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Style & Substance: On the Napoleon Complex

Dear style & substance:

I recently met a great person and would like to ask her on a date. Here is my dilemma; she is taller than I am. This is shallow and perhaps not an issue; however I have not dated much because I was always self-conscious about my height. Do you have any advice about how to ask this woman on a date?

Dating is initially a game of attraction. Why we are attracted to another person is mysteriously complex. Very often attraction is based on what we come to believe as ideals of outer beauty. We learn this from a young age and in many different forms – family, culture, and media all contribute to whom we are attracted.

One basic rule of attraction: confidence is appealing. Not swagger or boasting, but a quiet confidence in your self and what you have to offer to another person. On the extreme side, the Urban Dictionary describes symptoms of a “Napoleon Complex” as…a short man who may “act out in an attempt to gain respect and recognition from others and compensate for his short stature”. Guard against overcompensating for your vertical challenge by being overly gregarious or; the opposite, overly apologetic.

We all have personal qualities or situations that we are overly sensitive about; for some it is what they consider a lack of education or success, for others it may be weight or even money. You will find that in the world of dating, people are insecure! So if your insecurity is height; know it, own it and work with what you DO have. Develop the qualities that exemplify your best self – dating is a new beginning so do not dwell in the past, think of this experience as a time to reinvent and bring forth everything good about you.

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