I still remember that in high school, when the entire calculus class looked clueless about the necessity of integrals in our lives, our teacher, Mr. Opre, told us to “talk the talk and walk the walk” until we started to actually understand how this newfangled way of calculating the area actually worked. At first, I didn’t know what he was talking about, but what he meant was that we needed to go through the motions (as in, just follow the mathematical steps) until it started to feel like we actually knew what we were doing. And slowly but surely, his advice worked, and I was calculating the area under a curve like it was my one job in life.
What does all of this have to do with dating? Some of us are jaded by the dating process, and some of us are feeling insecure about getting back out there. Some of us may feel like we lost a sense of ourselves in our last relationship, so we need to get back into the things we love to do… but what were they? If anything here sounds like it might be true, then I’m going to give the same advice that the wise Mr. Opre once gave: Talk the talk and walk the walk. Eventually, things will start to catch up with you.
There was an article in Scientific American in 2011 called, “Smile! It Could Make You Happier.” Doesn’t this seem counterintuitive? Don’t you smile because you feel happy, and not the other way around? Maybe not. Psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people whose ability to frown is diminished by cosmetic botox injections are happier, on average, than people who can frown. The researchers gave a questionnaire to 25 women, half of whom had received frown-inhibiting botox injections. The botox recipients reported feeling happier; more importantly, they did not report feeling any more attractive, suggesting that the emotional effects were not driven by a psychological boost that could come from the treatment’s cosmetic nature.
So, if smiling can make you happier, can talking the talk and walking the walk make you more confident in your dating life? I’d venture to say yes. Most things in life are all about framing. Let’s say someone asks, “What do you like to do for fun?” You have two options: You could look down on yourself, saying something like, “Oh, I don’t know. I guess I like to do my daily crossword puzzle and play Words with Friends. That’s about all.” Or, you could own it and talk the talk of confidence, even if you’re not feeling it quite yet. “I’m trying to get into some new activities, but for now, I’ve rediscovered my love for crossword puzzles and word games. I love challenging my brain!” Which person would you rather date?
If you feel jaded or insecure, when you get to that date, it’s important that you exude some level of confidence. Rather than the person across the table thinking, “Ugh – she really doesn’t think very highly of herself,” or, “She must have been on one too many bad dates recently,” he’ll instead think, “Wow – I can’t believe she made time for me tonight!”
So, talk the talk, walk the walk, and calculate some integrals. (Ok, that last one is optional.) Thanks, Mr. Opre!
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.