I’ve decided that it’s time to tackle a few questions people have either emailed me or left on my suggestions and ideas page. I’ve frankly been sort of neglectful in doing so. I want to be clear as I do this about a couple of things.
1. I’m not an advice columnist and I sure don’t claim to have all of the answers on any of this. I have some answers. I do know that we for sure need to have the conversation – which is why I started the blog.
2. Everyone’s situation is different. It can be hard to give hard exact advice or support without being in it with someone enough to know them and their context. Therefore it may be more general than desired.
WIth all that in mind, here we go.
Stephen recently asked three questions. You can see them here. Today I want to try to address just the first one.
I want to know how confidence that Christ is my savior, and accepts me, and is going to raise me from the dead, is supposed to bleed over into confidence in dating. Women all magically detect “confidence” right? Are they detecting that I believe Christ is my savior, or are they detecting how likely I think they are to say yes to a date? Because I can have all the confidence in salvation I want, and know for plenty of good and sufficient reasons that my odds of success in getting a date are low. They’re two different things. Which one are women actually looking for, and which one is it they magically detect?
I’ve talked quite a lot about the fact that confidence is attractive to women. I’ve also suggested that because we are in Christ, we as Christian men should have confidence. This is probably what leads to Stephen’s first question, which is a good one.
There are sort of two separate aspects here.
The first is women are indeed attracted to confidence. By this I mean that a man who knows who he is, what he’s about, carries himself in a strong manner and is not intimidated by them. Now this doesn’t mean that every woman is attracted to every confident guy. What it means is that confidence in general is attractive to women.
Now a lot of guys are confident in things other than dealing with women. But, the problem is that many men are not so confident around women and probably most are especially not confident around a woman they are extremely attracted to. There are many reasons for this. Partly men are confident when they know what to do and most men don’t know what to do in that situation. Other men want to “win” the girl and in the process become afraid of losing or messing it up. They end up “needing” her. They give in too much and can’t handle when she tests their strength (knowingly or unknowingly).
This all leads into the nice guy problem that Stephen raises in his second question which I’ll address in a future post.
The point here is that the women are attracted to men who are confident with them. Now confidence in a different area may get a woman’s attention. This happened to me lots of times.
For example, one time I was speaking and because I’m confident in that, there was a woman who was attracted to me. I was confident in my approach at that point, so she stayed attracted and we went out. However, at that point in my life, I was totally insecure once I really liked her and didn’t know how to take it further. She fell out of attraction so to speak.
The second part of the question has to do with confidence in Christ and how that plays in.
Jesus is for sure the most attractive person of all time. People were drawn to Him. I believe that as a believer we do have Him with us and I do believe that can be attractive. But that isn’t really what I mean by confidence in Christ. I also am not saying that having confidence in salvation makes us attractive to women. While that confidence is obviously important, it doesn’t necessarily translate to attractiveness to others.
The reality is this. Being a believer on the surface is neutral. I don’t think it make us less attractive to women, but I don’t think it makes us more attractive either. This is why we have all of these Christian women saying there are no Christian guys. What they mean is there are no guys they are attracted to that are Christians.
So when Stephen asks “Are they detecting that I believe Christ is my savior, or are they detecting how likely I think they are to say yes to a date?”, I’m saying the second. But here is where one should tie into the other.
It’s not that my confidence in salvation per se makes me confident with women. The question is what do I believe about myself as a person “in Christ”. If my identity is in Christ, then I don’t have to be worried about what a particular woman thinks. It should make me less needy. My world won’t rise of fall on how it goes with a particular person.
All of that is of course, much easier to say than live out of. But if I can begin to grasp that I’m of high value (worth dying for, equal to everyone else, unashamed and brave) then that’s a good start. It enables me to take risks, including the risk to change how I interact with women.
The truth is that a lot of what men (including and maybe especially Christian men) are taught (or not taught as the case may be) about how to interact with women is wrong. More on that soon.
Haha, what I mean when I say there are no Christian guys is rather the opposite — there are no Christian guys who appear attracted to me 😛
Haha. That’s a whole other angle worth exploring.
There are plenty of Christian men attracted to you especially if you are a young woman. The problem is you are not attracted to them.
Justin – thanks for responding to my questions! I enjoyed reading what you wrote.
I do have a follow-up question. You indicated that the confidence women are looking for is the situational confidence – “…how likely I think they are to say yes to a date…”
You then wrote that how we believe in ourselves about Christ impacts that because “I’m of high value (worth dying for, equal to everyone else, unashamed and brave) then that’s a good start. It enables me to take risks, including the risk to change how I interact with women.”
