In high school, when the entire calculus class looked clueless about the necessity of integrals in our everyday lives, our teacher, Mr. Opre, told us to “talk the talk and walk the walk” until we started to actually understand how this newfangled way of calculating the area actually worked.  What ever happened to length times width?  At first, I didn’t know what he was talking about, but what he meant was that we needed to go through the motions (as in, just follow the mathematical steps) until it started to feel like we actually knew what we were doing.  And slowly but surely, his advice worked, and I was calculating the area under a curve like it was my calling in life.

What does all of this have to do with dating?  Some of us are jaded by the dating process, and some of us are feeling insecure about getting back out there.  Some of us may feel like we lost a sense of ourselves in our last relationship, so we need to get back into the things we love to do… but what were they?  If anything here sounds like it might be true, then I’m going to give the same advice that the sage Mr. Opre gave: Talk the talk and walk the walk.  Eventually, things will start to catch up with you.

There was an article in Scientific American in 2011 called, “Smile! It Could Make You Happier.”  Doesn’t this seem counterintuitive?  Don’t you smile because you feel happy, and not the other way around?  Maybe not.  Psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people whose ability to frown is diminished by cosmetic botox inject­ions are happier, on average, than people who can frown.  The researchers gave a questionnaire to 25 women, half of whom had received frown-inhibiting botox injections.  The botox recipients reported feeling happier; more importantly, they did not report feeling any more attractive, suggesting that the emotional effects were not driven by a psychological boost that could come from the treatment’s cosmetic nature.

So, if smiling can make you happier, can talking the talk and walking the walk make you more confident in your dating life?  I’d venture to say yes.  Most things in life are all about framing.  Let’s say someone asks, “What do you like to do for fun?”  You have two options: You could look down on yourself, saying something like, “Oh, I don’t know.  I guess I like to do my crossword puzzle every day and play lots of Words with Friends.  That’s about it.”  Or, you could own it and talk the talk of confidence, even if you’re not feeling it quite yet.  “I’m trying to get into some new activities, but for now, I’ve rediscovered my love for crossword puzzles and word games.  I love challenging my brain!”  Which person would you rather date?

If you feel jaded or insecure, when you get to that date, it’s important that you exude some level of confidence.  Rather than the person across the table thinking, “Ugh – she really doesn’t think very highly of herself,” or, “She must have been on one too many bad dates recently,” he’ll instead think, “Wow – I can’t believe she made time for me tonight!”

So, talk the talk, walk the walk, and calculate some integrals.  (Ok, that last one is optional.)  Thanks, Mr. Opre!

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include: writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.
  1. I recently became a widow and don’t want to feel like I didn’t love my husband or start forgetting him. But I feel I want to be with someone and start my new life and move on. Otherwise it is too painful. I am lonely and don’t want to be alone. I want happiness and to feel love and be alive again. Am I wrong or too desperate? Dating is tiresome and hard and I feel very insecure about myself but don’t want to show that side. I want to excel my confidence instead.

  2. I have recently joined Jdate and am finding it hard to connect with anyone. I send e-mails to prospective guys who I think may be a possible connection and do not receive and responses back. The few responses I have gotten back say they will call or e-mail me and seem interested and then I do not hear back from them. I don’t get it. I want to know what I am doing wrong to not get anyone responding to my profile?

  3. I met someone I really care now from on line dating, we had a good time together for the past two months, at the beginning of dating I didn’t have feeling so I kind of hesitated going out with him and it happened that was the beginning of the school year I was busy with work even at the weekend. But I still made weekend time to be with him because I think he is a good person and I should give myself chance to get to know him. With more and more communication and activities together I started to like him more. But last week, I started to be less busy so I sent him more text message than before, my intention is to do sharing and have more communication with him, but he seems not comfortable of receiving my text. He didn’t feel as if he mattered to me, he thought I was just bored and lonely so I texted him. But that is not the truth. I tried to explain to him but he seemed tired and didn’t feel like to listen. I don’t know what I can do to make him understand I do care about him . Any advice?

  4. I have joined jdate for about 5-6 months and I am messaging girls and sending them flirts but none of them seem to be responding back. I dont understand. I mean why dont respond to any of my messages? At least a im not interested instead of ignoring the whole thing. If someone could give me advice as to how to approach theses messages, I would greatly appreciate it. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. I dont understand why they wont even give a chance.

    Even after reading their profile and it seems like we have quite a bit common, there is still no response. What gives?

  5. I was married for 18 years. happy for first couple, tried to fix the marriage for next 13 years and 3 years of planning to end it until I had no choice but to do whats right for my kids.
    I went on Jdate 6 months later and that first week met someone. we almost saw each other everyday for a year and half. He moved in with me and my kids. took vacations together. We were crazy in love. Planned to get engaged till I found out that he was cheating on me 🙁
    I am heart broken and worse than that dont know at age 42 with 3 kids if I can ever trust anyone in my life! I joined Jdate again couple days ago and got many responses, but when I respond back it seems like all they are interested in is my appearance. How can I ever meet someone who loves me for who I am? How can I ever trust that my other half will not lie and cheat on me?
    so I am” talking the talk ” again. But I am not sure if there is anyone I can trust out there.

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