Are You too Scared to Find the One?

more! magazine asked me to write a feature exploring the fears and hang ups that hold some women back in their search for Mr Right. From flirting techniques to self esteem boosters my advice hopefully armed readers with the necessary tools to snare their man.


[head] The secret fears that are keeping you single
[sell] Put an end to your relationship drought once and for all…

[Byline] Words: Michelle Garnett

Living the single life is a riot at first, but the novelty of endless girlie nights out soon wears thin. Suddenly it’s as if the world is swarming with loved up couples. Without a man in tow you feel more out of place than Lady Gaga at a Women’s Institute cake sale.

You want a boyfriend… someone to love, who’ll love you back. But why’s it taking so long?

The good news is, there’s nothing wrong with you. What’s happening is that your relationship potential is being secretly stunted by one, or more, deep set fears.

Thankfully, once you pinpoint these fears it’s possible to eradicate them. So before you start having nightmares about living alone with 27 cats for company, read on to discover how to face ’em and fight ’em.
[intro ends]

[xhead] Fear factor number one: “No-one fancies me”
When you’ve been single for a long time you can end up believing that you’re unattractive, boring and completely invisible.

“It’s very common for single girls to feel unconfident and anxious,” says relationship expert Jo Hemmings. “Trouble is it can make you appear stand-offish and not the kind of girl a guy wants to approach.”

Sharon Vickery, founder of agrees. “We have this area within us that says we’re not attractive enough or lovable enough. It points to a lack of self-esteem.”

[xhead] Face your fear:
To boost your self-esteem, look at the things you’ve got going for you. “Ask your friends what they like about you,” says Jo. “Is it your great smile? Is it your sense of fun? And stop comparing yourself to others. All that ‘my friend’s thinner/funnier/taller than me’ stuff will make you feel worse.”

Love coach Cate Mackenzie advises making a special effort with your appearance. “Notice how your clothes make you feel. Merely ‘ok’ is not enough. You want to feel hot, gorgeous and amazing. Each day tell yourself ‘I’m beautiful!’ It’s a technique that works almost immediately and it’ll have a profound effect on every guy you meet.”

[xhead] Fear Factor number two: “I’ve forgotten how to flirt”
A flick of the hair, a flash of a smile… flirting sounds so easy, but when your self-esteem is rock bottom, the prospect is petrifying.

“A fear of flirting arises when people are nervous of rejection. They don’t understand how to flirt without the risk of looking foolish,” explains Jo. “We’re all born with the instinct to flirt but we get out of practice.”

Non-verbal signals account for a whopping 70% of communication so it pays to ensure you’re not giving out any ‘stay away’ vibes. “If you feel afraid to flirt you won’t be able to show your warmth and humour,” warns Cate. “Men need direct signals or they won’t persue you.”

[xhead] Face your fear:
Try to remember the four main stages of flirting. “I call it PETS,” says Jo. “It stands for Position, Eye-contact, Touch and Smile. You need to have the right proximity between you – not too close, not too distant.” Not everyone feels comfortable getting touchy feely, but Jo suggests lightly brushing your own arms or playing with your own hair. “It builds up the intimacy,” she says.

“Remember PETS and you’ll reignite the instinct within. But take it slowly. Don’t go bowling in there with your low cut top. It’s about giving off subtle signals and learning how to recognise the return signals.”

“Sometimes you have to fake it to make it,” she adds. “It’s like stage fright. There’s a voice inside your head saying ‘I can’t do it!’ but you have to say ‘I can!’”

[xhead] Fear Factor number three: “I’m scared of having sex again”
For most of us, the thought of getting intimate with a new man is enough to send us running to the nearest nunnery.

“When it comes to sex there’s often a feeling that we’re being judged on our performance,” says Jo. “We’ve only got our own experiences to draw upon and we worry that we won’t be good enough or won’t do it right. Any habit is hard to break, including the habit of not having sex. Being out of practice makes you nervous, but you won’t have forgotten what to do.”

[xhead] Face your fear:
“Get to know your own body better. Understand what feels good for you so you feel confident telling a new man,” says Jo. “Be relaxed about your body too. People get really wound up about their wobbly bits but the truth is, men are usually so excited they don’t even notice.”

Cate agrees. “If a woman allows a man to have sex with her, he often feels amazed. He won’t be analysing her breast size or bottom. Think about what you want and don’t feel the pressure to rush into anything.”

Cate advises having a massage or buying some sexy lingerie to boost your body confidence. “But if you’re still shy,” adds Jo, “use tea lights. They give a very forgiving light!”

[xhead] Fear Factor number four: “I don’t want to get hurt”
If a previous partner has treated you badly it’s no surprise that you’re finding it impossible to trust again. “This fear is nearly always a result of past experience,” says Jo. “You’re scared of history repeating itself.

“Some girls have really picky shopping lists; things that their man has to have. They’re never going to find someone who fits the bill and so in a way they’re avoiding the risk of being rejected again.”

[xhead] Face your fear:
“Remember that every man is different, so why would history repeat itself,” says Jo. “But if you can detect a pattern, suss out what might have caused it,” she adds.

“The fear will be there anyway, whether you meet a man or not,” says Cat. “So it’s worth feeling it and dealing with it. Get a trusted team around you who can help you handle the process; good friends who you can talk to before a date.”

Jo stresses that optimism is key. “If you have a negative attitude you’ll give off a vulnerable aura which means the chances of getting hurt are much greater.”

But Sharon advises keeping it real too. “You will get rejected at times,” she says. “It’s the nature of the beast. But make sure you’re actively choosing a man, and not the one who’s being chosen. It gives you the power. You’ll be the one doing any rejecting – and when you do, just you watch them come running back!”


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