“New Year, New You” is an ongoing blog series focused on on getting your mind, body and spirit ready for dating in 2013. The series will feature posts by Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and scientific advisor for Chemistry.com, Bela Gandhi, Dating Coach and President of Smart Dating Academy, and Amanda Ebner, M.A.; M.Ed.; and personal trainer for FitOrbit.com, an online personal training resource.
By Dr. Helen Fisher
People are drawn to confident, happy, energetic people—probably because when we are near a self-assured, optimistic individual, we naturally mimic their body postures and facial expressions, triggering brain systems that make us feel happy and self-confident as well. Self assured, joyous, cheerful people make us feel good about ourselves. Moreover, self-confident people are generally also more friendly, open and flirtatious—all “people-catching” traits. So if you want to be loved, you might start at home: loving yourself. To potential mates, self-confidence is gold.
This “confidence effect” was cleverly illustrated in a 2006 experiment done by two high school students, Ian Panchevre and Stephen Odanovich. They approached 125 girls in malls and on the streets in San Antonio, Texas, and tried to pick them up. But in each case, the boys assumed one of five levels of self-confidence. With some women, they acted timid. With others they acted hesitant, humble, self-assured or arrogant. Then, after five minutes of deceptive chat, they revealed aspects of their experiment and asked each girl to fill out a survey to capture their impression of the interaction. The self-assured pick-up ploy was the most popular with the women.
Oddly, chimpanzees are also enticed by self-confidence. Take Flo, for instance. Until her death, Flo was the most popular female at the Gombe Stream Reserve, in Tanzania. Scientist Jane Goodall and others long wondered why Flo was so admired by the males. She had a bulbous nose from a lingering fungus infection, a torn ear from a quarrel in her youth, and an aging gait. But the males flocked to Flo. And anthropologists finally came to see that her charm was her calm self-confidence. It was ambrosia to the boys.
So find some things about yourself that you honestly do like. Then, using these traits, create a phrase that you can repeat to yourself in the shower, in the car, or anywhere else. Something like: “I love being myself– with my great legs and exceptional sense of humor.” Whatever you chose, make sure to include the phrase “I love being myself…” Then begin repeating it to yourself. You may soon find that you feel better; that you walk with a more natural human stride, and that you act with greater poise and charm. Regardless, make sure this recitation puts a smile on your face, a lilt in your voice and a confidence in your step. Don’t be your own worst enemy. As Longfellow put it, “Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves are triumph and defeat.”
Feel the triumph. Others will flock to feel it, too.