Dating with low self esteem

Can You Still Date With Low Self Esteem? 5 Tips

Dating with low self esteem

Have you ever felt like you might have some self esteem issues? If so, you may be wondering, “Can you still date with low self esteem?”

In short, the answer is YES! You can absolutely date with low self esteem. However, people with low self esteem can face some obstacles to dating and possibly encounter hurdles once they’re in a relationship.

Whether low self esteem stems from a desire for approval and validation, a fear that you won’t find a healthy relationship, or simply a sense that you don’t feel good spending time alone… there are several self esteem indicators that can impact your dating life.

Happily, you can overcome all of these challenges with some helpful strategies and action steps.

Today, we’re going to cover…

  • How your self esteem impacts you while you’re single vs. when you’re dating,
  • Specific tips to help you date well with low self esteem, and
  • Tangible steps you can take to increase your self esteem in any season of life.

By the end of this post, you will have a more informed perspective surrounding low self esteem and dating.

Why does self esteem matter in the first place?

Even though your level of self esteem doesn’t necessarily change your ability to date, being at your best will greatly impact the way you feel when you’re single or in a relationship.

Self esteem isn’t something you have or don’t have…

Rather, think of self esteem as a point on a sliding scale or a large spectrum.

Many internal and external factors can slide your self esteem up the spectrum, and equally as many can slide the lever down.

For example, someone who has recently lost their job and experienced a breakup may experience lower self esteem than they would had they been promoted and gotten engaged.

While many life events can impact your self esteem in the short term, the key is to develop the steadfast confidence that can withstand the various seasons of life.

You might be thinking, “That sounds nice… now how am I supposed to do that?”

Your first step: Find out what is attractive about you.

Reason being, your most beautiful, magnetic traits can’t be touched by the ups and downs of life.

That’s exactly why we created this free 22-page ebook: to kickstart your self esteem and get you on the path to long-term, unshakeable confidence!

Download “Why PUA Doesn’t Work For Introverts & What Works Instead” now so you can circle back after you read this post!

Now, let’s dive in!


How your self esteem impacts you while you’re single vs. when you’re dating

This article explores the intricate relationship between dating and self esteem. Ultimately, each one affects the other.

The same can be said for singleness and self esteem.

When you’re single, your low self esteem may have you thinking…

  • “I’ll never find a good person who will love me,”
  • “I’m not worthy of a loving relationship,” or
  • “Why doesn’t anyone want to be with me?”

On the other hand, someone with high self esteem approaches a season of singleness with curiosity, openness, and… dare we say… joy!

In a relationship, low self esteem may look like…

  • Codependency,
  • Poor communication, or
  • Few or unclear personal boundaries.

As you can see, your level of self esteem isn’t necessarily related to being single or being in a relationship… Instead, consider that the level of self esteem you carry with you exists no matter what your relationship status is.


Specific tips to help you date well with low self esteem

Tip #1: Be honest about where you are in your life.

The purpose of dating is to grow by putting yourself out there by connecting with a new person.

Showing who you are to someone else takes courage and confidence. Naturally, some parts of you are easier to share than others. While everyone has doubts and fears, keep in mind that people also can have a tendency to question themselves from time to time! This self-questioning is natural.

While you don’t need to anticipate sharing about all your problems on a date, you also don’t need to feel like you have to hide them away either.

Part of building intimacy involves sharing the less-than-perfect sides of yourself. Chances are the person you’re with has their own doubts and fears. Perhaps they can give you insight from their own experiences to help you out!

Tip #2: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Treating others the way you’d like to be treated is the Golden Rule for a reason!

You could be in the middle of dating someone when your confidence drops and you want to withdraw. While taking the time to work on yourself, try not to leave people hanging.

No matter how you’re feeling about yourself, the person you are dating will appreciate knowing what is going on, even if you send a simple text that says you’re not in the right place to respond in more depth yet.

Tip #3: Choose some go-to date ideas and rituals.

When you start dating, there are a lot of aspects to think about, like where to go, what to say, and what to wear.

To ease the expectations and tensions, stick with your go-to spots, outfits, and rituals. Meeting at a bar or coffee shop is a low-key alternative to a date that feels like a big production in a place you’re not comfortable with.

