Obstacles That Inhibit Your Attractiveness
- 2005 2 Nov
On a planet as big as ours, fun-loving, godly singles are everywhere. So if you are struggling to find the type of person your heart desires, you might consider whether you are part of the problem. Are you making yourself as appealing as possible to the kind of person you wish to date? If you want to go out with someone cute, intelligent, and mature, would that person consider you cute, intelligent, and mature?
People generally gravitate to those like them in attractiveness, character, and beliefs. Therefore, you might be looking for your soul mate in the right places but be ineffective at engaging them. To address this problem, let’s look at five obstacles that can discourage people from wanting to date you, and then we will recognize how the love of Christ can remove these hindrances.
1. Poor Reputation
Have you heard the phrase “your reputation precedes you”? That statement may not sound fair, but your ability to attract mature singles can be spoiled if people regard you as superficial or immature.
Singles who have character generally reserve their affections for other singles with character. In this chapter’s opening story, my friend Tom never considered the possibility that single women might have a bad opinion of him. Yet I had talked with a few of the
girls whom Tom wished to date and learned that his behavior turned them off. They had watched him date several immature women and lost respect for him. The quality of your friends and your past relationships can definitely affect your dating prospects.
Does this mean that you should constantly worry about the opinions of other people? No. Humans are fickle, and you will go crazy if you try to please everyone. Instead, realize that singles decide whom they date based on outward appearances and reputation. Smart singles keep their eyes open for those who display character. When they see them, they approach those individuals and start friendships. Therefore, if you do not exhibit character, you may be driving mature singles away from you.
To examine your reputation, ask yourself, Do I allow Christ to live His patience, honesty, and humility through me? In addition, when Jesus urges you to consider the needs of others, do you follow those promptings, or do you concentrate on yourself? Pure passion allows Christ to live His sacrificial love through you, and that determines not only your character but also how others view you.
Your reputation can suffer when you pursue desires simply to gratify yourself. For instance, if you date just for sex, demand the attention of others, or regularly groan about your problems, people will consider you immature. Your attractiveness to wise singles will diminish. So if you struggle to meet the kind of person your heart prefers, take a look at yourself.
Should you discover that your character is a hindrance to your dating prospects, don’t try to be straightlaced to impress people. A phony reputation is worse than a bad one. Instead, ask Christ to improve your character by living His life through you. Your social standing will not improve overnight, but as you respond to His prompting to be honest, patient, and authentic, people around you will take notice.
2. Negative Demeanor
Sandy was a beautiful young woman, but her beauty faded after her relationship with Ron ended. A year later, her face still reflected the disappointment and frustration of the breakup. Unbeknownst to Sandy, several men had hoped to date her when they heard that she was available. However, when they saw the bitterness on her face, they quickly lost interest.
A person’s demeanor reflects his or her attitudes and thoughts. Accordingly, some singles who have experienced rejection, abuse, or failure still wear the pain on their faces. They look pessimistic or unapproachable. Frankly, this is a turnoff because no one relishes dating someone who seems callous or despondent. Life is hard enough without having to deal with a constantly negative person. For that reason, most people prefer to spend time with someone who is cheerful or helps make life a little more enjoyable.
A happy demeanor attracts people because when you smile, you welcome people into your life. This is why smiling men and women naturally appear more attractive and inviting. A smile helps other people lower their guard and become more sociable.
Why do some singles rarely smile? The problem stems from an insecure or negative self-esteem. If people feel inferior or uncomfortable with themselves, their faces can reflect it. A smile is hard to fake, and a cheerful countenance cannot be fabricated. Instead, a real change has to take place within.
If you have difficulty smiling or enjoying humor, your negative demeanor can deter other singles from socializing with you. How can you change your countenance? Lasting change can occur when you allow the truth of Christ’s unconditional love to liberate you from pleasing others (John 8:32). By resting in His acceptance, your past mistakes or the opinions of your peers no longer determine your self-esteem. You are free to view life from the Lord’s point of view, and He is always positive. Even during your trials, Jesus is excited about the good that will result. This does not imply that you should ignore your grief or hardships. You should accept and deal with tragedy in your life, but remember that Christ always has a positive outlook on your life. To transform a negative demeanor, start by reviewing your spiritual wedding gifts listed in chapter 2.
3. Poor Relational Skills
A third deterrent to attracting desirable singles is a poorly developed set of relational skills. Generally, people avoid spending time with those who are self-absorbed, babble incessantly, or are too shy to talk. We’ve all experienced the strain of socializing with a person who either dominates a discussion or makes you carry the conversation.
Sadly, many singles never receive relational instruction or develop proper social skills. This does not mean, however, that inappropriate behavior has to continue. Anyone can take steps to improve his or her relational manners.
