Confidence doesn’t come naturally to most people. In fact, most of us are our own worst critics, and our negative self-perceptions may rub off on how others view us (which is not very helpful when you’re on the dating scene). The truth is, real self-confidence requires practice and perseverance. If you’re getting back into the dating game and wanting to attract the right kind of men, practice these eight confidence-boosting strategies.

1. Practice Public Speaking

Join a Toastmasters club to practice public speaking and boost your self-confidence. The supportive, learn-by-doing environment gives you a space to make mistakes and learn from them before practicing in real life. According to an interview with psychologist Ronald Siegel for Psych Central, facing your fear of speaking in front of others will help you develop the courage to face many of life’s other difficult challenges with much greater ease and confidence.

2. Start a Business

Starting a business with a company like Amway will help you face and overcome your fear of rejection. The more you experience rejection, the less likely you are to take it personally and allow it to disrupt your self-image.

3. Makeover Your Closet

It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a few new pieces that fit great and make you feel great could give the extra sparkle you need to win the dating game. Try Stitchfix for personalized style delivered right to your door. Or rent beautiful, high-end dresses for date night at a fraction of the sticker price from Rent the Runway.

4. Improve Your Posture

Good posture and body language are effective ways to say “I’m an amazing, confident woman.” Consider joining a yoga or pilates class to strengthen your core muscles and straighten your posture.

5. Focus on the Positive

Practicing positive thinking can lower your stress levels and improve your overall health, according to Mayo Clinic. Having a positive outlook about life can be contagious, and most people are drawn to those who exude positivity. Get started by keeping a gratitude journal, or set a daily reminder on your phone to close your eyes and think of three reasons why you are happy to be alive.

6. Practice Generosity

Donating to charity or volunteering for a cause contributes to the greater good and increases your self-esteem. According to Psychology Today, practicing generosity “combats feelings of isolation and depression” while giving you a greater sense of value and purpose. Bonus: You have a more interesting response to the classic date question “So, what do you do?”

7. Brush up on Current Events

Being knowledgeable about politics, controversial issues or local events will prepare you to have an engaging conversation. Long seen as a first date no-no, a survey conducted by shows that talking about politics increases your chances of a second date by 91 percent. An added bonus? Singles who are passionate about politics are more likely to have better sex.

8. Be Vulnerable

You will feel closer and have a better conversation if you share something intimate about yourself. Research by psychologist Arthur Aron shows that strangers who discuss intimate topics like “What is your most treasured memory?” feel a lot closer than those who only engage in small talk. Plus, demonstrating vulnerability shows that you aren’t afraid to be yourself, and it may inspire your date to be more open as well. So rather than talking about the weather, check out Aron’s 36 questions for a jump start on practicing vulnerability.

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