When I was in college, I had a friend who had a gift with women. This wasn’t because he was a particularly attractive guy. He’s a pale guy who has never been in perfect shape and is about two inches shorter than the average women. My friend wasn’t any wealthier than any other college student or more intelligent. Yet somehow he was able to have fantastic luck with girls.

One night, after a few beers, I asked him what his secret was.

“Confidence,” he said. “You don’t need any tricks or moves. Just be confident.”

I remember thinking, Well, duh! That’s basic dating advice. But the reason why some guys aren’t able to get a first, second or third date usually boils down to a lack of confidence. It’s not a matter of just being “too nice.” Women appreciate a man who is self-assured.

Becoming a Better Man

You might think that the best way to become more confident is to just act like you are confident. Fake it until you make it, right?

I’m sure that you’ve met people that you thought were “fake.” It’s obvious when you try to be someone that you are not. Any woman would think the same thing if you tried to lie about who you are to her. It might take a week or a month, but she will eventually realize that you are trying to hide who you are.

The best way to become more confident is to become a better man. Which sounds far easier than it is. There is no magic fix for this or overnight solution. You have to really want to change.

You probably have had someone tell you, “Just be yourself.” That’s sound advice. But here’s better advice: “Be the best version of yourself that you can be.” You don’t have to become Johnny Depp or use lame pickup techniques to attract women. If you can project a confident and intriguing persona, you don’t need anything else to make women want to date you.

Look in the Mirror

man looking at himself in the mirror

Becoming a better man starts by taking a good look at yourself. This doesn’t mean searching only for negative traits that you need to improve on. Look at yourself and think about what you like about yourself and what you want to improve on.

To project confidence, you have to be happy with yourself first.

A good start is by getting into shape and exercising. Studies have shown that people who exercise have a greater sense of self-worth. Physical activity will also make you feel good psychologically. This boosts your confidence. 1 You don’t have to exercise to the point where you look like a Greek god or underwear model. Don’t get me wrong, looking like King Leonidas will not hurt your odds. But it’s not necessary. It’s all about making you feel better about yourself!

How you dress is important as well. A clean, well-fitting shirt goes a long way—nobody wants to date a slob with stains all over his shirt. Not to mention that when you think that you look good, you’re going to feel better about yourself. 2 And other people will notice that you look good as well and compliment you on your appearance.

A crucial part of looking and feeling more confident is how you carry yourself. Posture is important. There is even a study that proves bad posture can affect your mood negatively. 3 So, what should you do? Sit up straight in your chair when you’re with others. Don’t hunch your shoulders over when you walk. Instead, walk with some confidence. You’ll attract more smiles and attention from women that way.

Get Out and About

Making yourself look and feel better is an important step toward making you more attractive to women. But that alone is not enough. Even if Channing Tatum sat at home on the couch all day, he wouldn’t attract anyone. You have to put effort in to meet and attract women.

The Internet adds a revolutionary way for you to meet more women. Don’t be afraid of dating websites, such as Match.com and OkCupid. Online dating is the second most popular way to meet someone nowadays.4 And there are plenty of women on these sites that are looking for the same thing that you are.5 The most important thing to keep in mind is to not get discouraged. You won’t get responses back from every person that you message. In fact, the number of messages that you receive will seem so low that you might begin to question whether or not it’s even worth it. Don’t worry about that. Sick with it and send out thoughtful messages to every girl you are interested in. You will have success.

The other mistake some guys make is thinking that they have to meet women in a particular place, like at a bar or a club. Don’t fall for that. You can meet women everywhere. All you have to do is talk to women and get to know them! If you’re standing next to a cute girl waiting in line for coffee or at the grocery store, talk to her about something. And if the conversation goes well, ask for her number. You don’t have to get a date with her right away—just meet new people.

Another fantastic way to meet women is by picking up a new hobby. Try something you have never done before and talk with other people. You could take up hiking, join a book club or take a cooking class—anything, really! Browse websites such as Meetup.com for ideas and ways to meet with new people. They have passed well over 100 million “RSVPs” on their website, so you know that you’ll be able to find a group.6

Don’t forget that your friends and colleagues can be a valuable resource as well. If you have become a confident man, you’ll have colleagues that want to set you up with women. Don’t brush these people off! Give them a chance. And while it’s not necessarily a good idea to mix work with pleasure, office relationships are still responsible for about 10% of eventual marriages.7

Early Dating

Just because you’ve scored a couple of dates with a few women doesn’t mean that your journey to becoming a better man is over. The most difficult step after you have met someone is keeping her interested. Learning how to date better can help you keep your self-esteem up and also make her want you even more.

It’s important to listen during every date, especially during your first few.8 You shouldn’t be dominating the conversation, especially on a first or second date. Let her talk and listen so that you get to know her. Maintain eye contact and smile. Ask her questions about the things that she’s passionate about.

If you find yourself agreeing with your date that Sex in the City is the greatest movie of all time and that you love 50 Shades of Gray, you might have a problem. Don’t just agree with everything she says. No two people are exactly alike and you and your date are old enough to know this.9 The right kind of woman will respect you for being your own person.

Tell her your passions as well. Maybe you love Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. You might even have an odd hobby, such as coin collecting. Never be afraid to talk about the things you love on a date. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate. In fact, it’s proven that people who display passion are more attractive!10 If you’re planning on dating this woman, she’ll find out about your nerdy interests at some point. Plus, you never know, she might share the same ones!

The last thing to keep in mind when going on dates with women is to be respectful and not pushy, vain or mean. All this accomplishes is that it makes you look insecure, which is unattractive.11 You don’t need to brag to gain her respect. If you just got a new promotion or great new car, keep it to yourself until it comes up naturally. If you don’t make a big deal of it, you’ll impress her even more. Humility is certainly not overrated.

Maintaining Your Standards

Becoming more attractive to women is influenced greatly by your standards. If you act as if everyone is datable, then any girl that knows your dating record will feel like she isn’t anything special to you. Think about what you want in a partner and date that kind of girl. Don’t settle for something less than what you want. This doesn’t mean that you should be setting your sights on Kate Upton and her supermodel gal pals. Look for a girl that can make you happy.

You shouldn’t rush into a new relationship, either. Take things slow and date around. Odds are that she is dating other people as well.12 So, until you’re sure that you’ve found a girl that you want to be with, don’t get into a relationship. If you settle for something less than what you want, both you and the other person will only end up getting hurting in the end.

Don’t act needy or insecure, even if you feel that way. My friend from college was a master at this. If a girl didn’t show interest in him, he would shrug his shoulders, take another swig of beer and move on. Not being able to get over rejection is the most unattractive thing you can do.13 And if you do it in front of other women, you will have effectively reduced your odds to zero for that evening. If a woman tells you she isn’t interested, thank her for being honest and move along.

You should employ the same philosophy when dealing with any girl that doesn’t seem very interested. She might not give you an opportunity to schedule another date. Maybe she won’t respond your calls or texts. Maybe she always seems to be busy when you ask her out. If she does these things once or twice, try again. But if you’ve tried to get a second or third date from a girl three times with nothing to show for it, move on.

You should only invest time in people that will invest time in you. You’ll respect yourself more and so will other women.