On the same token, choose a date outfit that you feel good and confident in. If you have something picked out beforehand (and approved by a trusted friend), prepping for a date is that much more peaceful.

Tip #4: Lean on your friends for support.

Friends were made for times when your low self esteem strikes right before you walk out the door, or you have a great date that goes almost too well and you want to throw in the towel because you don’t believe you deserve happiness.

Sure, your friends can help you through the little aspects like your attire, although their purpose in your life could be so much more than that if you let them.

Have a friend or two you can call when you start to doubt yourself. Be honest with them about your self esteem struggles, and let them encourage you when you’re feeling stuck in your head.

Tip #5: Don’t use people to make yourself feel better.

Some parts about dating are truly wonderful, such as feeling cared for, desired, and liked (maybe even loved).

That kind of romantic attention from someone can make you feel better about yourself in the short run. However, when you know your self esteem isn’t top notch, be careful that you aren’t counting on those feelings from someone else to make you feel good.

Although the person you’re with can absolutely contribute to your happiness, they shouldn’t be responsible for 100% of your emotional wellbeing.

Remember: None of us are perfect, and you don’t have to be perfect in order to meet someone and establish a healthy relationship. You’re a work in progress, and that’s a wonderful place to be!


Tangible steps to increase your self esteem regardless of your relationship status

Are you tired of your self esteem fluctuating with your ever-changing life circumstances?

Do you feel frustrated with how your ups and downs impact your love life?

If so, know that you are not alone and we’re here to help. In fact, Introverted Alpha was founded for men exactly like you. Keep reading!

Here’s what you need to do

So that you can make sure your confidence increases for good, follow these easy steps…

  1. For more advice about confidence and dating leadership, check out this excellent collection of articles.
  2. Download our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead” to build steadfast confidence!
  3. For more personalized support, consider our Magnetic Confidence program.

As an introverted man, do you sometimes wonder if you can ever be attractive to women or if you’ll always be seen as “the nice guy”?

Perhaps you feel like you’re missing out on certain aspects of your life because you’re trying to please other people and you forgot (or even never found out!) what exactly *you* want.

If this all sounds familiar, Magnetic Confidence was designed specifically for you. We’ll help you…

  • Get noticed by quality women,
  • Replace “nice guy” patterns with genuine strength, and
  • Develop an unshakable sense of self.

Let’s start building your very own sense of magnetic confidence today!

How to Date When You’re Feeling Low Self-Esteem

By Ella Dawson

As we navigate year three of pandemic life, many of us are feeling the strain. According to the World Health Organization, rates of anxiety and depression increased worldwide by 25% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heightened feelings of uncertainty and isolation can make it hard to feel your best while dating. 

Psychologist Dr. Guy Winch says that our ability to meet new people, as well as absorb rejection, are muscles just like any other—and we’re out of practice. “Our social skills are skills, and therefore they can get rusty when we don’t use them,” he says. This is compounded by the fact that dating right now is also a little different. “People are overwhelmed and hitting their breaking points, so they’re less reliable, disappear more, and reschedule more,” says psychologist Dr. Liz Powell. The important thing to remember if you’re feeling frustrated and disheartened is that this isn’t about you, or only happening to you. 

If you’re ready to get back out there, or need some extra motivation to keep looking for the right person, here’s what experts recommend.

Make sure you’re in the right headspace to date

Have an honest conversation with yourself about if you’re ready to date, and keep checking in on that decision as you go. “Dating and all the rejection and uncertainty it involves can be huge triggers for our mental health,” says Allison Raskin, author of Overthinking About You: Navigating Romantic Relationships When You Have Anxiety, OCD, and/or Depression. “If you start to notice that dating and all the risk that comes with it is bringing up negative thoughts for you, it’s probably a sign that you need to take a step back from diving into the dating pool. ” Instead, refocus that energy on your mental health, find coping mechanisms that work for you, and come back to dating when you feel ready. 

Some folks are self-conscious about “lost” time during the pandemic and falling behind their peers when it comes to dating. But you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to “catch up” to where you think you’re supposed to be if you’re just not feeling it right now. “It’s important for people not to date because they feel they ‘should,’” says clinical psychologist Sarah Coe-Odess. “If someone has recently gone through a breakup or feels overwhelmed by the dating process, it’s not only okay, but also advised, to go at a pace that is comfortable.” Don’t be afraid to hit pause on swiping until you’re in a better place. (You can always use Bumble’s Snooze feature to take some time off.)

