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How To Muster Your Confidence And Tell Someone You Like Them

How To Muster Your Confidence And Tell Someone You Like Them

My romantic history reads like Cliff Notes from all of Shakespeare’s tragedies. And most of his comedies. Not entirely successful then, with a smattering of jealousy, and rejection by the ladle full.

But hey, at least I give it a go, right?

Taking that first step and telling someone that you want to be more than “just friends” is about as scary as it gets, and those heart-thumping moments before you open yourself up can be enough to make you turn on your heels and flee.

Turning and fleeing aren’t conducive to a good relationship though (I’ve learned that), so here’s how to tell someone you like them in 12 simple steps.

1. Wait for the right opportunity

Asking someone out through the bathroom door or telling someone you like them during a business meeting aren’t the best way to go. To have this work, it’s best if you’re both relaxed and have a little privacy, and it’s a great idea if you’re both engaged in some kind of activity, whether it’s sipping a coffee, taking a walk, or seeing a show.

Think about when and where you’ll each be feeling good, then get to it.

2. Don’t wait for the right opportunity forever

There’s no such thing as the “perfect time,” and people miss all kinds of opportunities and moments because they’re waiting around for a time that’s just a “little more right.”

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Finding an imperfect moment to ask someone out is always better than waiting for a moment that never comes.

3. Take the drama out of it

Your heart thumps, your palms sweat, your stomach flutters, and adrenalin hits. It feels like a big deal, and all of the drama surrounding the moment you tell someone how you feel only adds more weight and pressure. Weight and pressure that you don’t need.

So lighten up a little and reassure yourself. The sun will rise again tomorrow. You’re not going to die. Whatever happens, this will be okay.

4. Don’t project forwards

Stories have been part of human culture for as long as we’ve been around, and you’re hardwired to spin them. They help you make sense of the world and everything in it, and it’s through the stories you weave that you figure out what things mean to you and how you react to them.

You might fall in love, get married, and grow old together. You might end up divorced and hating each other. What if you fall for them and they end up stamping all over your heart? What if you let them down?

None of these stories matter. They’re all fiction. What does matter is your next choice.

5. Take a look at your motivation

What’s the reason you want to tell them you like them? Is it because you get all lit up and fuzzy when you’re around them? Is it because you like who you are when you’re with them? Or is it because they give you validation that’s as moreish as chocolate brownies made of kisses?

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Don’t tell them you like them because of what they can give you. Do it because you want to share more with them, because you love who they are, and because you’re curious about what you could be to each other.

6. Accept that it will be uncomfortable

There’s no way to tell someone you like them without a little discomfort. The very essence of this means that you’re putting something on the line and taking a risk—and inherent in risk-taking is going out of your comfort zone.

So don’t beat on, or get hung up on feeling awkward or uncomfortable—it’s simply part of the process. Vulnerability requires discomfort, and that’s just as it needs to be.

7. Feeling nervous doesn’t mean you’re not confident

When those nerves kick in, it’s easy to believe that you’re not up to the task or can’t do it. The experience of feeling nervous takes over, and you forget all about the natural confidence you have in your bones.

But nerves don’t preclude confidence any more than wearing a size 42 shoe precludes you from going barefoot.

Those nerves mean you’re doing something new and something that matters, and trusting yourself to make a choice within that experience is confidence.

8. Share something that matters

A relationship is nourished through sharing. Sounds glib and overly simplistic, but it’s true. Perhaps especially so at the start.

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You can share something of yourself—a story, a hope or a passion. You can share something with them because it made you think of them—a book you think they’ll love, a place you think they’ll enjoy, or a song that brought them to mind. Or you can share a moment in time—a great view, laughing ’til you cry, or a moment of pure indulgence.

Sharing something that matters makes opening up feel natural.

9. How would the “confident you” do this?

In the moment you feel your confidence vanish, pause for a moment and ask yourself how that version of you who’s flowing, buzzing, at the top of their game, and firing on all cylinders would do this.

When you’re at your best there’s a sense of ease and flow that makes things so much more simple. You don’t question whether you can or can’t, you just do. You don’t question whether you should or shouldn’t, you just engage. You don’t question whether you’re good enough or worthy enough, you accept that you’re plenty.

That version of you at your best—the you who’s naturally confident—is always there. You just have to remind yourself from time to time.

10. Say, “Hey,” to the elephant in the room

Rejection. There, I said it! As much as you might not like to entertain the idea, and as horrible as the anticipation of it feels, it’s a real possibility.

The fact that someone might turn you down, say no to that date, or reject your advances is enough to stop many of us in our tracks. But you should always remember that their choices are theirs to make, and should they turn you down it’s not a judgment about your worth, it’s only about their tastes, their circumstances, and their story.

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Rejection is not the enemy. Not taking the risk to be rejected is what you should be scared of.

11. Don’t worry about the words

Ever wanted to say the perfect thing at the perfect time? Yeah, me too.

But just as there’s no perfect time, there’s no such thing as the perfect thing to say. You don’t need a Hollywood “You complete me,” “You make me want to be a better man,” or “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” All you need is to trust the words that reach your lips—stutters, stumbles, stammers, and all.

12. Keep it simple

It’s tempting to engineer a place, time, or specific set of circumstances that will make telling someone you like them easy and natural, when in reality all of those thoughts and expectations just make things more difficult and complex.

So keep it simple. Don’t overengineer it. Don’t create a huge chain of dependencies that have to be true in order for you to say what you want to say. Don’t turn this into struggle with yourself.

A simple, “Hey, want to grab a coffee with me tomorrow?” might be all that’s needed, so be sure to choose ease and simplicity over struggle and complexity.

At the end of the day, there’s probably just one thing to ask yourself: Do you want to be the kind of person who turns away from possibility, or the kind of person who gave it a shot just because something amazing might happen?

More by this author

Steve Errey

Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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