The first step toward growth is to honestly assess how you relate to others. Ask yourself the following questions:
- When I talk to people, does the conversation usually revolve around me?
- Do I allow other people to state their opinions in a discussion?
- Do I forget to ask questions about the other person during a conversation?
- Do I sit shyly and make other people do most of the talking?
- Do I have trouble looking at someone when he or she is talking to me?
If you answered yes to any of these questions or were unsure, your relational skills could be a barrier to your dating life. Before moving on, examine another set of questions:
- Do I know how to show interest in the subjects other people talk about?
- Do I consistently exhibit consideration and respect for the opposite sex?
- Do I know how to read nonverbal cues and end a conversation?
- Do I know how to discover what makes another person feel special?
- When I know what makes a person feel special, do I frequently express it?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may need to cultivate better relational skills. Plenty of resources are available to help you improve how you relate to others. You can read books on interpersonal communication, ask a close friend to make you aware of annoying habits, take classes in social skills, or discuss your situation with a Christian counselor.
When you socialize with people, you have the choice to either love them or use them to meet your needs. Immature behavior could indicate a dependence on others to validate your self-esteem or make you happy. You cannot build good relationships if you neglect the needs of others.
For example, I have a bad habit of chatting with friends and forgetting to ask them anything about their lives. I tend to babble about myself during the entire conversation. To improve how I relate with people, I have asked Christ to prompt my heart when I forget to concentrate on others. Since then, on several occasions I have felt His desire within me to pay better attention to someone else’s concerns.
As you discover your relational tendencies, invite Christ to make you more sensitive to the ways that you interact with others. In addition, consider the interests, wishes, and feelings of others as more important than your own (Philippians 2:3). As you learn to relate in love, you will make yourself a better candidate for a dating relationship.
4. Fear of Rejection
When I graduated from college, I joined a bachelor’s Bible study at my church. We met once a week to pray and study Scripture. Our discussions, however, regularly gravitated to the subject of dating. We sat around bragging about the girls we thought had crushes on us. We even developed individual lists of women whom we considered our “dating all-stars.” Any woman who made our number one spot earned the title of “franchise player;’ which meant we hoped to sign her to a lifetime contract (ladies, that’s sports talk for marriage). As you can tell, we were not role models for maturity. We talked a lot about dating but rarely did much about it. That’s because most of us were either too fearful of rejection or too clueless to effectively ask a girl out.
You cannot blame a dull dating life on a lack of attractive singles if you are too afraid to get involved. If you want to date, you have to get out and meet people. This goes for women as well as men. You will not progress if you are too scared to open up and interact. A fear of rejection will only keep you in a relational rut. To stimulate your social life, look for ways to get involved with other singles and make yourself available.
Rejection in dating is unavoidable because you cannot please everyone. Therefore, expect some disappointment and remember that the success of your dating life does not determine your identity. Your primary need for love is already met in Jesus Christ, and dating relationships are secondary. Jesus says that He unconditionally accepts you even if others reject you. Believe me, He understands rejection because He endured the rejection of the whole world (Luke 23:20-25). This is why Christ’s love can help you overcome your anxiety about failure. Jesus replaces your fear of rejection with the assurance that His passion for you will never change. Let’s examine how Christ’s love can influence the way that you initiate a date.
Tips for Guys When Asking Out a Woman
Guys, I know the feelings of nervousness when asking a woman for a date. I used to stare at the phone, terrified that my voice would crack or that I would run out of things to say. Eventually, though, I had to put aside my fear and take action. Below are a few suggestions that helped me start:
1. First, ask yourself if the woman you want to date has a definite interest in you. For instance, have you had a pleasant conversation with her that lasted for more than a minute? If not, or if you are unclear about her interest level, you might want to take more time to get to know her. Otherwise, you could come across as pushy.
2. Before you ask a woman out, determine what you might share in common, such as hobbies, church, or mutual friends. Use this information to help break the ice when you call her.
3. Plan the activities for a date before you ask a woman out. Women appreciate guys who put some thought and creativity into their time together. See pages 100 – 101 for a list of ideas.
4. At least four days before you want to get together, call her or ask her for a date in person. Do not leave a phone message or send an e-mail because if you don’t hear back from her, you won’t know if she is ignoring you or if she never got your message. If you can’t reach her after two or three phone attempts, wait patiently until you can ask her in person. (You will look desperate if you show up too frequently on her caller ID.)
5. If she says no to your offer, tell her that’s fine and leave her alone. Your self-esteem is not based on her approval of you. Jesus loves you regardless of her answer.
6. If she says yes, pick her up on time, have fun, and act as a gentleman would (open doors for her, compliment her, and pay for everything). Also, don’t rush to judgment about your future together. Months will pass before you really know her.
