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Chivalry Might Be Dead, But the College Scene Proves that Online Dating is a Great, Controlled Opportunity

Chivalry Might Be Dead, But the College Scene Proves that Online Dating is a Great, Controlled Opportunity

College is exciting! It’s a new experience, filled with opportunities to meet new people and experience new things. I grew up in a small, Midwestern town. My friends were the kids on my block that I grew up with. My world was small, and I was excited about experiencing everything involved in the college promise.

Creating new friends was an exciting thought, but what would my love life be like? I had only dated two girls in high school, but I felt confident that I had worked through the awkwardness of navigating a relationship for the first couple times. College was my opportunity to experiment and discover; I wasn’t about to let that opportunity slip by.

The Hook Up Culture – Dating Has Become a Glorious Numbers Game

I was shocked to find that the party scene at school was totally different from the movies. Yeah, there was drinking, but people weren’t really “hooking up” with people they first came into contact with at the party. Everyone, for the most part, had already met virtually beforehand. I had always looked down on apps like Tinder and OKCupid as places for desperate people to find their “soulmate” or a no-string fling.

I’m not a techy person, but it became clear that I’d need to embrace the world of online dating and hooking up if I wanted to operate at the same level as my new friends. One of my first college friends / wingmen, we’ll call him Brad, had profiles on three different dating sites. He would go to a party and have two or three potential hookups lined up in advance. That meant he had done his homework before heading out; he knew the online profiles of these students like the back of his hand, and he had hedged his bets.

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Dating apps allowed me to “meet” and virtually screen hundreds of potential dates. Locking eyes and falling in love from across the room wasn’t necessary; true love, or an attempt at it, was just one more swipe away.

Recalibrating the Idea of Romance in an App-Based Environment

Forgive me, but I’m a hopeless romantic. I wanted to have that moment where I meet eyes with a striking woman across the room. Sparks would fly and I would walk over, using my best line to see if a conversation could be started in the moment. No online cheat-sheets or plans for hooking up. Totally fluid, totally natural and exciting; that, to me was my naive essence of an amazing relationship’s first moments.

In college today, it’s exceedingly rare to just meet someone in-person. We live in a virtual reality that seems to shape our physical reality, rather than the other way around. To have the best chance of leading an extraordinary real-life, you have to hone your virtual life skills.

Stepping Up My Game

At my first couple of parties, a line from Young MC’s Bust A Move kept playing on loop in my head. I walked in, saw some attractive woman and thought to myself: “…come on fatso, bust a move!” For the record, I’m pretty fit, but I was frozen with the thought that those women had already lined up a “match” before heading to the party. I didn’t want to start a conversation with someone that was there to meet someone else.

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So, before attending my third Saturday night frat party, I decided to get serious about virtual pre-dating. I needed a killer profile and a strategy for matching and flirting online with women I would meet the following weekend. Beyond chatting with Brad to get some initial pointers, I did what every good millennial does when they have a question; I googled it!

One of the best articles I read on the subject pointed out that if you’re going to be successful in finding a real match online, you have to understand the “purpose” of your profile, along with the “purpose” of your potential match’s profile.

Swiping right and getting a “MATCH!” notification is exciting. But, I didn’t want to waste my time on a casual hook-up. Remember? I’m the hopeless romantic. I wanted something real, serious and full of potential. I became an expert at analyzing the online profiles of my matches.

Here are the three things I looked for:

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  1. Is their profile serious, with real information about what makes them unique and interesting?
  2. Are their photos genuine looking? Are there any photos that aren’t at a weird angle, or in a group setting?
  3. Could they hold a real conversation when we chatted, while still keeping it fun and casual at first?

Your criteria will probably be different, but I was looking for a woman that was in-shape, able to hold a conversation and had a good sense of humor. Angeline Jolie would have worked out too! But, in all seriousness, you have to understand what it is you’re looking for.

And, if you’re worried about having something to say, you’ll want to learn how to play an instrument. As the founder of Trusty Guitar, is fond of saying, “Learning to play the guitar might only take a few months, but the romantic perks last a lifetime.” I learned very quickly that if you can teach a girl an instrument, you’ll capture her attention in a meaningful way. But, you’ll want to lay the groundwork first.

Chivalry has a new, 21st century definition. The world where people meet in real-life for the first time and develop an organic, meaningful relationship is becoming more and more rare. I’m sure there will be courses like “Dating Before the Internet 101” available for elective credits before too long. But, there’s no better place to witness the transformation in real-time than on a college campus.

More than a quarter of the US population under the age of 25 claims that online dating is an integral part of their dating life. That’s a massive jump from previous years, and if you’re not meeting people online, you’re going to have a hard time “gelling” at parties and other social events, because you’ve already missed half of the conversation before you’ve even stepped foot in the door.

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Of course it’s still possible to meet a great match in real life and if this happens to you, good for you. You’re one of the lucky ones! But if you find meeting people in real life hard, then your should embrace the opportunity that online dating provides. Expand your horizons and embrace new ideas and technology. I would not have met my wife if it weren’t for online dating. Are you letting opportunities pass you by?

Featured photo credit: Nathan Walker via hd.unsplash.com

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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