I’ve been told that I’m scary. That’s what my new client, Liz, told me today. She says that several men have said that she’s intimidating and “too much for them.”
I heard many versions of that when I was single and dating. My response was: that’s who I am and if he can’t take it, I don’t want him! (I probably added a couple expletives, but I’ll spare you.)
After I finally got sick enough of being alone and having one dating failure after the other, I took a good look at myself. What I saw was that my approach to men was somewhat cold, defensive, and bordering on aggressive.
I came right at these poor guys with all I had: big personality, sarcastic wit, strong opinions and personal power. Boom! That was me, and I was freaking proud of it.
In truth, that was my test, and very few men passed. (Nor, did they want to). It was also my armor. That realization – once I was ready to “own” it – changed my life.
I’ve written an eBook and numerous articles about what was behind this. I now know that I was the giant wall standing in my own way. Over the many years I was dating men (or wishing I was), I sabotaged any chance of connecting with them. I see these same giant barriers in most women I coach.
I find this especially true of women who are dating over 40. We can present our power and rich life experience in a way that bombards men. We have fought so long and hard – for respect from men in the workplace, against the objectification of women by media, and in high rates of domestic and dating violence – that it’s hard for us to believe a man would value us past our looks and the sex we provide.
But they can, and they do value smart, strong women. I look around me now and I see loving, kind supportive men who admire women and see them as equal partners.
At the end of this post you will see a list of articles that dig deeper into my beliefs about why we have such trouble trusting men and softening for them. What I want to do here is what I did for Liz after she said “I don’t even know what it looks like to soften for men.”
What follows is the picture I painted for her of her first 10 minutes with a man; bringing out the beautiful, feminine woman that she is.
You have thrown on your summer dress and cute sandals, paid some attention to your hair and nails, and you:
- Approach smiling, standing straight, and looking right at him. (That screams: you are joyful, confident, and interested.)
- Start the conversation with a comment that is light and positive, and reveals something nice about you. (I had a great time taking my dog to the park today. Did you have a good day?)
- Keep eye contact, keep the conversation interesting but light, and continue to reveal your qualities (that he would like) and showing your interest in him. (No life stories needed girlfriend. This is just about getting to a real date.)
- Laugh if he’s funny, compliment him if you see something or he says something you like. Help him feel good about himself; whether you want to date him or not. (Good dating karma, baby. And you’ll like yourself better for being kind.)
- Twirl your hair, put your chin down with eyes up, touch his arm. (If you’re interested, that is. And, yes, this actually does attract men; has for centuries.)
- Let him pay, open your door, and walk you to your car. (Even if your car is 10 steps away.)
- Thank him, look him in the eye, smile and tell him how much you enjoyed yourself and you look forward to seeing him again.
I know…these are basics. It’s easy stuff, right? But honestly…are you doing this? Are you dressing like the pretty woman you are, letting light conversation flow and just enjoying the moment and feeling each other’s energy? Or are you trying to control the conversation, interrogate him and impress him (or test him) with your independence and brilliance?
If you do what I suggest, you’ll have time to show how smart and talented you are; because there’s a good chance he’ll ask you out on a date.
It’s simple: masculine is attracted to feminine. That’s just how it is. So chill, knock off the scary overly controlling stuff and have some fun being a girl. As a result, I guarantee you’ll get more dates and have more fun dating.
Here are more articles about how smart, powerful women get in their own way when dating and looking for love. (I can say this. I was one of you.)