The Juice & the Squeeze

Confidence Doesn’t Mean Changing Who You Are; It’s About Embracing Who You are 100%.

Real confidence is about embracing who you are 100%.

Girl smiling with flower crown

First dates are awkward. We get it, we do. You want to impress. You’ve put on your nicest garbs, picked a casual—but trendy—place to meet up, and had a pep-talk with yourself in the mirror. You’ve taken all the steps necessary to seem confident, and you’re only missing one thing: confidence. 

You might be thinking, What if I make a joke and they don’t laugh? What if I grab a drink and the ice hits my face? What if my chair makes a farting-like noise, and even though I laugh and say it’s the chair, I can tell they don’t believe me? Well, maybe not exactly the last one, but you get the idea about pre-date jitters. It’s normal, if only there were some fool-proof way to impress your date and exude confidence, despite these jitters.

It’s the 21st century—grab your phone, do some Googling, ask the internet “how to be confident,” and you might get some advice like this: Stand tall, make eye contact, don’t fidget, speak slowly and clearly, and keep your hands visible. 

In other words, act like you’re under arrest and trying to appear sober. Sexy!

Let’s be real, you’re not going to find any good “hacks” online to make yourself more confident. Confidence comes from knowing who you are, what you like, and what your values are—nobody online can tell you the things you should know about yourself. And if you don’t know these things, then you need to learn them. More importantly, you need to embrace them. 

Sure, maybe you can “fake it till you make it,” but if you’re trying to establish a genuine connection with somebody, you shouldn’t be “faking it” at all. 

Confidence isn’t having good posture or winning a staring contest; it’s being able to say, “This is me. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Gonna let the light shiiine on meeeee.” 

What can I say? Camp Rock is profound.

On a serious note, though, look at celebrities who successfully wield their “awkward charm:” Michael Cera, Tom Holland, Bo Burnham, John Mulaney, Aubrey Plaza, Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart—the list goes on because awkwardness is not the opposite of confidence. In fact, owning your discomfort and awkwardness can be an incredible display of confidence. 

Michael Cera (Superbad, June) made the line “I’m in lesbians with you” endearing. Remember that. 

It’s easy to pretend you’re someone else online. For a lot of people, it’s easier than being who they really are—but they struggle to carry that same, fake confidence into real life. Even if they don’t, at some point you have to exhale and shed the fake persona.

In person, you have to be you. Unedited, unfiltered you. It can be scary, but that’s not a bad thing.  As Ted Mosby says, “If you’re not scared, then you’re not taking a chance. If you’re not taking a chance, then what the hell are you doing anyway?” 

Love is a risk, always. Rejection hurts. If you’re going on a date, you’re taking a chance on someone else, diving headfirst into something that could end a million different ways. You need to be willing to take that same chance on yourself. 

Loving and embracing yourself for all of your quirks, flaws, and eccentricities is just as scary as asking someone else to do the same. It’s also the most important thing you can do.

Don’t change yourself to feel more confident. Be true to yourself, and confidence will follow. You will be pleasantly surprised how that takes you in your dating life.

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