Are You Overestimating Yourself?

Are-You-Overestimating-Yourself

No one wants to think so, but most of us do. Think of the guy who thinks he’s a catch because he went to a good college, the smart guy who has no social skills, or the rich guy who is selfish and negative. In this episode, you’ll learn that what makes you impressive doesn’t always make you a good partner, and what makes a good partner is something most of us overlook.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Stacy

    I think when it comes just to looks…men tend to overestimate themselves and women tend to underestimate themselves…although I have seen it happen many times the other way as well but for the majority…

    I think it has to do  with the fact that it’s really not uncommon to see (especially in Hollywood) below average looking men with beautiful women…I call it the superficial trade off…men will sacrifice wealth for beauty and women (some women because I personally would never lay down with a man I’m not crazy about-to hell with his money) will sacrifice their beauty for wealth.  So you have these men walking around who are 5s expecting a 10 (okay, not a fan of the number system but I think it transmits my point better when I use it.

    However, yes, I think MANY of us tend to overestimate our abilities and value based on who we perceive we are.  If you look through online profiles, ‘EVERYONE’ has traveled the world, loves the outdoors, is physically active, and mentally stimulating.

    1. 1.1
      AY

      Look, what else can people say on their profile if not physically active, interesting, well traveled etc etc ? What people put on their profile is not the same as how they judge themselves as potential partners. I think people base their own “mate-value” around what they see about them.

      For a woman, if she sees another woman who is heavier and not as attractive as she herself is, lands an attractive, emotionally stable and available guy, of course the woman would think she has higher mate-value  and is deserving of a guy who is just as great, if not better. Men use a similar measurement system as well, except they have an additional criteria of professional and economic success.

      As you observed, men see unattractive, outwardly less successful men score with hot young chicks and so expect the same or better. Of course they may be other factors involved such as charisma, confidence, masculinity which is not immediately obvious to men making judements of other men and themselves.

      For women, they see dumpy, plain women arm in arm with attractive, personable guys and expect the same or better, not really understanding or realising what the dynamics might be behind the relationship they are observing and making judgements about. For all we know, the pair could be brother and sister and yet women observing them will get all worked up and jealous.

    2. 1.2
      Brit

      I completely agree Stacy.  When I was on OKCupid, I used to screen for how users answered certain questions that highlighted superficial tendencies.  There is one OKC question that has been around a long time and I’m amazed how many men choose the answer that basically says “A woman cannot be sexy if she is even slightly overweight.”

      I am 5’5, 115 pounds, and very fit.  Nevertheless:

      1. A man’s choice of that answer is an incredible turn-off for what it means for how he views women generally.

      2. Can’t help but think “what if I gain 10 pounds (for ME that would be “overweight”), perhaps after bearing this man’s child?  Will I no longer be attractive to him?”

      3. MOST of the men who choose this answer are not in great shape themselves.  One guy even apologized for being “about 20 pounds heavier” than his profile pictures; I would normally not have cared but took the opportunity to ask about his answer to this particular OKC question and to his credit he was embarrassed.  I met another guy who no joke weighed over 300 pounds and when I asked him what sort of lady he generally was attracted to, his too-quick response was “thin.”  Check, please.

       

      As for me, I generally date men for their brains – which means virtually none of my boyfriends have been conventionally good-looking or even in decent shape, but I love listening/talking to them:)

    3. 1.3
      Adrian

      Stacy,

       

      I disagree with you.

      I believe that most men AND women overestimate themselves.

      I believe that most men AND women underestimate themselves.

      I believe that finding people in the middle is what is hard with dating.

      I believe that extremes (to the left or right of the spectrum) easy to find, balance is hard to find.

      1. 1.3.1
        Stacy

        Well Adrian,

        ‘Being in the middle’ is probably pretty tricky since overestimation and underestimation depends on comparisons and individual perception.  So I think it’s fair to say that we all overestimate in some ways and underestimate in others. As my previous post pointed out, I think men and women (generally speaking of course) tend to just do this in different areas.

      2. 1.3.2
        Come again

        Curious. How do most men and women both overestimate and underestimate themselves at the same time?

         

        1. Adrian

          Come again,

           

          I meant that statement as a spectrum not as a singularity.

           

          I am not saying that one man thinks he is the hottest guy in the room while simultaneously thinking he is “also” too ugly to for any woman in that same room to actually be attracted to him.

           

          I meant that the majority of the people either think they are “more” attractive than they really are or they think they are “less” attractive than they really are, with a few in the middle.

           

          Lets use Stacy’s example of more men overestimating themselves and more women underestimating themselves.

           

          If you had 10 people (5 men and 5 women), than statistically what usually happens is that 4 men will think they are more attractive than they actually are, and 4 women will think they less attractive than they actually are, that only leaves 1 man and 1 woman who are actually correct (or close) with their personal level of attractiveness.

          …   …   …

          Now before anyone offers critique of my example, I want to make two things clear about my core belief which influenced my hypothesis.

          1.) I don’t believe that beauty or attractiveness is ‘in the eye of the beholder’. I think we can all generally recognize beautiful physical features (their have been many studies to back this up).

