How to Increase Your Confidence Around Dating

With the launch of the new Noon dating website we asked dating expert Dr Mairi Macleod for her top tips for making dating enjoyable and successful.

The news that Noon now has its own dating website, might have prompted you to think about your own dating approach and style. Do you go out into the world with your head held high, knowing you’ve got what it takes to find and attract the right partner? Or do you keep the shutters down, maybe feeling a bit lost in this era of dating apps and youth-obsessed culture?

The thing is, confidence and good self-esteem really matter when it comes to dating. If you have these qualities, they’re going to be your most powerful tools in helping you find a good partner for a great relationship.

Confidence is about how much belief we have in our power to be effective and to influence others, while self-esteem is more to do with the regard we have for ourselves and the assurance that we deserve respect and consideration from others. So good self-esteem means you’re not going to put up with bullsh*t basically and confidence will help to make you super-attractive!

But as midlife women we can often be lacking in these qualities because we may have taken a few knocks over the years. As we get a bit older it can seem that the world is full of young, energetic attractive people and we might feel left behind somehow. The stuff we get fed in the media certainly doesn’t help with this.

Maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve been on the “mating market” and it all seems a bit terrifying – the online dating apps, the speed dating, the singles nights – and this can leave you feeling a bit low in confidence.

And if you’ve been through the wringer with relationships, perhaps had a relationship with someone who made you feel bad about yourself, maybe someone narcissistic or abusive, if that’s the case then there’s a good chance your confidence and self-esteem will be seriously dented.

What effect does low confidence have on dating?

If you’re low in confidence you tend to keep your head down, often literally. People won’t notice you, and even if they do, there’s a good chance they’ll think you’re not interested in them.

If you have low self-esteem you don’t see ourselves as deserving of a great relationship, or of caring behaviour at the hands of a partner. You might put up with bad behaviour because you don’t expect to be able to find someone who will treat you better. And that voice inside your head will likely be making pretty negative comments – about you and about your chances of meeting a decent partner.

These are both really common problems for women, and they mean we just get demotivated about the whole thing and think it’s never going to work. Men will pick up on our negativity and lack of trust, even if we’re trying to hide it. Definitely not an effective way of getting things started off well.

That’s the bad news, but if we can find a way to turn up the dial on confidence and self-esteem and have a positive mindset – then lots of good things happen!

Like what?

Firstly, we automatically enhance our attractiveness and draw men to us. We become so much more appealing when we have confidence. Just think about how attractive confident people are to you. It can completely transform a person from someone you wouldn’t even notice to someone really impressive.

Another thing with good self esteem and confidence is we can establish healthy boundaries and avoid putting up with bad behaviour. We know we deserve better and we won’t be afraid to push back. So this means we can get a relationship off on a good footing and keep it that way. Or, if the other person really isn’t up to scratch, we move on and look out for something better. Sticking to our boundaries increases other people’s respect for us and it enhances our own self-respect at the same time, so it’s a positive feedback loop.

And thirdly, with the advantage of positive confidence and self esteem we’ll be more likely to notice good guys. If we are thinking positively about dating and we’re looking forward to meeting nice, interesting partners – they’ll be the ones we’ll look out for, and they, in turn, will be attracted to our friendliness and openness.

Of course not all people are nice, and we have to use our objective criteria to sift out the dodgy ones – at Dating Evolved we have courses to help you do just that – but we need to approach dating with a positive mindset, so we’re assuming that there are at least some good partners out there. And there are!

How can we get find the confidence we need then?

1. Find your Truth

When you have a negative voice in your head giving you a hard time – challenge it! Are the negative things you’re telling yourself really true? Think about it. Where’s the evidence? When you’ve thought it through rationally you’re likely get a much more positive perspective on it. Get into the habit of challenging that negative voice.

As part of this, think about your good qualities. Think about the stuff you’re good at and what people like and respect you for. Write it all down.

Maybe you’re funny, maybe you’re kind and generous, maybe you’re the sort of friend people know they can trust, maybe you’re a great cook, maybe you excel at your job, maybe you’re good at organising get- togethers for your pals.

Ask your friends what they think. You’ll probably discover positive things about yourself that you hadn’t guessed. There will be good things about you that you’ve may have forgotten about or never even thought of. Once you’re thinking about your good stuff, that will help you realise that the right person would be really lucky to be with you!

As for our quirks – and we all have them, don’t we – research shows that it’s our unique qualities that makes us most appealing and impressive for OUR people.

So don’t let your inner critic voice get away with giving you grief and telling you you’re not good enough or you won’t succeed. Give it a run for its money. Because when you do take the time to think it through rationally, you know the voice is wrong!

2. Work at getting out of your comfort zone

When we’re doing stuff we know well, following a familiar routine and seeing people or doing things we know won’t challenge us – that’s when we’re in our comfort zone. It’s nice, it’s safe and, well, comfortable obviously.

