Gay Women Don’t have a ton fo role models in our lives, so how do we learn to gain confidence when it comes to asking out the girl or flirting? Here’s how.
“I’m terrible at both flirting and reading the signs when someone might be flirting with me.” “I just can’t talk to women.” “How do you talk to women?” “I just have no confidence talking to women. I hate it. And now I like this girl who barely knows I exist. Sigh. What do I do?” “I always have this fear that I’m gonna come across as boring.” “I got chatted up on Friday, and I literally ran away. Same lack of confidence, never know what to say or do or act or think or anything.” “It’s hard to tell if a woman is just being friendly or is into me.”
Have you ever said something similar to the above statements? Odds are you have. As gay women, we don’t have a ton of role models or even concrete, practical advice aimed at teaching us important social skills, such as: how to make small talk, how to flirt, how to tell if someone is flirting back, how to handle rejection, how to message someone online, how to not come off as boring or aggressive, and even how to develop the confidence and self-esteem to believe you’re someone WORTH talking to in the first place.
We often struggle with confidence and self-worth more than others because we face so many stigmas in our lives—lesbophobia, biphobia, prejudice, discrimination, unapproving family members, being closeted, religious persecution, fear of not belonging, fear of “not being gay enough,” and so on.
On top of all that, women are socialized to be pursued, not to pursue other people, which means the ways we show sexual interest can be a lot more subtle and passive, which can lead to confusion, mixed signals, and our messages not being received the way we want them to.
Not to mention that, as women, we have all received unwanted attention from men (sometimes every single day!), which makes us hyper-aware of not wanting to be “that guy” with women we’re interested in.
Then there’s the obstacle of not being able to tell if a woman is straight or gay just by looking at her, so we have this doubt in our minds already, which inhibits us from even trying to talk to her, because what’s the point?
PHEW. No wonder we struggle with approaching, talking to, and dating people.
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How to Be Your Best, Most Awesome Gay Self, Score More Dates, and Impress Your Friends
This first step is crucial, necessary to succeed in all areas of life, and often overlooked or dismissed outright.
I’m talking about confidence.
You need to believe in yourself in order to accomplish ANYTHING, whether it’s asking for a raise, asking your partner to help with the dishes, nailing a job interview, doing something you’ve never done before, starting a fundraiser, making a new friend, learning to skydive, asking that hot girl if she wants to split a malted milkshake with you, having earth-shattering orgasms, or even building up the courage to end a relationship.
It all requires confidence. And yet we tend to neglect this basic tenet of ourselves on a day-to-day level.
Without a solid belief in ourselves, it’s easy to get stuck in a loop of self-doubt and negativity, which not only leads to things like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, but can also affect our professional lives and relationships.
All that said, we’re not doomed! Far from it. Confidence is not something that we’re born with. In fact, research shows that being shy and cautious is totally natural in humans, which makes sense from a survival standpoint. Imagine if we brazenly jumped off every cliff we came to or took candy from strangers in windowless vans late at night. We would not have lasted nearly as long as a species.
Taking risks and building confidence are things we learn. Skills, just like riding a bike or riding someone’s face.
But confidence is often an elusive beast. How can we shore it up when we need it most? How can we quickly bring our best selves to light and our self-worth up to speed during trying times? I’ve been researching this for years, and the following are the best and most efficient ways I’ve found to help us feel great about ourselves.
Caveat: Don’t try all of these at once. Pick one or two things and see how they play out in your life. Nothing is a hard-and-fast rule, and everyone will respond a little differently. Think of it as a choose your own adventure and have fun with it.
Away we go!
Try these tips to give yourself an immediate confidence boost:
I See You
It seems so simple and yet many of us forget about eye contact, aka the most basic human form of connection. We shouldn’t. Studies show that people who maintain eye contact are perceived as having higher self-esteem, as well as more reliable, warm, sociable, honest, and attractive! And that’s just from looking someone in the eye. Studies have also shown the impact good eye contact has on those we are speaking to, meaning it enhances intimacy, influence, and connection—all traits we want to inspire in those we talk to, whether we’re asking them out or not.
Action plan: This week, make a concerted effort to look everyone you have a conversation with in the eye. Even when you are speaking, which is when we tend to look away. If you forget, that’s okay. If you feel uncomfortable, that’s okay, too. That means it’s working. Maintain eye contact with people you pass on the street as well, until they look away. If someone looks angry or is wondering why you’re staring at them, simply smile like you know them, but you’re not sure from where. Most people won’t return your gaze, however. That’s how adept we are at ignoring each other. Yay, humans!