Often, the reason that we get into drinking socially as we come of age is that it makes us more confident. We are at a time in our lives when we may have fragile self-esteem and we are still figuring out what kind of person we are. This liquid courage gives us a glimpse into what it’s like to not care so much about what people think and to let our guard down and open up to others.
When we drink, our brains release dopamine, the chemical that we experience when we get a promotion, play sports, compete in things – it makes us feel powerful and confident. Alcohol also reduces our inhibitions, so the part of our brain that inhibits behaviour doesn’t work as well, which means we are more likely to make impulsive decisions instead of thinking them through.
But without alcohol, how could I possibly pick up?
This boosted confidence can help us when it comes to dating. It can be hard to approach someone you are attracted to, especially in this day and age where people are stuck to their screens and rely on dating apps to communicate. What do we even say? Will they think we are weird for just going up to them? Alcohol gives you this new-found sense of ‘fuck it, I have nothing to lose’. You walk right up to them with a spring in your step and often you say anything you want to say. But that can sometimes backfire. When you’re intoxicated you may not be able to pick up on social queues or someone not being into you. You may also mistake real connection with lust and do something you regret in the morning. Sometimes the people who meet when they are both drinking need the alcohol to be able to connect. Without it, there is not really anything deeper there.
Wouldn’t it be great to be the confident, best version of yourself in a social situation and not have to rely on alcohol to do the job for you?
A lot of the time we put this pressure on ourselves to perform and be a fun, bubbly person all the time when we are out and about. However, sometimes, that just isn’t us and that pressure can turn into drinking for the wrong reasons.
So, how can I be confident without alcohol?
- Be happy with who you are
- Move your body!
- Be friendly and approachable
- Notice the self-destructive mind chatter
- Dress to impress (yourself)
- Real connections
- You don’t have to always be confident
- It’s okay to fail
Breathing deeply can help calm the nervous system. When you want to approach someone or you need to be extroverted for an event, taking long, deep breaths can help make you feel calm and ready to take on the situation.
It is all about having self-confidence. If you believe that you are not smart enough, not attractive enough, not funny enough, then others will believe this too. Try to accept yourself and focus on what you ARE good at, and what you offer instead of what you lack.
Exercise makes you feel sexier. Physical activity releases endorphins and makes you feel strong and fit, which helps you feel better about how you look because you are feeling great on the inside!
When socialising, it is always better to be friendly and warm to people, be interested in them and ask questions. You could offer a little bit about yourself and try to find some common ground of connection. Try to smile at people more when you are out. This will help people be more attracted to you and want to talk or hang around you more, which will boost your self-confidence.
Acknowledge when you start talking to yourself in a negative way. For example, you could meet someone you wanted to ask out on a date and you automatically start thinking, ‘oh, they will never like me, I’m not (insert self-deprecation adjective here)’. Notice if you start doing this and change that sentence around. Try thinking something like, ‘there is a great chance they will be into me because I am a really caring person and I have a great smile’.
Wear something that makes you feel the most comfortable and stylish. Your favourite shirt or a dress that hugs the right places. Apply your favourite scent and put on shoes that you love. Dressing up doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and buy a really expensive outfit. It is about wearing whatever you feel the best and most comfortable in. If you can’t walk in the 11-inch heels, put on some flat sandals so you can dance all night long instead of rubbing your feet at the table or walking home, shoes in hand.
When you are not drinking too much you actually have more chance of making real and lasting connections with someone. You listen better and you can take in what they are saying. You get to know them and they get to know you, so the next time you run into them or see them out, you’ll remember something they told you and it’s not all a blur.
Maybe you are not the most extroverted person in the room and that is okay. Alcohol doesn’t have to be used as a tool to help you come out of your shell. If that’s just not who you are then you don’t have to use a drug to make you be someone you are not. If you want to rock up to an event and eat some food and say hi to a few people and then leave, then you do you.
Not getting the client, not winning the girl – it is okay if you are rejected or you don’t succeed. You cannot always get what you want and, mostly, it is for the better. Make way for new things and learn to be humble.