1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Self confidence, what do people mean by that in the context of dating?

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by MrSpock, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

    Messages:
    407
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    Karma:
    +763
    For years, on occasion people have told me that I require more self confidence when dating. I've always thought that this was rather silly as I think I have much more self confidence than most people. I may have figured out what is going on here, so I'd like to share that if it's useful and get some feedback since I may be way off base here, SNAFU.

    I am in some respects socially blind. I suspect that most people don't understand that I'm blind in any way. I suspect that when I'm told that I need more self confidence the person telling me this assumes that I see evidence that the person I'm dating likes me well enough, but I have feelings of doubt in spite of this because I believe that the other person will not like me once they get to know me. What is in fact happening is I have no idea of whether the other person likes me or if my current actions are making her like me more or less. I'm going to like myself regardless and believe that she ought to like me if she got to know me, but I have no faith in the communication system I am forced to rely on (I had put 'use', but that's not right. Hell, neither is 'rely on'. You know what I mean (I hope)).

    I might usefully compare myself to a person who is fully blind, cannot see anything at all and might well normally walk with a cane and/or a seeing eye dog. Such a person might be very confident in their ability to walk without cane or dog over a smooth and consistent surface. Pointed in what he is told is the right direction he may walk for some time in that direction with confidence given trust in the person who oriented him and told him to go. After days of walking in the same direction without further instruction (the person giving direction doesn't know that he is blind) it would become increasingly difficult to be confident that there are no cliffs to fall from. It is nothing to do with his confidence in his ability to walk.

    It is difficult to avoid worrying when I have gone for days without feedback that I am capable of interpreting reliably. I would guess that some form of reassuring information is assumed to be there for me and would be available to the majority, to a person in my place who was not socially blind.

    NTs can be lazy when it comes to phrasing things correctly, and I would not be surprised if 'confidence in what the other person is thinking and feeling about you and your actions and words' were changed to 'self confidence' and everyone is expected to interpret this as intended. Again, I am rather socially blind so I'm not sure, but it seems a workable hypothesis. What do you think?
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,362
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +3,765
    I think you’re right, but I would add a few things. I don’t want to project onto you anything that is not true for you, so I’ll speak from my perspective only.

    1) In addition to not reading social cues, I don’t “emit” them. This leads NTs to believe I’m not as confident. I may say, “I feel pretty good about myself,” and I think I’ve settled the question. But because I don’t give off all the confidence signals, others think, “He says he’s confident, but he doesn’t act like it.”

    2) NTs actually receive confidence from others. If someone else treats an NT respectfully or admirably, they believe they are worthy of that respect and admiration. I seem to only receive confidence from my own self-evaluation, so if I don’t feel like I am doing well at something, I won’t be confident. It doesn’t matter how much I impress others - if I don’t impress myself, I won’t appear confident.

    This is something I’m working hard to change. Everyone always has positive things to say about me. I have to take the time to deliberately tell myself that their opinion has merit and that I should take their opinions into account and give them just as much weight as my own.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,612
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +9,645
    Here. I'll give you another analogy. A man comes into a room where others are standing around a desk looking at plans. He says 'You don't need all that crap' and sweeps everything off the table with his arm. 'This is all you need' he then says and places a cute puppy and red ball on the table.
    4c2f64d996f86b843d94fad9e5bcb657.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,748
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Karma:
    +11,171
    Great post. Great insight.
    I don't really know either!

    But the complexity in the phraseology as a result of not being able to do this sort of thing subconsciously can be maddening.

    The self confidence they say you need is maybe that you don't give out normal signals, so they read you incorrectly.

    So both sides misread the other.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

    Messages:
    407
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    Karma:
    +763
    Um... 'A man' symbolizes the woman I'm dating? The puppy and ball represent her non-verbal communication? Me having no clue what this means represents me having no clue what this means?

    It's confusing enough that I suspect you're trying to say something useful about a confusing topic. If so, please try again.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,612
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Karma:
    +9,645
    The message is simplify. Your messages can be very difficult to understand. I had to go over certain parts 3-4 times to be sure. What I am not sure about is whether this is the natural you or an affected personality, something done to boost your self esteem?

    You speak about confidence but there is nothing in the message, about your behavior we can look at to assess. So who knows? Maybe they are just talking out their butt, lacking anything else to say.

    Relationships aren't math. It works when you like them and they like you. You don't need a slide rule to figure out if they like you. It will show.

    The puppy is part of some tricks to the trade. There are in fact things that help in dating. (look online). Having a pet shows you can care for something and be responsible. But having too many pets is bad. But don't get a pet just for dating. Only if you want a long term companion.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,708
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +13,372
    Then perhaps you can interpret some body language. The fact is the person would not want to be around you, if they didn't like you. Does the other person touch you? Walk with you?
    Contact you? If that is happening, then all is well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Observant

    Observant Active Member

    Messages:
    152
    Joined:
    May 15, 2018
    Karma:
    +171
    Are you dating in familiar surroundings? If not, going to a familiar place for your dates might help focus a bit more on the subtle queues. Usually when I am in new places I end up tracking everything rather than being in the moment.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Karma:
    +4,892
    Maybe that thought ‘they won’t like me once they get to know me’ is on a continual loop?, always busy in the background?

    It will leak out in some body language, also acting like someone you suppose they want to be with in addition to not always filtering or suppressing the autie successfully,
    May possibly throw out subconscious micro expressions and even conscious gestures or expression your date will read.

    Your body will betray you :)
    (Unless you believe wholeheartedly in the role you’re playing)

    You write ‘it’s difficult not to worry when going for days without feedback’

    That right there, that worry, will spill over into conversation, thought, deed.
    You’ll send out signals of ‘worry’ your date will pick up on and perhaps arrive at a conclusion that you’re not confident.