Here’s what I don’t get. The kind of confidence you identify girls as looking for is not confidence in my personal worth in Christ. It is a belief that a specific outcome is likely to occur. If I have reason to believe that that specific outcome is not likely to occur, then I’m not going to be confident.
I can believe everything you said about myself as a person in Christ, but as you’ve noted before girls aren’t looking to date Christian guys – they are looking to date Christian guys to whom they are attracted. I’m a nerdy, quiet guy with a sense of humor that doesn’t show up except with people that I’ve known for a long time and am really comfortable around, and in this culture that’s not an attractive personality to most girls.
I am entirely confident in my worth in Christ. But it doesn’t follow that any particular girl is likely to date me, and therefore it doesn’t follow that I have any reason to be confident, in the sense of expecting a particular outcome, when asking someone out. Not that that means I will be acting afraid – honestly the low odds don’t bother me any more – just that “confidence” as we’re defining it is not the presence or absence of fear, but the presence or absence of *belief* that particular outcome is likely. I can approach a girl from a healthy *emotional* place and still not *think* it likely that she’ll date me. The odds are better than if I didn’t have confidence in my identity in Christ, sure, but “better” doesn’t mean “good.” The odds can still be really, really poor if secondary characteristics like my personality are not ideal.
So my question is, what’s the relationship between confidence that I am “of high value (worth dying for, equal to everyone else…)” and believing that women are likely to say yes when I ask them out? I really don’t see that those necessarily follow one another. I get that confidence in my identity in Christ might be a necessary cause for attraction, but I’m fairly confident it’s not a sufficient cause. Is it?
Thanks again for your thoughts on this. They’re a lot more thorough and realistic than a lot of other thinking I’ve heard on this subject.
I get what you’re saying. I’m only sort of answering the question. Haha
I don’t think you have to have confidence she will say yes. I think the confidence is more of a feeling of she should say yes. In other words, I’m good enough, so she should want to go out with me. Now this is not in an entitlement way – that crosses the line (a feeling of she should want me damn it is not what I’m suggesting). More of a feeling that in a way it doesn’t matter if she says yes or not.
I think the other thing is to think about why you think a girl will say no. A lot of it is getting out of our own head and out of our own way. I think my next post on the nice guy question you have will help as I have a couple of examples. Look for that sometime next week.
Your questions are all tied together. And they are really good questions.
Thanks for your graciousness, Justin. I’ve been frustrated in this area before, and I realize that comes through some in my writing, and I apologize for that. I appreciate that you’re taking my questions seriously, and I’m looking forward to what you have to say. Thanks!
I do have yet another follow-up question though. (I realize you’re probably a busy guy, and so if you don’t have time or interest to pursue this all the way to end that’s understandable. Just going to throw this out there anyway).
I’ve heard before the idea of getting to a place where it doesn’t matter to me if a girl says yes or no when I ask her out. The question I have is this: If I don’t care enough to be disappointed when a girl says no to a date, why would I care enough to ask in the first place?
What I’m getting at is that I have a hard time constructing reasons to ask a girl out in the first place that aren’t also reasons to be disappointed, however mildly, if she says no when I ask. I’m not saying such reasons don’t exist, I’m just saying I don’t understand them.
I don’t think it’s about not caring if they say yes or no. I do think it’s about not being shaken by it one way or another. I think the main idea is to not get wrapped up in it. I think you should care in the sense that you want her to say yes, but not so much that you “need” her to say yes.
I know so many girls who are attracted to nerdy quiet types who are deep and take a while to get to know, especially if they are confident in Christ. A lot of these woman are so frustrated because they rarely get asked out by anyone. Since they aren’t attracted to the more extroverted types, they don’t give them signals of interest. And I find that they tend to be more serious, so more compatible with a “nerdy” type, but not very flirty or forward with guys. So of course the nerdy quiet guys don’t ask them out either. Unless you have a really unpleasant personality. I guarantee you there is some girl who would be interested. She might be a little nerdy too though. So go find some girls who doesn’t seem to be flirting with all the other guys and ask her out. you’ll probably make her day.
I’m not actually basing my assessment of what girls are attracted to on direct experience – I don’t have enough direct experience. In every social circle I’ve been a part of, the single Christian guys outnumber the single Christian girls at least 3:1 and have mostly asked out most of the single Christian girls.
