Self-confidence is sexy?

You might be surprised to hear this… but I’ve found that self-confidence tends to be the most important thing a man wants in a woman.

In fact, men consistently tell me it’s one of the sexiest traits a woman can have. I continuously hear from my male clients that – when a self-confident woman walks into a room – their eyes are drawn to her and they almost always find her beautiful and appealing.

Here’s a guideline to gauge how high you score on the self-confidence scale.

A self-confident woman:

  1. Knows what she wants. She knows herself and what’s important to help her feel happy about her life.
  2. Asks for what she wants from a man in a clear way and includes enough information so the man can succeed in providing it.
  3. Has the confidence to ask a man for something and be comfortable receiving it.
  4. Thanks men when they help her.
  5. Treats herself kindly.
  6. Has friends, family, and activities that she’s passionate about.
  7. Feels comfortable in her own skin (no matter her shape, size, etc.)
  8. Knows she deserves people in her life who treat her as well as she treats herself.

Here’s what a self-confident woman doesn’t do:

  1. Talk down to a man.
  2. Fills her life so full there’s no room for a man to provide anything for her.
  3. Assume he can read her mind.
  4. Have no interests of her own (is waiting for a man to fill her life or encourage her to start doing something).
  5. Constantly need reassurance that she’s worthy.
  6. Point out things that are wrong with her (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.).

Did you know that feeling self-confident is often a learned behavior (not just a natural way to be)? It’s something everyone can learn how to do. I know this because it’s something I taught myself and continue to teach my clients.

Are there things on the list that you’d like to feel more confident about?  Let me know what you discover.

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Conversation signals: Are yours working?

Words from Christine…

I enjoy responding to magazine and radio inquiries on dating topics. It gives me an opportunity to pull my thoughts together on specific relationship questions, and even better, to research a bit and learn new things.

relationship1aMy most recent response was to an inquiry about misinterpreting conversation signals in dating and relationships. As a coach, I see this a lot! And often, it’s caused by how differently men and women communicate. Here are some thoughts for you:

  • Women generally stop talking to someone because they’re mad at them. Therefore, a woman may believe that when a man isn’t talking he must be mad.
  • Men generally talk when they have something to say. Such as sharing the news, describing an accomplishment, or asking for a solution to a problem. If none of this is happening right now, he may not feel the need to talk.
  • Women are always thinking. And a man can truly think about nothing (he can turn off his brain to let him relax and recharge). So, a woman may be thinking about 12 things at once. And when she asks a man what he’s thinking, she may not believe him when he says “nothing”.
  • One of the main reasons women talk is to feel better (and relationship2athis isn’t one of the reasons men talk). So, when a man hears the woman describing a problem, he’ll often offer a solution right away. Guess what happens then? (You may have already figured this out.) The woman can end up even more upset. At this point, what she really needs is just a listening ear (and women, it’s good to let the man know this and to also thank him for listening when you’re done).
  • A man reaps huge benefits if, when the woman is talking about a problem, he responds with, “tell me more about that”. When I give this advice to men, it usually makes their head hurt because it wouldn’t work for them. These same men almost always tell me later (in an amazed voice), “it worked, she didn’t get mad at me and she felt better!”
  • Men generally say what they mean. Women – when a man tells you something about himself, believe it! Women clients often tell me what they think he really meant, and they’re usually wrong. Conversely, women tend to speak in innuendoes and subtleties which leave men confused about what they really want. It’s important for a woman to first figure out what she wants and then say it in a way a man will understand. A male client once explained to me that the best way to talk to a man is to treat him like Twitter. No more than 140 characters at a time.

I’ll close with two more misconceptions. One is a myth I hear about a lot, which is, if a man cares enough about me he’ll just know what I want and I won’t have to tell him. The reality? He won’t “just know” unless you honestly tell him what you want. The other basic truth I’ll share is – sometimes no one gets to be right! Agree to disagree.

Your New Year’s resolution: Adjusting expectations

Words from Christine…

We’ve been talking about five ways to make New Year’s resolutions “stick”. Here they all are:

  1. Be convinced it will make your life better.
  2. Break it into very small goals, and clearly state each goal.
  3. Be accountable to yourself and at least one other person.
  4. Be your own cheerleader, and have at least one other cheerleader.
  5. Be able to adjust your expectations when necessary.

Our most recent post talked about points 3 and 4, while point 1 and point 2 were covered in earlier posts.

So now let’s focus on the last item – adjusting expectations.

When you began your New Year’s resolution journey, it was based on specific circumstances in your life.

However, you may find these circumstances changing as you move through each step of the resolution – partly because you have changed and partly because life continues to move on.

There is a wonderful saying that “you can’t step in the same spot a second time in a moving stream”.

So, treat your life as a moving stream. Reevaluate the circumstances of your life on a regular basis to see if the steps you’ve laid out and your ultimate goal still fit how you’re feeling today.

Be prepared to consider adjustments to your goals during your reevaluation process. And then, discuss these adjustments with your confidant (from point 3) to: (1) Make sure they aren’t just reactions and (2) ensure they’re still in your best interests.

