Stop Being So Damn Scared of Your Fabulous Self

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Two new clients this week shared stories about their past dating and relationships, telling of how they stayed with men who made them unhappy. These otherwise smart women tried and tried to be who the men wanted them to be, but it never worked out. Now, looking back, they are kicking themselves for staying so long. Those men were not only wrong for them; they were cads.

For them, I wanted to repeat this post from last year about how we, as women, try so hard to rearrange ourselves into someone else…just to get the guy. And how it never turns out well.


I believe this statement is generally true:

Women can twist themselves like a pretzel to please a man and persuade him to adore her.

My friend Pegi reminded me of this the other day. While she was having dinner with a new man she was interested in, he told her that he wanted to date multiple women at this time in his life. She asked me “What should I have said?”

My immediate response was “What do you want? Do you want to date a man who wants that?”

Allow me to deconstruct my thoughts about this.

  • Believe him.

    Pegi said she didn’t know whether to take him seriously. When a man tells you personal information about himself, especially about what he wants in his life; believe him. The great odds are that he’s telling you some important truth that he wants you to know. Will he change his mind some day? Maybe. Should you wait for that? Nope.
  • Even soft pretzels break.

    Pegi is looking for a relationship. She established that early on in her return to dating after many years. Why would she even consider this? To go on one more date with this man is a bend I don’t think she should make. This is significant stuff! It’s not agreeing to watch football next Sunday or go to a sushi restaurant even though the smell makes you want to puke. Accommodating this, even for one more date, is contrary to who she is. First, she wants something very different. Second, she wouldn’t be able to trust or respect this 60 year old man that wants this. Third, and most important, she ultimately won’t trust or respect herself if she makes this bend.
  • Remember: You’re the star in your story.

    That Pegi’s first response was “what should I have said?” tells me she was considering him first. It was a mix of “what should I do to keep him interested?” and “what should I say to not appear mean?” She really didn’t care if he was interested; that was her ego reacting. When she thought about it from the perspective of what she wanted, it was easy: she knew he wasn’t someone she wanted to date. It’s interesting and distressing that her kneejerk reaction was to figure out what would please him. We do that. We need to stop doing that.Once you’re clear on what you want and who you are, be that person. Period. Always. Show up as yourself and keep that fabulous woman present. Thinking of you first may require practice. It’s not about what he wants or how he will react. It’s only about your truth.That truth should always be your first concern.

Now…your turn with this. Think about the last time a man told you something about himself that you didn’t like. What was the immediate conversation in your head? (C’mon…it’s a known fact we all do over think this stuff.) Was it Do I like this about him? or Is this what I want? Or was it about him, what he wants, or whether your willingness to accept this would make him like you more?

There are three fantastic payoffs of staying grounded in who you are and confidently being that person on every date.

  • One of the top ranked attributes men like about women is “authenticity.” Most men can spot your twists and turns ladies. When you are just being yourself, that’s a turn-on. It signals confidence, which is very attractive to mature and confident men.
  • When you’re being yourself, you will attract the man who is going to be a good partner for you. When he meets you he’ll know it and have the “Hey! She wants me and I can make her happy!” response. Off you go with a hope of a great relationship.
  • Playing a character is exhausting. You’ll be so tired and chances are it won’t go well even though you’ve worked so hard.

On your next date, commit to practicing this. Just stay aware, and be your real, true self. I promise that on your way home you will feel 100% better than you did after your previous 10 dates.

Oh! And here’s what I think Pegi should have said: “Thank you for telling me that, Bob. That’s different than what I want in my life right now. I appreciate lunch, but we won’t be a good match.” And then she should have never looked back.

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  1. Drew says

    I’ll make it easy with a pre-written format and examples!

    Top 10 Reasons Why I Would Be Your Best Girlfriend Ever:

    10. You will see me wearing sexy lingerie more than “comfortable” undies.

    9. You won’t hear me nag and complain because I don’t sweat the small stuff.

    8. You will be proud to have me on your arm when we go out in public and your friends will probably be envious.

    7. You will never, ever compete with me.

    6. You will be nicely surprised when I kiss you passionately at unexpected times and in unexpected places.

    5. You will never see me roll my eyes at you when you say something because I will respect you.

    4. You see my smile far more often than my frown.

    3. You will find yourself thinking seriously about my observations on life and current events.

    2. You won’t be holding my purse at the shoe store. You won’t even BE at the shoe store with me.

    1. You won’t hear these awful words: “I’m not in the mood”.

    Note how those sentences are structured. The emphasis is on the guy, not the gal. This kind of list should lead the profile to show what the woman offers in the context of dating and relationships. The rest of the profile can present the “would likes” (not “must haves”) in a man.

