Good looks don’t have anything to do with confidence. Good looking guys need less confidence. If you’re accustomed to positive reactions because of your superficial qualities, you don’t have to be half as confident as someone ugly.
Confidence is about putting yourself in situations where you’re vulnerable and being comfortable with that. It’s not about avoiding vulnerability, or having advantages that make you less vulnerable.
What scares you?
Figure out what it is about dating that scares the shit out of you and create a plan to face those fears. For figuring out what you fear – don’t jump to conclusions.
A lot of guys are afraid of rejection, but why are they afraid of rejection? Is it because of the social consequences? Is it because they think being rejected by women means they are worthless as men? Is it because they think this rejection will mean they’ll be perpetually lonely?
Figure out what thoughts are at the route of your anxiety and ask yourself how valid they are.
Personally, I’ve never been afraid of rejection – I was afraid that my expression of sexual interest would make women feel violated, and that would prove what a worthless, stupid, awful human being I was. That was the fear (and toxic self-image) I had to get over. Whatever your thoughts are, they’re probably full of shit too. Remind yourself that they’re full of shit every time your anxious emotions come up.
Face the fear systematically
After that, devise a plan in which you’ll expose yourself to what you fear. You can start off small. All you have to do is go to a place where there are lots of women and not leave for 30 minutes. On the next level, maybe you have to say “hi” to one woman, and then you can leave. On the next level, maybe you have to go to a dance class and dance with a female dance partner.
Make a list of fears associated with dating and rank them in terms of scariness from 1 to 10. Sort them from least to most scary, and then do one of them several times over the course of 2-3 weeks, and then go to the next activity in the weeks to follow.
How to make yourself vulnerable
You become comfortable with vulnerability by making yourself vulnerable a lot and surviving. Yes, it sucks. There’s a reason why so few people are confident. There’s a reason why so many people are lonely, desperate, and settle for anything they can get. There’s a reason why people don’t stand up for themselves during confrontations, and avoid their fears rather than get used to them.
Our limbic system is designed to keep us from doing the sort of thing I’m telling you, and it takes a strong prefrontal cortex to overcome it. That doesn’t come easy. But when you’re in the small minority of people who deals with this shit, you can bet that you’ll be one of the most attractive men you’ll ever know.
This answer is a guest post by Howie Reith and originally appeared on Quora. Howie is a singer, an entrepreneur and a writer. He has written more than 1500 answers on Dating and Relationships related questions on Quora.com and has accumulated almost 9 million views. Check out his profile here.