Following each of these steps makes it very likely that you’ll be able to keep your resolutions. Including the one about actively dating very soon!

Your New Year’s resolution: Taking it a step at a time

Words from Christine…

We’ve been talking about five ways to make New Year’s resolutions stick:

  1. Be convinced it will make your life better.
  2. Break it into very small goals, and clearly state each goal.
  3. Be accountable to yourself and at least one other person.
  4. Be your own cheerleader, and have at least one other cheerleader.
  5. Be able to adjust your expectations when necessary.

In our previous post, we covered the first point. In this post, I’d like to talk about the second point:

*Break it into very small goals, and clearly state each goal.*

When you make small goals, it takes the overwhelm out of resolution-keeping.

For example, if your resolution was to “start actively dating”, with the hope of “meeting someone to do things with” – you could start making small goals by asking yourself a series of questions. For example:

(1) What would you like to do with this someone?

  • Go to the movies?
  • Have good conversations over dinner?
  • Play cards and board games?
  • Go walking?

(2) What qualities would you like this someone to have? For example:

  • Enjoy the same movies I do – musicals, action, happy endings.
  • They ask me questions and listen to my answers. They know about things I don’t know, and are interested in learning about the things I know.
  • Learn new games.
  • Power walking vs. strolling through parks.

(3) How can you find places to meet people who share your activities? For example:

  • Meetup.com. This is a wonderful source of activities. Just join and start marking the things you enjoy within your zip code and voila you will have a list of more things than you could ever do.
  • Google to search for activities in your area.
  • Ask friends and people at work.
  • Look through the calendar of events at your place of worship.

Armed with the answers from a list like this, you’re now equipped to pick an activity to try.

Ways for singles to beat the holiday doldrums

Words from Christine…

Are you single and…

  • Your family lives far away?
  • This isn’t your year to have the children?
  • Your ex got custody of the “friends” you shared when you were together?
  • You want to do something different this season?

Are you feeling jolly or humbug about the holidays? Being single during December can pose challenges that you don’t have to think about during other times in the year. People who are newly single may struggle as they try to figure out what to do when there isn’t a built-in place to go for the holidays.

I was single a long time between my two marriages, so I needed to keep coming up with activities to keep the holiday doldrums away. I found that being proactive not only guaranteed I’d have something to do, it also gave me something to look forward to. During these times, I found a variety of things helpful, such as:

Find other singles who don’t have holiday plans, and ask them to invite their singles friends, too. Perhaps you could have a potluck dinner and movie. How about watching White Christmas?

Organize a caroling event in your neighborhood.

Visit neighborhood lights. Your local newspaper or city hall will list those neighborhoods who pull out all the stops in holiday decorating. You can go alone or assemble a group of friends and drive (or walk) through these streets. The neighborhoods often have music playing and some even hand out cookies and candy canes – your evening can become quite festive!

Attend services at your local house of worship on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Visit the animals at your local shelter. It gives attention and love to the animals, and your heart will be filled with warmth and happiness through this connection.

Give back to the community:

  • Many charities (fire and police department, scouting organizations, churches, etc.) ask for gift donations for children. They need volunteers to sort and wrap these.
  • Soup kitchens always need volunteers. In my area, the kitchens are closed on Christmas Day, but need volunteers before and after Christmas Day.
  • Hospital visits can be heartwarming – for both the patients and yourself. I have a friend who does this on a regular basis. Once a month she puts glitter on her face, grabs her magic wand and a bag of goodies (hairbands, friendship bracelets, matchbox cars, etc.) and goes to the children’s hospital to bring cheer to sick children.

What treasure is out there, just waiting to bring you warmth and fulfillment this holiday season? Let us know what you discover… we’d love to hear your stories!

Are You Ready To Look For Love?

Now that we’ve passed through being thankful and grateful, let’s turn our attention to the new year and new love… before you set dating and mating goals for the new year, consider this: Is there a negative trait all your past relationships have in common?

Christine: In my case, all the men I dated in the past made quite a bit of money, had no money in the bank and were also in major debt. I realized because this had been my experience with my father and my ex-husband; I expected all men to be like this, this type of man felt familiar, I believed this was the type of man I deserved.

As I continued my healing the men across the table from me finally made money, had money in the bank and weren’t in debt.

If you continue to meet people with the same traits you don’t want, you might be wise to avoid meeting new people until you heal your own wounds and unpack your emotional baggage from past relationships.

Joel: LOL This is a key question people need to ask when assessing what to do next, especially if they’ve been through unsuccessful relationships. How many times have we seen people engage in serial catastrophes? Once you’ve identified the traits that just won’t work for you, the challenge is to assess a prospective partner as quickly as possible.

I used to put in my online profile things that are obvious deal breakers, like smoking. The sort of financial issues you are describing are much harder to get to. Many people consciously and unconsciously present themselves as something they are not. It’s a challenge to ask penetrating questions when you are just exploring a relationship, but you can say things like “I’m financially secure and need you to be as well.”

If that feels awkward, just think how awkward you will feel to find out your prospective mate is broke and in debt after you’ve been sleeping with him for a while. There’s nothing wrong with gentle candor.