Before a date, remind yourself that you’re a catch

While you get ready for your date, take some time to think about how great you are. No, really! “You need to recognize that you have something valuable to bring to a relationship before you can really start showing up in a healthy way when dating,” says Raskin. If singing your own praises feels goofy and you aren’t sure where to start, Dr. Winch recommends the following self-affirmation exercise: “Make a list of five qualities you know you have that would be very valuable in a relationship.” Then, before your date, write about why this quality is important, and how it might be valued by a partner. For example, “I’m emotionally available, and that’s valuable because it allows other people to lower their guard more and be more vulnerable,” explains Dr. Winch.

During your date, get in the boss mindset

When we’re feeling nervous and insecure, it’s easy to get wrapped up in whether or not you’re impressing your potential match. But chatting with someone new is a chance to evaluate whether this person is the right fit for you. “Remember that compatibility involves two people and is not solely a reflection on one person,” says Dr. Coe-Odess. “Instead of focusing so much on what the other person feels, it’s also important to focus on how you feel.”

Dr. Winch suggests approaching a first date like a job interview where you’re in charge. “On a date, yes, you’re the interviewee, but you’re also the boss. Put yourself in the boss mindset rather than the interviewee mindset,” he says. This will help you feel less self-conscious and allow you to pay attention to your date and your potential connection. You can bring this approach to conversations on Bumble as well. Instead of stressing about sending the perfect message to a new match, ask yourself if you like what they bring to the table. Don’t let your nerves distract you from what really matters: whether or not you feel a genuine connection.  

Refuse to take rejection personally

Sometimes a connection or a date doesn’t work out, and it’s easy for our imagination to spiral with reasons we weren’t good enough. But the last thing you should do is see a mismatch as a reflection of your value. “There’s no reason to assume it’s you,” says Dr. Winch. “Assume it’s them, because that’s much more likely. You don’t know what’s going on in their lives.”

Besides, even if the rejection was a little personal, that doesn’t mean that the other person’s opinion is all that important. Reach out to your personal hype squad for help remembering how awesome you are, or turn to a hobby that brings you comfort and satisfaction. “The more you fill your own cup, the more you have to give to others, and the easier it’ll be to let those flaked-on dates and dropped text chains roll off your back,” says Dr. Powell. 

At the end of the day, dating should be a fulfilling and fun experience. You deserve to spend your energy on people who make you feel more connected to your wonderful, lovable self. 

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Can't meet because of low self-esteem. I'll probably die alone

Requests for helpWrite your story

I feel bad. I cry every day. The soul seems to be cut and burned. Eternal negativity, apathy and fatigue. I am attracted to girls, I can’t get to know them because of low self-esteem. I kind of look at myself through their eyes and see some kind of insignificance. I'm like a cripple. I think I'm redundant here. I'll probably die alone. I see no point in living any longer. I can’t find the strength to throw off these thoughts and not worry about the fact that I have been almost completely alone for 7 years now. I really miss tenderness. It turns out. I'm a freak nine0005

Igor, age: 02/23/2016


Hello, Igor! What are your complex conclusions about yourself based on: subjective opinion, reflection in the mirror, other people's words? What exactly does not suit you in yourself and how do you work on it? there is no point in doing it (tested on myself) Good luck!

Tatyana, age: 42 / 02/27/2016

Igor, do not cheat! We are all imperfect, from appearance to personality. But we are all GREAT! Everything will be when the time comes. Be more confident in yourself, be capable of actions, make decisions. This is the most valuable thing in a man.
I advise you to visit the temple, pray to find a good bride. (a good, faithful girl is also the fruit of prayer). Be sincere, love, help and try to become better. Everything will work out! I believe in you!
God help you

