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KevinD

What Makes a Man Appear Unconfident to a Woman?

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(This is an article I wrote for my romantic advice blog for men, The Leading Man.)
 
Renée Wade, who runs a website called The Feminine Woman, posted a question on her Facebook page asking her (mostly female) readers to name what behaviors or body language they observe in men that leads them to think that a guy lacks confidence in himself.
 
Read the full discussion here: http://on.fb.me/1f4lSmS
 
Notice the recurring theme of eye contact in the responses. Renée herself says:
 
"Yes, not looking us in the eye is one — I tend to feel awkward around men if they do that. Especially if they keep darting from 1 second of eye contact to 3 seconds of no eye contact and repeat."
 
Mastering the art of relaxed, easygoing eye contact is critical for forming & sustaining a meaningful connection with a woman.
 
Absent this, you make it hard for a woman to feel at ease with you. She might sense that you're not being completely honest with her — that you might be hiding something — that she cannot trust you.
 
Note too how many women in Renée's discussion refer to a man putting others down, as well as boasting or bragging.
 
Leading men "keep on the sunny side." We do our best to remain positive, upbeat and cheerful at all times. We enjoy making a woman smile; we're here to bring sunshine to her life, and coax laughter from her soul.
 
We don't talk negatively, and we don't ever feel the need to insult anyone (or anything)!
 
I once heard a woman speak very highly of a man she was dating. One of the things she most enjoyed about him was that he didn't talk excessively about himself, and he never bragged or boasted — this despite the fact that she knew he had many legitimate accomplishments & successes to his credit.
 
I'll never forget what she said about him: "He has a lot that he could brag about — but he doesn't."
 
This is a man who exudes confidence! He has nothing to prove, and no one to prove it to. He accepts his own value easily, almost like an axiom.
 
When a person is hellbent on demonstrating to you what an important person they are, you can take it as a sure sign that they are not confident in themselves. Very likely, they suffer from insecurity and/or feelings of inferiority.
 
Here are some additional responses from women in the thread:
 
"Not making direct eye contact, hands all the way in pockets, & bad posture."
 
"Talking loud & about [himself] all the time."
 
"Always looking for approval, puts others down."
 
"Feels the need to one-up others when in a group setting, you can tell he needs to feel like he's the best. A truly confident man wouldn't care what anyone thought."
 
"When he can't look me in the eyes… shy[ness] and confidence don't go hand in hand…"
 
"If he calls your phone 100,000 times a day."
 
"When a man asks you what you think, then changes his responses to play to your answers. Means he is a chameleon, not a man."
 
© 2013 Kevin Delaney
Edited by Kevin Delaney

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We don't talk negatively, and we don't ever feel the need to insult anyone (or anything)!

 

Except, of course, when anyone disagrees with your opinions on romance, challenges your one-size-fits-all generalizations about the genders and relationships, or critically analyses your contradictions, qualifications and unsolicited advice. Then you feel the need to talk negatively and to be very insulting.

Anyway, I think that you should ask women what they think of men who are romance counselor wannabes. In fact, women here at OO have been quite clear in expressing their negative reactions to your behavior. But you don't seem to be interested in listening. Rather, you seem to be hellbent on impressing everyone with what a "leading man" you are. Do you really not see the presumptuousness in your advising men how to behave, and that it's an attempt to "prove" something about yourself? It's a form of "boasting" and "bragging" while trying not to appear to be doing so.

J

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I actually thought this was one of his better posts. It doesn't reference any flawed underlying premises and seems to give good advice: make eye contact and don't be a confrontational braggart.

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But once again, it's about how to appear confident.  Not focusing on how to actually boost one's confidence, but only on how to make a woman think you are confident.  All the things that he lists, does he think that guys who actually do those things do them because they surveyed women to find what makes them seem confident?  All those things are by-products of actually being confident.  That should be the focus, not how to mimic the appearance of confidence.

 

Certainly, if you are generally confident, but out of habit you do one or more of the things on that list, then paying conscious attention to it in an attempt to change it is beneficial.  However, if you just completely lack confidence with women, that would seem to be the root problem to work on.

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All the things that he lists, does he think that guys who actually do those things do them because they surveyed women to find what makes them seem confident?  All those things are by-products of actually being confident.

Not necessarily. Eye contact, for example, tends to be a much more important issue for a woman than it is for a man. A man might fail to make eye contact out of ignorance; it feels awkward for him simply because he is not used to doing so.

 

As you yourself acknowledge, a man can have certain "bad habits" which could give a woman who meets him for the first time a somewhat wrong impression of him.

 

My article is not intended to instruct men who "completely lack confidence with women" on how to "mimic the appearance of confidence." I hope it sheds light on the issue of confidence, and helps a man to deepen his awareness of the subject by looking at it from a female perspective.

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There is no universal male or female prototype. Genders may have very rough tendencies, but a thinking mind renders none of them identical in all people, ie. there are no universal formulas that work with all interpersonal relationships. Many woman may "talk a lot." Many men may not. A superficial conclusion may yield the following advice, "Men, a woman *likes to know you are listening!* Because you don't like to talk and a woman does, make sure she knows you're hearing *her*!" But, what about the men who also like to talk, or the women who don't?

You really shouldn't be following formulas at all. People are individuals. And you shouldn't rely on first impression stereotypes when judging people, for dating or otherwise, as these gender-generalizing advice posts suggest that women are doing with men. If a woman doesn't like you, no amount of panned "leading" which was never a part of your personality to begin with is going to change that. Go find a woman who likes you for yourself.

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Not necessarily. Eye contact, for example, tends to be a much more important issue for a woman than it is for a man. A man might fail to make eye contact out of ignorance; it feels awkward for him simply because he is not used to doing so.

 

As you yourself acknowledge, a man can have certain "bad habits" which could give a woman who meets him for the first time a somewhat wrong impression of him.

 

My article is not intended to instruct men who "completely lack confidence with women" on how to "mimic the appearance of confidence." I hope it sheds light on the issue of confidence, and helps a man to deepen his awareness of the subject by looking at it from a female perspective.

 Self-awarness and introspection is a good point to make. However, another point to make here is that the most important thing is simply being comfortable with whatever. Confidence isn't a staring contest (not implying that's what you're saying) to see who can hold eye contact for the longest. It's being comfortable looking her in the eyes or looking away.

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