Dear Captain Awkward,
I’m afraid my question is a little on the vague and general side.
I feel like Jane Bennet, whose “feelings, though fervent, were little displayed.” I just don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, and for the most part I’m very happy to be that way. But I think it’s been a problem for my intimate relationships. Three or four people I’ve dated have said I seemed unenthusiastic about them, especially in the early stages of the relationship, even though, in actual fact, I was very excited about them. The first couple of times this was said to me, it was in the context of ” . . . and so I didn’t think you would mind when I started dating someone else instead” and I figured it was a self-serving excuse and/or projection. But it’s been said since then, in less ambiguous circumstances, and I feel like I shouldn’t brush it off.
I’m newly single, so this issue has been on my mind as I think about starting to date new people. But I don’t know quite what to do. Using my words seems appropriate, except I have no idea what words to say. I was intrigued by Commander Logic’s recent suggestion about practicing being positively assertive – I’m good at being assertive in other areas, so this seems like something I could work on and something that would be useful in making me a little less reserved. I would love to get some more suggestions.
To be clear, I don’t plan to go full-on Charlotte Lucas and display feelings I don’t actually have. I just hate the thought that my gentleman callers have been feeling unappreciated. There’s a lot of dating advice out there telling people how to play it cool – what can I do to play it a little hotter?
Cold Face, Warm Heart