Most advice on being a confident man revolves around traditional ‘alpha values’ such as discipline, macho-ness and masculinity. However, what if I told you that true confidence revolves around comfort with failure and rejection? What if I told you it revolves around putting yourself out there and being vulnerable? If not so, then why are hundreds of men out there with highly successful careers who can barely walk up to an attractive stranger and start a conversation. Why is that so?
You can argue that attractive women lived a good part of their lives with men (and even women) deferring to them. In not uncommon to see beautiful women splashed all over advertising campaigns. In the typical man and hot girl dynamic, it’s the men that’s almost always asking questions trying to continue a conversation. Sometimes, attractive women never built the conversational skills to connect with others themselves.
One time, I went on a date with a woman. She’s pretty attractive. On text, she bored me to tears. I was wondering if she was how she’s like in real life conversationally. It turns out that her conversational skills borderline around one lined sentences of boring and blunt. Similar to her text messages.
On the date, she floated away to social media from time to time and rarely initiated conversation. Trying to relating to her as a human being was a total chore. I was disappointed. I was expecting much better. Since she’s one of those academically inclined girls coming from a good education background, I thought I’ll be able to stretch my intellectual muscles with her. However, I ended up bored out of my mind.
I made the mistake of putting her on the pedestal. I ended up wasting an entire evening. I should have cut short the date and went home.
Through the advent of social media, there has been a rise of so called ‘influencer’ culture. I can’t name you the number of acquaintances I have that buy into and worship these so called influencers. Tracking, liking and worshiping their every step and post. These influencers usually entail physically attractive women that leveraged on their looks to build a following on social media.
You aren’t going to be a self invested male this way by putting these celebrities on a pedestal. Instead of focusing on you, you are focused on them. Yes, they are attractive. However, these women won the genetic lottery. Unless they are skilled themselves, you should not be looking up to them, following their lives, much less worshipping them. This is the same for celebrity culture. Stop it with the fan worship. Start focusing on you.
In short, stop putting women, or people, on a pedestal. Understand your own worth and judge the world accordingly. In general, be neutral to everyone. However, if he or she attempts to assert power over you, then assert power over them.
If you’re like most men, you probably don’t feel worthy or ‘normal’ of touching a girl on a date, and why is that so?
It’s not difficult to draw parallels between social stigma and sexual shame. In certain cultures, sex, emotions and relationships are hardly discussed around the dinner table when growing up. If you’re an Asian, these topics aren’t openly discussed or addressed. The majority of us aren’t primed to openly discuss issues such as emotions from a young age, and it’s no most men feel awkward communicating intimately to the opposite sex.
As a man, you have to lead the interaction and not wait for the green lights with women. The majority of dating advice (arguably, some pick up artist advice) is dependent on trying one’s best not to get rejected and adjusting our behaviours according to hers. The metric of success should not be non-rejection, but whether you ‘played to win.’
The more feminine she is, the more you are going to be required to lead physically. She’s not going to initiate for you. If you’re interested, just pull the trigger and ask her out: face the impending disappointment or rejection. If you’re going to be rejected, so be it, at least you got failed with honour.
Yes, you can be sexually attracted to a woman desiring to be emotionally connected to her. You’re taught that for sex to happen, you need to feel emotionally connected with or have to have meaningful conversations. No, that’s not true. You can desire a woman for her physique. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
In reality, you are not going connect emotionally with every attractive women. However, you’re mostly going to want to have sex with most attractive women. There are women that are going to make you feel sexually attracted, but not connected or appreciated as a date. Stop apologizing and hesitating on your desires.
There are many women who aren’t looking to connect with anybody at that point of her life. She may just want to date around. However, she’s not going to say anything that makes her look like a slut because society makes it hard for them to express such notions socially. Hence, don’t decide for her whether she’s down to get sexy with you. Stop projecting your insecurities.
Looking back, I had tons of times where I was out with a girl and didn’t notice the fact that she’s actually interested in me. I thought we were just ‘hanging out’. Needless to say, I missed out on a ton of opportunities.