    While a list might not seem the stuff of glorious romance, it directly connects to how a man thinks. We’re certainly prepared to sweep a fair damsel off her feet, we just need to know if she’s worth it. And again, men are logical and rational, especially after a few decades on this planet dealing with so many fair damsels.

    Here’s a follow up example once the list is out of the way:

    “Now you know what I offer, here’s what I would like in the man of my dreams and hopefully the rest of my life.”

    [Hey Bobbi, see you on July 23 in Boca Raton!]

  2. says

    Wow Drew! You rock! These are definitely male oriented, and I have to say that a few make me bristle. But overall, it’s a great point. After you get over feeling like this list makes men look like jerks, it makes sense. You can translate to things that are on most ladies’ profiles:

    I’m affectionate, easy going, attractive, confident (hence the competition crap), will respect you and I’m smart and have good ideas so I know you’ll respect me.

    I’ve worked with 2 clients this week on how to communicate and present their great qualities to men in “man-speak.” So thanks for the examples.

    One thing:
    Women generally won’t and shouldn’t put sexual related comments out there. I strongly advise against it. “Affectionate” is more appropriate. There are a lot of men out there just looking to have sex and we don’t want them to beeline to us. I know it’s important to you, but it’s not really your business until you earn the right to know this. Sorry, you’re just going to have to find out about her sexuality after you take my girls’ out on a some dates and earn her trust. Besides, if you’re really hot – she may turn into a sex goddess for you.

    Great! See you in Boca on the 23rd at the New York Comedy Club. If you are interested in any specific subject you’d like me to cover I’d like to know. Ok..enough of this chatting on my blog. :)

  3. Drew says

    “You’re the star in your story.” While this is a nice thought for women as an esteem-boosting affirmation, it could be taken way too far.

    As a man who reads so many female profiles online, I already see plenty of the “You’re the star in your story” point of view from women.

    In the literally thousands of online profiles I have read, I have only read two where the woman actually listed why she would make a good girlfriend or committed partner gave those reasons from a man’s point of view. Just two profiles actually addressed what a man wants in a committed relationship and these two women gave her reasons in a funny, thoughtful manner.

    Please communicate to your female audience that men need to know directly and unambiguously what they offer to a man. We’re rational and logical critters in the dating game.

    • says

      Ladies: read this carefully because he’s giving you great advice. And it’s direct from the dude! Here’s the thing: you are the star of your story, and you are fabulous. Now…you have to learn how to put your fabulous self out there to the guys in the right way. It’s not about appearing entitled and giving them you’re list. Rather, show them what you have to offer, and do it in a way that they connect with. Here’s what I always tell my clients when we’re working on their online profiles: If your girlfriend reads your profile and loves it, it probably sucks! Make sure you “speak man.” If you don’t know how, or need some help, check out my new telecourse Mastering the Mystery of Men After 40. This is exactly the kind of thing we’re going to be doing in Session 4: Casting the Net: Where is He and How Do I Find Him? Drew: Thanks so much for stopping by and helping us with your honest advice.

  4. John says

    I’ve read LOTS of singles ads posted by ladies. The one recurring theme: “I want honesty.” And you deserve it. So, reciprocate. Ladies, if you are being anything other than yourself, then you are being deceptive; You are not being honest. If you want honesty, then be honest first. The man deserves it from you too, you know.

    • says

      John: Thanks so much for your thoughtful and Honest comment here. It’s a good reminder that these things go both ways, and great to hear it directly from a man’s perspective. You’re right: if we don’t show up and be real, it’s like we’re lying. And, btw, there is no reason to do that because I guarantee that just by being ourselves we’ll be much more attractive. You know what Einstein said: “Men marry women hoping they won’t change…”

  5. Mary says

    At times am scared to be myself because I am afraid the guy I like won’t like me. Yah, I have to remember that if he likes me but doesn’t really know me…I guess that won’t work out in the end anyway.

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