          I do belief that attraction is subjective and differs with each person. Many people can recognize and even acknowledge a person who is as we label them “what society considers attractive”, but just because we agree that the person is beautiful, does not mean that we ourselves have any attraction for them.

          The inverse of that is we may recognize a person whose physical level of beauty is average or below average of “what society considers attractive “, yet we can still feel attraction for them; but we still recognize and acknowledge that the person is not physically beautiful.

           

          2). I believe that many of these studies, statistics, and research data that I and others love to quote, must not be taken as an infallible truth.

          Many of these studies are conducted using college students. People who have no real life experience or developed social skills.

          Personally I feel that a woman who is 49 would answer the question about her level of beauty differently than a woman who is only 29, and I feel that a woman who is 19 will answer the question differently than both of them. Plus, that is not even considering the major individualized factors like personal fitness level, economic level, diet, etc, all things that can increase or decrease our person appearance.

          …   …   …

          The only reason I mentioned something to Stacy is because I took it that Evan was basing this assumption off the general attitudes of his clients and their dates. Evan doesn’t talk to the male dates everyday for hours, he talks to his clients everyday for hours who are strong, successful, WOMEN.

           

          But I did not want to make it a “which gender is better, or which gender has it worse” in dating debate, so I offered the suggestion that both genders have people doubting themselves and too full of themselves. Not a “well both may do it but men are worse” type of thing.

           

          By the way Stacy this is not a personal attack on you, so I hope you don’t take it that way. I’m sure you have seen plenty examples of men overestimating themselves and women underestimating themselves, just as I have seen both genders over and underestimating themselves equally. I could even go as far as to say that more men underestimate themselves than women do, but that would be because I’m around more men than women, not because that is fact.

           

        2. Stacy

          Come Again,

          I think my first post explained it. I think most men tend to overestimate themselves physically and I think women tend to do the opposite.

          When it comes to internal measures, I think it’s a mixed bag.

      3. 1.3.3
        Stacy

        Adrian,

        I did not take it as a personal attack. In fact, I LOVE reading your posts because you actually know how to disagree. You also always explain your way of thinking pretty effectively.

  2. 2
    HeelWalker

    Evan, when you say a person needs to choose someone whose ignores your flaws as you ignore his, would you also say that doesn’t mean accepting someone who is seriously flawed? Eg: Has substance abuse problems, has major flaws in how he thinks (for instance, repeatedly imagining you’ve said or done things you haven’t), is jealous and controlling.

    I know the answer because you’ve said in past blog posts that no one should accept bad behavior. But I’d like you to reiterate or clarify that here because some readers may be unfamiliar with those other posts and mistakenly believe you should accept anything from your partner.

    1. 2.1
      Noemi

      Some flaws are clearly nonnegotiable. Others can be overlooked. In my opinion, substance abuse or imagining things you have said are serious flaws that unduly influence the outcome of the relationship.

    2. 2.2
      AY

      I think it all depends on what the “flaw” is. As Noemi has noted, some flaws are clearly non -negotiable. I think some flaws which might be overlooked, could fall under the category of red flags, and should be noted and kept in the back of your mind as you continue to date and learn more about the other person.

      For example, I was dating a person with a communication style which I found very irritating. I couldn’t put my finger on it and thought it was just me being overly negative, judgemental and picky. I persevered with the guy and it turns out that his communication style actually betrayed a very controlling and manipulative nature.

      Also, I think flaws which others might see that minor and actually be very difficult for you to deal with. I thought a girlfriend was too picky when she dropped a guy for the way he laughed and sucked his breath in when he spoke. The thing is, what is minor for you and could be overlooked, could be very very difficult for someone else to deal with, so we should not judge.

    3. 2.3
      Come again

      Not accepting major flaws means being alone forever. Let’s be real.

  3. 3
    Olga

    It sounds very enticing, but I wonder why this podcast doesn’t work on my end. Number one and two worked, but this file just doesn’t seem to be playable.

  4. 4
    ScottH

    thanks Evan.  Makes me feel better about getting dumped by a strong, intelligent, successful, but not-so-smart woman.

    I’d like to suggest a topic for a future podcast, and one that I know you struggled with when deciding to propose to your wife:  how do you know when you’ve got the one?  I’m talking about the one who does all the things you say your partner should do but you still feel somewhat less than excited about, someone you don’t pine for when you’re not together.  Someone who doesn’t excite your “attachment system” because they don’t put you on a roller coaster ride yet is a wonderful person and you get along great with and accepts you for all your flaws, etc…  I need the answer to this.

  5. 5
    Rebecca

    I wonder if men really overestimate their looks (in general) or if it’s just become socially acceptable for women to complain about their cellulite and bad hair days and (many) men would feel silly saying things like that.  I can’t imagine my boyfriend in any situation apologizing for his appearance or asking for compliments, but every once in a while he’ll say something that makes it clear that he IS self-conscious about a variety of traits.  Much more so than I am, even though I will verbalize my displeasure with my appearance when I’m having a bad day.

    And I don’t really see a problem with overweight people admitting they are more attracted to fit people or holding any other preference for a partner who is somehow different or “better”.  I’m incapable of telling a joke and I am very much attracted to men who are funny.  Feeling entitled or pressuring your partner to change is one thing, but just having preferences (that you may not be able to indulge) seems to me just human.

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