How I Built Self-esteem By Changing My Interactions With Men

I realized that I approached dating in such a sad way most of my life. I have always felt an obligation to date the people that asked me out or to give them my number or to at least give them a chance. At times, it was the “right” thing to do but more often that not, it was a sign that I had low self-esteem. I didn’t believe that I could have the one I wanted, so I settled for the ones I didn’t want.

I can’t describe how I used to feel about myself because I didn’t really see it as an object to pay attention to. I thought it was simply a part of life. People ask you out and sometimes they are not everything you have ever wanted but you try to move past that and find the good in the situation. I see now, that I would say “yes” to men that I wasn’t physically attracted to and at times, I wouldn’t be attracted to them in a cerebral way either. I didn’t have the self-esteem to establish standards. I also didn’t have the self-esteem to adhere to the boundaries I had set for myself.

In an effort to change the way I date, I made a list of the things I used to do wrong. Hopefully, it’ll help you identify the ways you steer off course:

  1. When any man asks you for your number and you don’t want to give it to him, be clear that you won’t be giving it to him and why- This might seem harsh, and at times, I’m sure it is. But if you need someone to tell you it’s okay, it is okay for you to establish this boundary. I have given my number to men, out of pity, several times. I used to worry that the tech-sphere of iPhones, Facebook, Insta, and the like would get me in trouble. The individual would call me right then and there and if I gave him the wrong number, he would be offended and he would be embarrassed. But…what about me? I’m standing there clearly rolling my eyes at this dude and he isn’t taking the hint? I say, NO. It is not your obligation to give this person your number. It is not rude to deny them your number, and as a matter of fact, a lot can be discovered about you with just your digits. That makes is dangerous. So forget that “obligation.” If you really like someone, offer your number to them. This being said, men can learn to offer their number to you. Trust me gentleman, a girl will let you know she likes you.
  2. For the first date, get coffee. I always arrive a little early, buy my own coffee, and wait. I used to get really anxious about dinner dates. I hated the forced conversation over a meal and would worry about the bill at the end of the date. I never wanted to feel any obligation to continue a date. So, I avoid this obligation by going to get coffee with my dates. It’s implied that you will be with one another for around an hour maybe two. This also means, I am not down to sit through an entire movie with a stranger. Boundaries and standards.
  3. If you’re concerned about the bill, just politely ask how they would like to address the situation. I will typically text someone beforehand. Something like, “Would you like to go ‘dutch’ tonight?”should suffice. If they say “yes” you can decide where you would like to go after that. I used to get so much anxiety about this. I had one bad experience when I was twenty-years-old.  Needless to say, I just ask beforehand. The lines are blurred in this situation. Does it indicate low self-esteem when you don’t require that your date pay the entire bill? It shows that you are polite by asking. That is all that I know. If you decide later that you will not date someone because they ask to go “dutch” that is your decision. You have a brain, you can decide. SELF-esteem.
  4. If you’re not interested, just let them know. Don’t ghost them. You are an adult. Put your big girl panties on and tell them *politely* that you are not interested. It is a sign of high self-esteem when you are willing to set that boundary for yourself and have standards that you adhere to.
  5. If you are not attracted to someone, just stop. Don’t do it. You deserve to be with someone you are attracted to. Do not forfeit attraction. If you continue to date someone that you are not attracted to and it is something that regularly gets in the way of you enjoying them, chances are, you have low-self esteem. You are valuable and should treat yourself as such.
  6. Pay attention to how they dress when they see you. If they look sloppy, act sloppy, or seem disinterested, chances are, you are not a top priority and HUNTY, you deserve to be. This means, they should look like they put effort into meeting you. If they don’t, and you continue to date them, chances are, you have low self-esteem.
  7. Men should be asking you the questions on the date. I know this seems like a no-brainer but I used to struggle with this. I did not feel that what I had to say was important. When on dates, I would listen intently, ask questions, and at least appear to be interested. Often times, I would not get the same in return. I would often be cut-off or experience an “audience” with wandering eyes. This was an immediate turn-off for me but I assumed (because it happened so often) that I was not interesting. This is obviously a sign of low self-esteem but I did not see it that way at the time. With that being said, a man should definitely be asking you questions and show true interest. Making eye contact, staying off of his phone, and asking questions about what you are saying are all good signs that he actually cares. Always make sure to reciprocate.
  8. You do not owe them anything. When I say ANYTHING I mean, like, not even a kiss on the cheek. If he tries to get you to do something for him, BYE. I used to be so bad with this. I used to think that a man was entitled to something because he was taking me out. But naw. He isn’t. If a dude is trying to keep you in his car or keeps insisting that you come to his apartment and “cuddle” or whatever (so many eye rolls over here) or any other whack excuses these dudes come up with, RUN. Okay. Obviously, not literally but tell him what you are going to do. Be upfront and clear. Do not worry that it’s harsh. Do not feel guilty. Do not worry about anything but getting home.
  9. If I dude speaks badly about women in front of you, you can trust that he wouldn’t hesitate to say the same things behind your back. People show us their true colors but we assume we are different.

Those are the most common mistakes I used to make before I started building my self-esteem. It’s all a little cringe worthy and I can’t believe I put up with some of that stuff but it is all in the past now. Lesson learned.

I would love to hear what others have to say. Obviously, I am not the only one who’s “kissed some frogs.” I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions

With Love,

-The Curvy Broke Girl


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