dwelling on the rejection. Try to learn from it without letting it define you. Stay focused on your goals and continue to harness self-confidence, which will help rejection sting less and less. 

6. Know When to Say “No”

Being a confident dater involves knowing when and how to say “no.” Whether you identified a red flag on a date and don’t want to go out again or you are not ready to move to the next level sexually, speaking up and setting boundaries are essential to your well-being. 

Photo of a woman smiling
Establish healthy boundaries when dating someone new.

To say “no” from a confident place (and to avoid saying “yes” simply out of guilt or fear of confrontation), remind yourself that you deserve to be treated well and with respect. This may mean being direct in saying, “Thank you for the date. It was nice to meet you, but I don’t think we are a good match so I am going to pass on a second date. I wish you the best.” when you need to decline another date. 

7. View Yourself in a Positive Light & Live a Full Life 

Even if dating isn’t going exactly as you’d like, it’s important to have an empowered mindset and a healthy relationship with yourself, above all. 

A healthy mindset includes recognizing your progress toward dating goals, having realistic expectations, and acknowledging your strengths. For example, if you’ve never been in a long-term relationship, but you recently went on five consecutive dates with the same person, recognize this as a huge win and a sign of growth. 

Don’t let wanting to find a partner overtake your entire life. Instead create a full, happy, fun-filled life regardless of your relationship status. Fill your calendar with meaningful plans and time for hobbies, social time, exercise, and self-care.  Make dating a priority along with other things and relationships that are important to you. 

Adjust Your Mindset & Date With Confidence

You will be well on your way to dating from a more empowered place by dropping comparisons, going after what you want, learning when to say “yes” and when to say “no,” and handling rejection better.

Remember that everyone faces challenges when it comes to dating, but if you can move through these experiences with more confidence, you can stay grounded and on track with your dating goals. 

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