‘I just never believe that people are into me’

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Hi Meredith!

Love the podcast! I probably just haven't met the right person yet, but also... I kind of feel like I just never believe that people are into me. Even when they clearly are. My confidence has improved over the years, but I still carry this feeling of being a failure. I've always just felt like I wasn't enough. So when I meet someone amazing, I feel like I'd be a burden/disappointment of a partner. And then I pull away so they don't have to deal with the burden of my presence. I have trouble taking up space.

Oof, that makes it sound like I'm a miserable person, but actually I'm ok I swear! I've got lots of amazing friends, and some of them I can talk to about anything and feel totally heard/not a burden at all. It's very symbiotic. I guess romantic relationships just feel so scary and intense. And these friendships I feel comfy enough in to open up usually involve people I've known for a couple of decades! (so I've had time to learn I'm safe to share my heart with these people) If I have a question it's this: How do I be vulnerable/brave with people I'm interested in dating? Thanks for reading.

– Confidence

"How do I be vulnerable/brave with people I'm interested in dating?"

Please remember that there are degrees of vulnerability.

At the start of something – the very, very beginning - it's about the basics and having a good time. Do you laugh together? Is there attraction? It might help to focus on getting to know them. If you're thinking "this person must think I'm annoying" during an entire date, you've thought about yourself too much. Focus on the person in front of you.

You're probably a slow burn when it comes to emotional intimacy, and that is OK! You can tell someone that – that it takes you a bit to open up. You're not trying to be Bruce Wayne or anything, keeping your secrets to yourself until you trust someone enough to show them your superhero cave. All you want is time.

The thing to repeat in the mirror: if someone is asking you questions about you, it means they're looking forward to answers. When you're ready to share, you're not burdening them.

I know all of this is easier to type than to believe, easier to hear than to put into practice. That's why my advice, if you make it past a few dates with someone, is to bring them around your friends. It might ground you and remind you of all you offer when you're around the people who know you best.

The bravery part comes with practice, I think. You test yourself in small ways and then you try all over again.

– Meredith

Readers? Other ways to stay confident during the dating process? How do you get over insecurities?