I’m basing my assessment on what people start talking about (confidence, in various forms) as soon as one starts asking for advice about what girls are attracted to.
All that to say I really have no idea. If you’re right, some of my questions to Justin are misplaced, and hopefully that’s the case. I just don’t have a good way to know.
Stephen, you say that you’re a “nerdy, quiet guy”, and that that’s not considered attractive by most women in your culture (which I’m assuming is North American.) I’m not North American, so I can’t say whether or not I think you’re right in your assumptions about what is attractive to North American women, but I think you might be overestimating female interest in the hyper-confident (dare I say “arrogant”) type of guy. The Christian women you know — what are they like? I know plenty of Christian women and I can’t say that any of them would be super-impressed by the “d-bag” archetype. After all, no matter what we do, plenty of Christian women don’t fit the mould when it comes to culturally-approved attractiveness — and we know it. So I don’t think that decent Christian girls would have a problem with a nerdy and quiet guy. They’d probably find it a relief actually.
Thanks for the thoughts.
I wasn’t trying to describe “hyper confidence.” I honestly still don’t get what people mean when they talk about confidence in this context. If I implied some kind of hyper-confidence that wasn’t my intent – just trying to wrap my head around what the positive kind of “confidence” means in this situation.
What I was trying to describe isn’t something I’ve experienced or known. You mentioned evaluating what Christian women I actually know are attracted to. I’ve never in my life until very, very recently been a part of a social circle in which single Christian guys didn’t outnumber single Christian girls 3:1, and most of the guys had asked out most of the girls and been turned down. So I can’t really assess based on what girls I know are attracted to. I’ve never known enough girls to be a significant sample, and the ones I have known haven’t been attracted to anyone in our common social circles so I don’t know what they’re attracted to anyway.
What I was trying to describe was what I’ve gotten from the advice I’ve been given, both personally and what I’ve read on blogs and such. Every single North American giver of relational advice essentially focuses on “confidence” in the still-somewhat-unclear-to-me sense that Justin is using it here. I’m really just trying to nail down what that means. Maybe that advice is all off-base, and there’s a sense in which Christian women don’t care about that kind of “confidence,” but I still don’t understand exactly what is meant by “confidence” and I don’t have a good way to know for sure by experience, test, or interrogation.
Yes Justin, and if men don’t exude confidence and take on the pursuit, most women who consider themselves Christians are not even capable of being friends. It’s either romance or “you’re wasting my time.” And when it comes to women complaining that there are no Christian guys left that they are attracted to, it could be that their behavior and who they hang around with has not allowed a Christian guy to come within earshot. That’s just based on what I’ve seen.
Ah, that “confidence” word used again! I think there’s problem in our culture of confidence v arrogance today, and we’re not immune to it in Christian circles…..and today arrogance is confused with “confidence” by too many.
Also, in the outward crass materialism of the word “confidence” when it comes to work, and what we have in the world today as men. If a man is poor, or has a position, job, that does not give the impression of “provider” wealth, it is assumed sadly that he has “no confidence” concerning work, or career; thus not a good Christian because he cannot provide the trappings of an upper-middle-class Christian life in the USA.
My father was a man that never was outgoing, or a hit with the ladies. He was not an extrovert. He rarely dated, if at all during high school in the 1950’s. At the the “old” age of 27 in 1964, he was working as a “pump jockey” at a full-service gas station for extra money. My dad was a “farmhand” for his career / work and was taking night classes to become a journeyman carpenter back then.
Along pulled up a new 1964 Plymouth sedan with a pretty nineteen-year-old girl in it, “Fill the tank sir, premium please!”
This nineteen-year-old girl would be my mother. My dad said she was actually one of the only women who just “smiled” at me instead of scowled. She seemed to smile just for just the sake of smiling (unlike most women he knew or met). He asked her for her number after she paid for the gas and gave him a tip. She complied.
My mother always told me “He asked me for my number. If I went by what I just saw (grown man working in a gas station, obviously uneducated, no confidence, old) without even trying to get to know him, how unfortunate my life would have been!”
They were happily married for 44 years until my mothers passing.
“Confidence” Justin….to me, and I know you will disagree with me here 🙂 really doesn’t mean anything to women. She likes you or she doesn’t. Confidence is just a word, or an excuse given by many women when they don’t feel attracted to a man. It is a word that has lost it’s meaning, or has been given a cloak of arrogance to mean what “confidence” once meant.
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