Nenna , age: 20 / 27.02.2016

Hi Igor! Your problem is very common among young people. But losing life is not an option, it is much more correct to deal with this situation. You are a man and must act even if it is hard to overcome yourself. You must not give up in the face of difficulties. Therefore, the first thing you do not need to do is scold yourself and call bad names. This will not lead to anything good, it will be really hard to get to know each other if you treat yourself like that. The fact that it is difficult to get to know each other is nothing more than a character trait, and you don’t need to scold yourself for this. The second thing to do is to determine the reason for such an attitude towards yourself. What exactly do you dislike about yourself? Think and try to fix it. When it comes to appearance, it is quite possible to think about how to change yourself. Go in for sports, change your hair or buy new fashionable clothes. By doing this, you will definitely feel more confident. And one more thing worth doing - think not only about your minuses, but also your strengths. Every person has them, you just need to think about what they are specifically for you. And with new acquaintances, think about them, and not about a possible failure. I hope these tips help you. Remember: you can meet everywhere. This is not only the Internet, but also a variety of places where you can meet people of the opposite sex. The main thing when meeting you is to behave calmly, attentively and with interest in the girl. I'm sure you will succeed in this. Good luck! nine0003

Michael, age: 28 / 27.02.2016

Igor, think about how many girls have the same thoughts. And they are just waiting for someone to approach them to meet them. And these are not necessarily ugly girls (although beauty is a very relative concept), they just have the same low self-esteem as you do (the reason is childhood, school, etc.). I’ll tell you a secret: in fact, 99% of girls are happy when they are approached to get acquainted, because this means that they liked them. Another thing is that outwardly some may, on the contrary, react negatively (if they are very young, or not very smart, or not free). But these are only a few. In general, getting acquainted on the Internet is really a topic, not so scary. nine0003

You're only 23, it's a lot of time, don't worry.

Gretta, age: 02/27/2016

Dear Igor, it is absolutely in vain that you wind yourself up like that. You can't even imagine how many shy and shy girls there are in the world. Don't be so shy, be bold man! Even if it doesn’t work out once or twice, you shouldn’t withdraw into yourself and lose heart. You are very kind and thoughtful. There will definitely be a girl who will appreciate your feelings. Do you know how the world lacks kind and reliable men? And I know. Even though I am lonely and not young anymore, I still believe that one day I will meet a kind, intelligent and strong-willed man. I wish you strength and optimism. You're young. Everything will surely work out. nine0003

Inna, age: 45/02/27/2016

Hello Igor. Just because you don't like yourself doesn't mean that you can't please someone else. To arrange a personal life, you need to strive, search, try, but just sitting at home and hiding, you can stay alone for another 7 years, and then another 7. I don’t know what you have with your appearance, but there are clearly pluses and they are obvious - you young, healthy, hardworking, kind. Forget about your complexes, go to crowded places more often, meet on normal sites, lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Good luck in all your endeavors! nine0003

Irina, age: 28 / 27. 02.2016

Hello! You are not alone in this world, look at different forums and find communication according to your interests, do not become sour, everything will be fine

song, age: 02/28/2016

Hello) you have the power to change everything as you want, if not immediately, but slowly go towards your goal (what you would like to be) it is possible, the main thing is to move forward. Start somewhere, it's up to you. And remember, you are not quite the only one, unfortunately there are many of them in our country, everyone goes through this! Don't kill yourself so find strength in yourself) good luck

Sasha, age: 16 / 28.02.2016

I try to approach girls. I see how they look at me. They definitely don't like me. They look as if in bewilderment and with hidden contempt. "Yes, are you kidding? with you? to get acquainted?" The last girl I approached agreed to meet, gave me exactly her mobile number, and then put it on the ignore list when I called to arrange a meeting, invite her for a walk. I think here's how to do it. To score or try again to get to know her and find out everything. Suddenly, the parents are strict or she screwed something up. Her ears were slightly larger than usual. But in general, the girl is cool, and I also liked her ears. The eyes are so smart and kind.. I don't know what to do. I want to die. How cool, strong, smart and original I need to be just to get myself a girlfriend and be humanly happy. nine0003

Igor, age: 23/03/2016

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Where is the low self -esteem actually come from and how to fix it?