But it doesn’t help us grow. Of course it’s great to have a comfort zone to fall back on when we just want to relax and take it easy, but if we don’t make an effort to get outside the zone some of the time, our world of possibility shrinks.

Many women give up on the idea of finding a partner. They tell themselves they’re quite happy where they are – being single – because doing anything about the situation feels a bit risky and uncomfortable. Outside the zone.

But with that attitude, of course nothing’s going to happen. We can’t meet a good partner that way.

Life gets a lot more interesting when you step outside your comfort zone.

If you can be brave, do things that are a little bit scary, and by doing so EXTEND your comfort zone – then it’s going to be easier to do things that will help you meet a good man. So, it’ll be worth it, but you’re going to have to push yourself. Here’s how:

Firstly, take baby steps. Whatever it is that freaks you out and scares you, take a small step towards your final goal. Take small risks and reap the rewards, feel the buzz of completing that task successfully and gradually move on to bigger and better. If we really want to achieve something that doesn’t come naturally to us, beginning with a bit of getting out of our comfort zones and building up means we can get there with practice.

So for example, if the thought of attending a singles event makes you want to put your PJs on and never leave the house again, why not start by challenging yourself to make conversation with one stranger each time you’re in a public place? Gradually it’ll become second nature to talk to people, which will make you feel good and potentially open up your network, so that when you come across someone who you might be interested in it won’t be such a big deal to strike up a conversation.

As well as concentrating on conquering a particular fear or challenge, we can also make an effort to change the ways we do things, upset the applecart a bit. This doesn’t just extend our comfort zones, it can bring up new opportunities in lots of ways – including increasing the potential opportunities to connect with good partners.

Remember Einstein’s definition of madness – carrying on doing things the same way and expecting different results? So you could change your routine. Go to work by a different route, take a different train or bus, go to a different coffee shop from the one you’re used to, try a different gym, join a class for learning a new skill. You’ll then have the potential for meeting a whole set of new people.

Or why not plan an adventure, a trip on your own somewhere new, or try out a new activity that pushes you out of your comfort zone? Again this boosts your confidence and opens up opportunities to meet new people – and that’s an essential element of finding a good partner.

Eleanor Roosevelt had it right when she said: “Do at least one thing every day that scares you”

If all this sounds more than a bit scary, think about what you stand to lose by NOT taking some action like this. What sort of life do you want to look back on in 20 or 30 years? A life lived comfortably and safely, but on your own? Or an adventurous life lived to the full with brave choices made and with a great partner by your side?

3. Embrace the power of female alliances

Men and women are different in the way they form relationships with those of their own gender. While men tend to be pretty good at forming big, loose coalitions with other men, women tend to be much better at forming very strong bonds with just a few other women.

And as long as women aren’t competing with each other, small groups of women who get to know each other well and support each other can be a force to be reckoned with. In this context women are really in their element and can do great things and overcome problems.

If you add any men into the mix – the dynamic changes completely. Women will tend to compete with one another – even unconsciously – and they’re less likely to speak up and be open. But in small women-only groups they can feel free to express their worries, they can relate to each others’ experiences, they ‘get’ each other because they often have similar issues and challenges.

So when you’re low in confidence or self esteem, or when you have that inner voice nagging away inside your head, telling you negative stuff and eroding your motivation – that’s when sharing how you’re feeling in a safe space with a group of trusted women can be a game changer. Simply expressing your doubts and fears can help you to conquer them, and you’ll often find that others have the same worries.

This is where a sisterhood like Noon really comes into its own. By talking together and supporting each other on the issues that matter – that’s where great things happen.

Similarly, this is the ethos behind my project, Dating Evolved. In our programmes designed to help midlife women find a great partner, our lovely clients come together in small groups for regular online calls together, and members get to know each other really well, supporting and keeping each other motivated and moving forwards towards the goal of a great relationship.

Often in our regular lives we don’t have a group who are going through exactly the same challenges, perhaps most of your friends are married – but in our group-calls you get to speak to women who get what you’re going through.

So in this context you can find great role models – women who have been in the situation you’re in now, and through taking action have overcome the difficult stuff and achieved success and found relationships.

The most important thing to do is to take action because things won’t change if we don’t do something different.

Decide what you need to do and then take the steps – baby ones at first if that makes it easier – to make it happen.

If one of the things you feel a bit lost on or uncertain about is the online dating front – perhaps you need some guidance on how to write your profile, on how to make the most of dating apps and how to make contact with the best potential partners, we can help with that.


Dating Evolved is partnering with Noon to bring you a Free Masterclass on “Successful Online Dating in Midlife”. It’s happening on Saturday January 14th at 6pm and you can sign up for it HERE

Visit the new Noon Dating website HERE

Find out more about Mairi, and her scientific approach to dating on her website Dating Evolved

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