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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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