Tips for Ladies to Get a Guy Interested in You
Ladies, maybe you wonder if asking a man out on a date is prudent. I believe that you are free to try, but I would advise against it for two reasons. First, assertive women are a turnoff to most men. Second, men need to learn how to lead in relationships. If a guy won’t lead in the beginning of a relationship, then he likely will not do so later. If you know a guy whom you wish to date, wait until he asks you out. I know that waiting for a man to call you can be agonizing, but it is worth it in the long run.
However, you do not have to wait passively. If you meet a man who interests your heart, you can do some things to increase the chances that he will call you:
1. When you are around a man whom you like, strike up a conversation with him and attempt to determine his interest in you. As you talk, honestly ask yourself, “Does he truly seem attracted to me?” Generally, you can tell by whether or not he keeps his attention on you.
2. Get involved in some of the same group activities in which the guy you like participates, such as volunteer groups, recreational teams, and Bible studies. This will increase your exposure to him and your chances to talk. However, don’t fake an interest in the activities. Get involved out of a genuine desire.
3. Plan a group activity and invite the guy you like. You can throw a party, have people over for dinner, arrange for a group to go dancing, attend a concert, or watch a sporting event. (Ladies, this tip really works. Ashley used it on me when I was nervous about asking her out.)
4. If you try these methods and the man fails to show an interest in you, then forget him and move on with your life. He was not your only chance at a passionate relationship. Rest in Christ’s love for you and wait to attract another man.
5. When a man does ask you out, clarify his plans. For safety reasons, avoid first-date activities in which you will be alone together. Instead, do something in a public place. See pages 100 – 101 for a helpful list of ideas. Also, if you are uncertain about a guy’s intentions, you might want to meet him for lunch first. Above all, do not give your heart to a man until you have determined his character.
6. Finally, do not be afraid of dating rejection because you believe that you have nothing to offer someone. If you are depressed or focused on yourself, then you probably don’t have much to contribute. However, when you possess integrity and the love of Jesus Christ, you definitely have something to offer another person. You don’t need the most attractive face, the best body, or the most money to be interesting to the opposite sex. Those things are fine, but they do not hold relationships together. Your character and Christ living within you make you worth getting to know.
5. Lack of Appeal
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you do not understand what beauty means to the opposite sex, they might regard you as unappealing. You can impair your dating life if you do not know how to make yourself attractive to the kind of person you want to date. For example, if you hope to date a model, are you attempting to make yourself equally as striking? Or if you want to date someone outgoing and popular, are you also well-known?
If you have trouble getting a date, you may be unaware of what the opposite sex appreciates. Start by asking a trusted friend of that gender for advice on how to improve your appearance. Could you use a makeover or an updated wardrobe? Could you better accentuate your physical assets? Nothing is unspiritual about increasing your allure to other singles.
You don’t need to focus solely on your body to attract the opposite sex. Updating your hairstyle or losing weight can certainly help, but many nonphysical changes can make you more charming. For instance, some women could improve their appeal if they were more feminine, smiled more often, or carried them selves with confidence. Likewise, some men would be a better catch if they were not so macho or self-absorbed. Be honest with yourself and look for ways to become more interesting.
You can also diminish your attractiveness if you are one- dimensional. This means that others consider you boring because you have a limited number of interests or hobbies. If you are not well-rounded, others may have difficulty connecting with you because you have little to talk about or enjoy together. You may need to get involved with popular activities so that you can relate better to people. In addition, consider broadening your range of skills or interests. Pursue new hobbies that fascinate you. Taking steps such as these can enhance your ability to attract mature singles.
Once you discover what appeals to the opposite sex, you will be faced with the question, am I willing to do what is necessary to make myself more attractive? If not, then a big reason why you can’t find a date is yourself. Human love is conditional, so people will rarely accept you just as you are. Thus, part of life on this planet involves pleasing people. In the process, you should not sell out to superficiality. Character is more important. However, taking steps to improve your appeal reveals your ability to sacrifice for another person’s benefit. This kind of selflessness helps to initiate and sustain a passionate relationship.
Finally, be realistic in your expectations of who might find you appealing, but don’t sell yourself short. Pursue someone who captivates your heart. If he or she rejects you for superficial reasons consider it a blessing. That person did you a favor by exposing his or her immaturity before you got deeply involved. Mature Christian singles do not focus entirely upon physical attributes. They appreciate beauty but desire integrity more.
Taken from "Dating With Pure Passion" by Rob Eagar; Copyright 2002 by Rob Eagar; Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR; Used by Permission.
Rob Eagar is a gifted writer and speaker who has helped thousands of singles, young adults and college students build passionate relationships. His message has been featured on the "CBS Early Show," on CNN Radio, and in Christian Single magazine. Rob resides with his wife, Ashley, in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit www.RobEagar.com.