Low self-esteem (which is formed due to childhood traumas, biological characteristics and bad life experiences) can be dealt with. The scientific director of the psychological center "Quality of Life", a specialist in the field of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy Alexander Erichev told Sobaka. Ru what steps will help to do this. nine0082

Causes of low self-esteem

People with low self-esteem always have negative deep-seated beliefs about themselves. They appear in the process of life experience - including if a person has faced a large number of punishments, prohibitions, insults, neglect. The first group of such beliefs is associated with defectiveness ("I'm somehow not like that"), the second - with helplessness ("I'm weak") and the third - with the lack of love ("they don't like me").

Negative beliefs often arise when childhood is not satisfied basic needs. First of all, the need for love and acceptance. For example, at the time of the birth of a child, maternal feelings did not awaken at the mother, and the father generally disappeared in an unknown direction. Another situation is emotional deprivation from parents. For example, they were not used to expressing warm feelings, were less emotional than other families.

Quite often people suffer from low self-esteem, who seemed to have quite good support in the family, but got into a situation of prolonged bullying. For example, at school, such a situation can seriously change the perception of oneself. The man, remembering the time of persecution, says that he felt fear and helplessness. He was in a state of chronic stress for a very long time, and this negative experience stuck with him. nine0003

When a person's self-esteem is distorted, he finds even more evidence in events that he is bad

There are also biological preconditions for low self-esteem to become fixed in a person . For example, a dandelion baby and an orchid baby can be born in the same family. "Dandelion" will grow through the asphalt and will be less sensitive to environmental factors. Such a child will more easily cope with the same bullying. And the orchid child, who, for biological reasons, is more vulnerable and shy, will not be able to resolve this situation, perhaps he will not even seek support from his parents. We must not forget that we all have different types of nervous system. We are different from each other even at birth, and then life also leaves its serious imprint. The production of hormones changes, stress reactions are fixed. nine0003

Distortions in personal thinking play a huge role in our self-esteem. We all perceive the same situation differently. Recent studies show that even our memories should not be trusted, because they are seriously distorted, including under the influence of our emotions. So, if a person has a distorted personal self-esteem, and he feels weak, helpless, defective and lazy, then he will also perceive all the events that happen to him in a distorted way. And find more and more evidence that he is bad. nine0003

One person with low self-esteem will avoid contact with the opposite sex out of fear, while another, on the contrary, will have a huge number of casual relationships

What bad thoughts about ourselves lead to

in addition, the person himself tries to protect himself from them by a set of rules. That is, he seeks to prevent the confirmation of his fears and fears. For example, if he thinks that he is unloved, then what strategies of behavior will he demonstrate? They can be completely opposite. One will avoid contact with the opposite sex for fear of being rejected anyway. The other will choose a different behavior: on the contrary, he will have a huge number of casual connections, and he will perceive each acquaintance as a trophy. In appearance, he will seem confident and impudent, but in fact, behind this behavior, hide his negative attitudes towards himself. Such rules that a person has created for himself can be different. For example, a person decides that he must always be polite. Or if he is criticized, it immediately means that he is bad. And if he doesn't try his best, he won't achieve anything. nine0003

A person with low self-esteem attributes all failures to himself, and success to chance

To assess your self-esteem, ask yourself a series of questions. Has your life experience taught you to value yourself for who you are? Do you have a good opinion of yourself? Do you take good care of yourself and take care of yourself? Do you like yourself? Do you value both your strengths and weaknesses equally? Are you quite satisfied? Do you feel entitled to other people's attention and time? Do you judge yourself the same way you judge others – no more, no less? Are you more inclined to encourage yourself than engage in self-criticism? nine0003

When working on self-esteem, one should not strive for it to become inflated and fly away into space. This is also not good. When we deliberately make unrealistic demands of ourselves and declare something like “I am the king of the world,” the more often reality tells us that something is wrong with our beliefs about ourselves. High self-esteem is often unstable, so external circumstances can easily unsettle a person. And you need to strive first of all for stability and learn to support yourself. nine0003

A person is more likely to conditionally “get” depression or an anxiety disorder if he attributes all failures to himself, and attributes all positive things to chance. Namely, this is usually done by a person with low self-esteem.

It is easy to track and stop unjustified criticism of yourself

What to do? Stop criticizing yourself, punish yourself

Psychotherapists identify several modes, that is, emotional states, which we enter from time to time. One of the unhealthy is the regime of a critical or punishing parent. In it, we force ourselves to experience feelings of inferiority and guilt, point out that we owe something. At the same time, we criticize for such trifles for which we would never scold others. And we punish in those moments when we really need help.

