By Ellie Spencer-Failes
Talk to anyone, and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ve been on a date where they’ve felt nervous, shy, or as though they were just missing that bit of confidence to showcase their true personality. This is a perfectly natural part of the dating process, but it’s frustrating—especially if you feel like it’s happening to you over and over again.
So, where does confidence come from? And how can you channel it before and during dates to nip those nerves in the bud? “The more confident you feel in yourself, the more relaxed you’ll be,” says psychologist and dating coach Dr. Madeleine Mason Roantree. “This will reduce the other person’s anxiety and both of you are more likely to have a good time and foster a sense of connection.”
To help you spend less time worrying about what your Bumble match thinks of you, and more time enjoying the moment getting to know your new connection, we’ve turned to the experts. Read on for their advice on how to increase your confidence while dating.
What does dating with confidence look like?
At its core, dating with confidence centers on self-assurance. The more secure you are within yourself and what you’re looking for in a potential connection, the more naturally confident you’ll feel.
“Dating with confidence is about being who you are and staying in your lane,” says confidence coach Lucy Baker. “It’s making the choices that are right for you and not trying to be someone you’re not.” By focusing on yourself, you’re taking the emphasis away from the other person and their expectations of you, and putting it on your own needs, thereby increasing your self-worth. “At the root of low dating confidence is fear and insecurity, whether that’s a fear of not being good enough, or being flawed and rejected,” says Roantree. When these thoughts are challenged, and you begin to recognize the importance of your own values, that’s when your certainty in yourself can flourish.
On dates, this confidence can manifest in a number of ways, according to dating coach Erin Tillman. “It could look like greeting your date with a self-assured energy, a genuine smile, and a hug,” she says. “Or it could come through conversation: being able to strike the balance between sharing details about yourself and asking your date questions, making sure not to talk over them.”
What can I do to increase my confidence before using Bumble or going on a date?
According to Baker, the route to confidence is getting to know who you really are. She advises that you do this before you even open Bumble. “Write down—pen to paper—‘Who am I?’ at the top of a page,” says Baker. “Then freewrite any answers that come to mind: whether that’s things you love or hate, what lights you up or makes you feel emotional, or core memories.”
Understanding what makes you tick can help you take stock of what’s important to you, what makes you feel at your best, and how this can be reflected in what you’re looking for from a potential connection. Once you have this clarity, Roantree says that the best way to gain confidence while using Bumble is to take the plunge and start swiping. “The more you do it, the easier it becomes,” she says. “But first, put effort into creating a good Bumble profile, making it relevant and authentic.” Starting with a profile that reflects the real you can help put you in the best position to connect and chat to new people.
Once you’ve got a date in the calendar, scheduling some self-care beforehand is essential, says Tillman. “Anything that prioritizes your wellbeing can help you focus on your needs and put you in the best headspace for a date,” she says. “This could mean going for a massage, getting an endorphin rush from a workout class, or a pep talk from a friend.”
It really is all about mindset. Remember that a Bumble date is the start of an adventure, says Tillman—but it’s not the only chance you’ll have of meeting someone. Revisit your “Who am I?” page, listen to a playlist of tracks that hype you up, and focus on enjoying the moment of getting to know a new person, rather than a specific outcome.
What can I do to increase my confidence while on a Bumble date?
If you feel your heart rate rise or have a myriad of anxious thoughts just as you arrive at the bar, don’t fret. There are ways you can center yourself on a date to return to a place of confidence.
Firstly, remember that a date is about finding out whether this person could be right for you, not just the other way around. “Think about your values,” says Roantree. “They’re what’s important for you in your life and relationships, so come up with questions that can help you work out whether your date is aligned with them.” She adds that it’s important to shift your focus from how you’re coming across to asking yourself whether you’re having a good time.
If you’re particularly worried about feeling nervous during the date, ask a close friend to send you a compliment to boost your confidence and remind you how great you really are.
A date is your time to shine, and by understanding your own needs and what you want from a new connection on Bumble, you’re sure to realize your own self-worth and, in turn, increase your dating confidence.