In my case, I was primed to be the macho sort of man: show no feelings sort of male throughout my teens. I did martial arts, football, studied accounting and all that manly activities that a ‘man’ should do. However, no matter how manly you are, every individual has his vulnerable end. To be truly confident, you need to be comfortable with vulnerability and intimacy. I can’t count the number of people I know who are confident with women that aren’t the ‘macho’ types and leaned towards the sensitive types.
In some cultures, you’re conditioned to not show any signs of negative emotions from resentment, anger and sadness. In a culture that emphasizes ‘saving face’, you’re taught to suppress emotions and personal inadequacies as a means to ‘save face’. This usually leads to repressed anger, disappointment and sadness that comes along with poor grades, relational difficulties, bankruptcy, addictions and sexual issues. Usually, they are further covered up in secrecy and shame.
This is why some men spend years not going after a woman they are interested in in the name of saving face or the fear of rejection.
This brings us to the next part. Communicating in our relationships is healthy regardless if you are in a collectivistic or individualistic cultures. Yes, Asians included.
This is why mental health is a stigma in Asian cultures. Hey, if you find in a pretty bad spot, I recommend consulting a psychologist. There’s no shame about it. Good therapy can do positive things for your emotional life. It has done wonders for mine.
If you’re constantly worried about what others think about you, then you’re never going to make that first move on a woman you desire in fears of upsetting others or people in the ‘tribe’. If you’re constantly attempting to save face in front of your girlfriend or partner, you’ll never get the support from them on the problems that you are facing in fear of being shamed. You’ll always be at the will and bent of others either in a subtle, or not so subtle way.
If you don’t know by now, I do run a dating advice blog for men. It’s shameless self plug, and here’s a starter:
You don’t have to be unconventional, however, the ability to communicate, speak up for yourself and others are going to signal confidence.
If you’re like me, you are probably brought up to follow the rules, get a practical degree and get that safe and secure nine to five corporate job. Follow the rules, make no mistakes and everything else (including your dating life) is going to magically take care of itself. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that.
In certain cultures, there is heavy emphasis on academic results over social skills, you get years of training attempting to solve math equations as opposed to developing communication skills, something that’ll determine real-world success in life a lot more than your academic grades. You’re conditioned to base your relationship success on performance such as academic grades, your job status and other objectified metrics in your life. Unfortunately, functional and healthy relationships don’t work that way. They are borne out of boundaries and values such as mutual respect and empathy. Stuff that school or your parents never talked to you about.
It’s no wonder that foreign ex-pats in my own country find themselves having an easier time with certain demographics of Singaporean women.
Instead of competing like a child that never grows up over who has the bigger, better and faster, you can explore alternative lifestyles? If you gave up your entire life just to sit in a nine to five just to get that swanky car to prove something to yourself (or your parents), it’s time to start exploring projects that genuinely interest you. There’s no need to be bragging about sexual, financial or social conquests. Keep an internal score card.
In some cultures, immense focus on economic production in a technologize and industrialized economy led to a generation of Mum taking care of sons in their adolescence. So instead of having fathers growing, playing beside sons, sons only see them after school (long hours spent at the factory) and you go to bed and the routine repeats itself. I like to point out that this isn’t just an issue faced by Asian cultures, but Western cultures too alike.
The end result? One entire generation of man without real role models.
So how do you step out of the norm and get role models?
There’s some reassuring to get your personal finance, fundamental health and psychology down as basics. I recommend starting from these three pillars. You’ll naturally feel a lot more confident once you have them down.
Secondly, there are also no lack of teachers (and role models) in the world. You can invest in yourself through self-education: upgrading your skillsets. There are multiple biographies that you can read and learn from. I recommend starting with Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, then, Seeking wisdom, from Darwin to Munger.
In the age of the internet, there’s no lack of information. You can almost learn any skillset for free in the world. If you haven’t got he money, then buy books. Test out ideas in real life. Run trials. Take some risks, start a business even.
They are all forms of self-leadership. These pursuits demonstrate that you aren’t a blind rules follower and am willing to break it out on your own. Hence, you’ll be perceived as natural leader. Leadership and independent choices are the traits of a confident man.
To conclude, some of us didn’t have a choice and were a product of our circumstances when growing up. However, the responsibility to take control of your life is in your hands. The fulfillment of being responsible and making better choices in the future is a price never too steep to pay.