Confidence Not Required

April 21, 2013

I’ve been lacking confidence, a sex drive, and comfort with myself generally when it comes to the opposite sex even when discussing the opposite sex. I’m very nervous and feel uncomfortable when I am in those kinds of situations. Can you spare some advice for me on Changing myself?
-Not Comfortable With Myself Leads Nowhere

I think it would help me if I knew your age & if you’re on any kind of medication.
-Ajé

I’m 23 , male, and on Anti Seizure medication and depression meds.
-NCWMLN

When I was a kid I read a book by Roald Dahl called “The Twits”.  It’s a silly little book about two very ugly, miserable people.  But they weren’t always ugly & miserable, they were once beautiful and happy.  One day they just started thinking nasty thoughts about themselves and eventually their thoughts became their reality.   A few years after reading this book it occurred to me that the opposite effect could also happen; a person can think positive thoughts about themselves and become the person they envision.  The trick, is to keep telling yourself the positive thoughts even when it feels like complete bullshit.  If you keep thinking about how awkward you feel when talking to girls, you’ll continue to feel awkward.  So this is what I propose: at least once every day I want you to stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say “I feel confident talking to women.  I am a great conversationalist”.   It may sound kind of silly, and you’ll often feel like you’re just lying to yourself, but it totally works if you keep it up.  It can also help to write down positive affirmations and stick them where you can see them easily.  The more these happy thoughts get pushed into your brain, the more likely you’ll start to believe them.  Once you believe you’re confident and amazing you’ll be able to chat up pretty ladies like you’ve been doing it your whole life.

Thinking of what to say is often the most difficult part of striking up a conversation.  What helps me is to have a question that I ask pretty much everyone, the more people I ask, the easier it is to strike up a convo.  Stick with an open-ended question that you can ask anyone.  For example, the question I ask is “If you could be any animal in the world, including mythical creatures, what would you be.”  It creates so many possibilities for discussion as a person can literally be anything they can conceive of.  Often it causes folks to think out loud and sparks a conversation all on its own.  If you decide to play the question game, make sure you know the answer to your own question so that you have something to share as well.  If you can’t think of one, you’re welcome to use mine.  It was passed on to me by a dear friend and I am happy to share it.  😉

As you’re turning yourself into a conversational badass it’s important to remember that not everyone you talk to will become a best buddy, a partner, or even like you for that matter.  But many of those people will see the parts of you that kick ass if you can put yourself out there, so try not to get discouraged when things don’t work out.

Just to make sure I cover all of my bases…

It’s possible that the issues you’re dealing with are side-effects of the medications you’re taking.  Several anti-seizure & depression meds cause nervousness, low confidence and lack of a sex-drive.  I think it would be a good idea for you to discuss these symptoms with your doctor and find out if they feel a different medication (or combo of medications) would be better suited for you.

If you’re not already seeing a psychologist or counselor for your depression & anxiety it may be beneficial for you to start.  If possible, find one of the opposite sex; it will give you an opportunity to come face to face with your discomfort, but since it’s not in your normal social environment it’s likely to be less threatening.  Generally it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t view as a potential partner/fuck buddy/friend/etc.

For what it’s worth, I’m the opposite sex and you had no trouble corresponding with me.  While you’re working on your courage for face-to-face conversation, maybe you could practice conversing with cute girls over the internet.  Less pressure, but easy practice.  Good luck!

~The Missionary Position is a sex/relationship advice column.  Questions are answered by Ajé Summerly who is a sexuality enthusiast & consultant.  To submit a question, email Ajé at tmp@theburrozine.com, or via The Missionary Position on facebook.

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