    Using words to prompt feedback as a way to check you’re getting it right may be viewed as lack of self confidence? :)
     
  10. Aeolienne

    Aeolienne Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,207
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2016
    Karma:
    +902
    It's a good question. I've often been told that I need to build up my confidence to be ready for a relationship. Yet whenever I look at a typical problem page in a magazine like Cosmopolitan there seem to be any number of women who appear to be far less confident than me (particularly with regard to body image) who still manage to attract men. When I saw the film of Bridget Jones's Diary (not having read the book) I wondered why her name had become a byword for a sad single woman. If I had two men chasing after me in such a short space of time I don't think I would be complaining!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

    Messages:
    407
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    Karma:
    +763
    @Tom said "Your messages can be very difficult to understand." I'm not sure what in particular you have difficulty understanding or why. I wonder what you think is unnecessarily complex. I don't see where I could simplify the words without losing some meaning.

    @Tom said "You speak about confidence but there is nothing in the message, about your behavior we can look at to assess." I don't know how this is assessed by the other person, I seem to use different criteria for assessment. I did not start this thread for advice on this particular relationship, but rather to discuss what is meant by people (NTs, generally speaking) when they say that an individual needs more self confidence in the context of dating.

    @Mia said "Then perhaps you can interpret some body language. The fact is the person would not want to be around you, if they didn't like you. Does the other person touch you? Walk with you? Contact you? If that is happening, then all is well." She has done. She definitely likes me, but may not consider me suitable as a potential mate. She seems to change her mind, and I'm not sure what I do to make it better or worse or if it is indeed looking better or worse. Regardless, this is beyond the intended scope of the thread, which is supposed to be about what people (NTs, generally speaking) mean when they say that someone needs more self confidence in the context of dating.

    @Gracey said "Maybe that thought ‘they won’t like me once they get to know me’ is on a continual loop?, always busy in the background?" No, that's not even there. That is what I suppose they may be thinking. Note that the next sentence from the original post starts "What is in fact happening is...". There is a lot about the relationship that is very positive, however communication issues are preventing it from getting off the ground. Maybe. I don't know. This particular relationship is irrelevant to the topic, however it may provide a useful context. I apologize if it has been a misleading context.
     
  12. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,708
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +13,372
    I suspect that this is more about your curiosity, as to what is meant by this suggestion. You feel confident in this dating situation. Yet someone has interjected as if you are required to act in a certain manner that shows a conventional (perhaps manly?) confidence. Rather than being clear about their intent.
     
  13. AloneNotLonely

    AloneNotLonely Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    483
    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    Karma:
    +541
    "You just need confidence" is NT speak for "We can't tell you the truth because that might hurt your feelings".

    What they mean by it can be anything from "You don't look attractive enough" to "You commit a faux pas every 5 seconds".

    Self confidence actually interferes with dating as you actually start setting high standards for yourself and then you end up excluding everyone that does not fit those standards.

    Autistics usually have issues such as unattractive/strange body language, rigid communication that they don't adjust based on the person they are speaking to or the situation, eye contact (either too rigid and intense or not at all) and very averse to touch and distant. All of these things are either misinterpreted as creepy obsession or a lack of interest. So basicly one of 2 extremes.

    You should focus less on doing things "right or wrong" and focus more on what the other person is like. Each person has his own list of things they find comfortable and uncomfortable, so you have to adjust a bit depending on how they talk, act, etc. There is no "making the other person like you". They either do (and you still have the option of screwing things up) or they don't (and there is no way to change it).

    What do you think? Do you like the person? If so, then see if they like you too. The signs are pretty clear if there's interest. If they aren't trying or are actively creating distance they probably aren't that interested.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,884
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Karma:
    +3,465
    I think this is exactly it.....and that a lot of people would not be able to understand how those two things could be dinstinct/separate.

    I have had similar problems (in a different context) with people assuming lack of self-confidence because I couldn't figure out how I came across to others (so I would ask sometimes, and this was interpreted as insecurity and the seeking of reassurance about things I was assumed to already know, rather than me simply seeking out information I did not possess and could not obtain without asking).
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,089
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +3,485
    As an NT I don't necessarily agree with this interpretation of what is meant by someone lacking self-confidence. To me it means the person without self confidence doesn't really try to form relationships because they don't believe they can or they believe they are not attractive to others, so they may pass up opportunities which would pan out if they had the confidence to assert themselves. This is my simplistic understanding.
     
  16. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

    Messages:
    407
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    Karma:
    +763
    I agree that is what it ought to mean, however I've heard it several times when it could not have meant that due to the context unless they were not listening and spouting random advice that served them well at some point.

    I think @the_tortoise is likely correct in the instances that I am thinking of, but of course different people may have meant different things. I have heard it often enough that I think it's foolish to ignore altogether.
     
  17. Mr Allen

    Mr Allen Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,980
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2016
    Karma:
    +3,647
    Self confidence is the ability to "Blow your own Trumpet", tell the girl why she should date you and not some other guy.
     
  18. SunnyDay16

    SunnyDay16 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    Karma:
    +1,121
    This is a very insightful post and I agree with this 100%. Dating is a lot more simple than people make it out to be. Every person is different and views you differently, so you're going to have to change your responses based on how the individual person reacts to you. With that being said, there are some general guidelines to follow, like not pushing if the person's body language and social cues clearly show they are creeped out/not into you.
     
  19. Loren

    Loren Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,478
    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,629
    I have introspected on this, in the past (in general terms/unrelated to 'dating') and had the very same realizations about myself, my experiences, and other's misperceptions/interpretations of me (although, I would not have known how to state it as eloquently, nor logically, if at all...)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  20. Loren

    Loren Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,478
    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,629
    This, exactly!