You can easily see how this mode turns on. It additionally supports low self-esteem or even lowers it even more. For example, when you say to yourself: “Could have done better”, “Why is this not so good?”, “Is that all you did?”, “Others can, and you can”. You also present the results of your work as some kind of nonsense. Others praise you, but you think: “No, it seemed to them, I just got lucky.” nine0003

Learn to turn off your inner critic mode and be more supportive of yourself

The good news is that we can easily detect and stop unreasonable self-criticism and devaluation in ourselves. This skill is quite possible to develop even without the help of a psychotherapist. Although it can take a decent amount of time. Try to observe your critical parent for at least a week. You will most likely notice that he appears even when you shouldn't be scolding yourself. nine0003

Try translating self-criticism into self-compassion. Instead of the desire to punish and condemn yourself, you should switch to the desire to correct the situation and achieve a better result. Instead of looking to the past, look to the future and try to figure out what can be done now. Shift the focus from your mistakes to your strengths and resources, and instead of frustration, anger, and anxiety, try to be supportive of yourself.

Learn to express emotions, both negative and positive

Stand up for your boundaries and rights

Develop assertiveness - the ability to stand up for your boundaries and rights so as not to destroy someone else's personal space. It is believed that assertive behavior quite clearly correlates with adequate self-esteem. What does it include? Open and sincere expression of positive emotions, as well as open (but adequate) expression of negative ones. We need to learn how to properly express our negative emotions - this is very important. Assertiveness also includes the ability to self-defense and the ability to say “no”. Quite often, when we feel anxious and helpless inside, we agree to things that are obviously unpleasant for us. And then we begin to blame ourselves: “How could you, you definitely had to refuse, why didn’t you refuse, you could pull yourself together!” Assertiveness also includes initiative, the ability to offer, ask, respect one’s own dignity - now this is beautifully called such a term as “proactivity”. nine0003

Often we can't say "no" to a person and end up blaming ourselves more for it

Practice assertive behavior other than "You're a rag, come on!" , but in the style of "You're worried, but let's try to take a small step now." It is also worth praising yourself for trying, even if it has not yet been successful. For example, you failed to deny, although you tried to do so. Or you said “no” but the other person insisted that you say “yes”. But this is already a reason to tell yourself that you have practically succeeded, although not yet completely. nine0003

Take care of your needs

Learn to take care of yourself and your needs (again, without overstepping other people's boundaries). This is probably the most difficult advice, because it requires a fairly good level of awareness. You can learn this slowly - you feel that you want to drink water and drink it. Try to listen to more ambiguous needs and feel your desires.

Imagine praising yourself as your favorite child

Learn self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is the extent to which we are aware of our ability to cope with certain circumstances. If we feel that the world is so inexplicable and cruel that we cannot do anything, then naturally we will evaluate ourselves worse. If we perceive our ability to act, this gives us significant help and support. For me, a good example of self-efficacy is independent travel. At first you are scared, and then you get the feeling that the world around you is quite friendly, that you can easily deal with the transport network and find yourself a place to sleep. nine0003

Support yourself and celebrate your achievements

It is important that support and praise in your address does not turn into something like: "I'm so cool." Think about what you can support yourself for today? What good did you do during the day? Imagine that you yourself, as your beloved child, say good words. At the same time, praise can be not only for certain successful actions. For example, I survived a difficult situation, I coped with it - this is also a reason for praise. It will be good if it becomes your tradition to notice your achievements. nine0003

Build goals in accordance with personal values ​​

To reinforce an adequate and stable self-esteem, you need to learn to look for your values. Note that values ​​are not goals. For example, buying a car is a goal. And what could be the value here? Freedom of movement, travel. The goal can be achieved and after that it will not be. And the value is unattainable, this is a certain stage of the path. It is very important to understand what your values ​​are and, if possible, build your life in this direction. But do not turn it into a radical search for "one's destiny." This is a dangerous and wrong situation. nine0003

Some of our values ​​may conflict with each other. For example, it is important for you to travel and develop, while you dream of children.

Learn more