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The dating game. Have you ever stopped to think why it’s called that? I mean a game is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? But is that how you think of dating? As fun? Or does the very idea of it leave you cold and shaking in your boots? If it does, then it really shouldn’t, and, here’s the good news, there’s lots you can do about it.


You see I feel very strongly that everybody can enjoy dating and everybody can win. But (and you knew there’d be a but), it does depend very much on how you choose to approach it. So what’s your mindset? Be honest. Do you love going out, talking to people and possibly meeting that special somebody? Or are you the sort of person who thinks ‘Help, I can’t do it’, and would rather eat their own toenails?

Now the negative thinkers are, to put it simply, their own worst enemies. Let me explain. It’s all to do with expectations. If you tell yourself that you’ll never meet that special person then chances are you won’t and the more you think like this the more you’ll start to believe it. And so it goes on. So, what we have to do is to reverse this thinking process because the key to successful dating is very simply: self-confidence. It really is the foundation stone. If you believe in yourself then other people will too.

To help you think positively about yourself try this quick exercise. Grab a pen and paper and jot down a list of your top ten achievements. Now, beside each one write down how it made you feel about yourself. Your list may look a bit like this.

1. Got a new job – Successful
2. Was complimented on my dress sense – Attractive
3. Learned how to ski – Determined
4. Threw a dinner party – Competent

When you’ve completed your list read through it carefully. How did it make you feel to remind yourself of your successes? Hopefully it brought a smile to your face and put a spring in your step. You can do this exercise on a regular basis as a constant reminder of how cool you are. You’ll very quickly realise that you’re always achieving. I would recommend putting your ‘feel-good’ list in a prominent place in your house as a constant reminder of your accomplishments. This is a great way to give your self-esteem and confidence a boost.

Another great tip is to dust down your photo albums and pick out a few pictures that remind you of when you felt great. They could be holiday snaps, party pictures with friends, family gatherings in fact anything that makes you feel good. Put them in frames and look at them regularly, particularly at times when your confidence needs a bit of a boost.

Now my personal favourite is to listen to music that lifts my spirits, nothing that drags the soul down so careful what you choose. When you need a confidence lift, blast your music out loud, (but not so loud that you can’t hear the neighbours banging on the wall!) I guarantee that you’ll soon be singing and dancing around your bedroom ready to take on the world.

The main enemy of confidence to my mind is the dreaded ‘s’ word - shyness. But fear not because help is at hand in the battle to overcome this foe. First off, research tells us that up to 75% of adults admit to feeling shy in either business or social situations so it’s not uncommon. Personally I think that a degree of reticence can actually be very attractive. By putting a positive spin on it, and thinking of it as an ally, you can begin think of yourself in a very different way. Instead of a shrinking violet who escapes to the nearest and darkest corner you are instead a person of mystery to be discovered. And what can be sexier than that?

If however you feel that your shyness actually adversely affects your ability to meet and talk to people then here are my quick fix tips to help you overcome shyness and be a success in the dating game.

First off, a lot of people who are shy tend to publicise the fact. ‘Hello, nice to meet you, I’m really shy’. Why on earth would you want to do this? It really doesn’t help you to sell yourself. And it doesn’t always stop there. What then tends to happen is that your mates begin to introduce you to other people as ‘My shy friend.’ Well you can’t really blame them because they think they’re helping you out. What sort of introduction is this to a potential date? So don’t tell yourself that you’re shy and certainly don’t tell other people. Just remember the old adage: fake it until you make it.

So, keep reminding yourself of what you’re good at. Have a copy of your ‘feel-good’ list close at hand if you need a reminder.

Spend as much time as possible with what I call ‘sunshine people.’ Think of a friend who makes you laugh, who makes you feel at ease, who pays you compliments. This is a ‘sunshine person.’ Spending time in their company will make you feel good about yourself. They can bring out the best in you and are great role models. Watch them operate in the dating game. You can pick up a lot of skills and techniques.

Equally, a great way to overcome shyness is for you to teach people new skills, be they family, friends or complete strangers. I once worked with a young guy who hardly dared say a word in company. He told me in a quiet moment that he enjoyed painting. I asked to see his work and I was blown away. He was brilliant! I suggested he started an art class in his spare time. It’d bring in a little cash, get him out there meeting people and make him the expert. His first reaction to my suggestion was to bolt for the door but with a little persuasion he agreed to give it a go. Not only did he begin to see himself in a totally different light but other people did too. Result? Goodbye shyness. And the positive knock on effect in the dating game was fantastic. Just ask his new partner!

If this seems too big a step then why not join a class? Photography, salsa dancing, keep fit; in fact anything that interests you and that will add spice to your life and widen your social network.

Building your confidence and overcoming shyness really needn’t hold you back from being a dating success. Start making changes today and pat yourself on the back for every achievement, however small. Good luck!

Another great tip is to dust down your photo albums and pick out a few pictures that remind you of when you felt great. They could be holiday snaps, party pictures with friends, family gatherings in fact anything that makes you feel good. Put them in frames and look at them regularly, particularly at times when your confidence needs a bit of a boost.