I've been told that I'm scary. That's what my client, Liz, told me today. She says that several men have said she's intimidating and "too much for them."

I was told that when I was single and dating. My response was: that's who I am—and if you can't take it, I don't want you! (I probably added a couple expletives, but I'll spare you.)

After I finally got sick enough of being alone and having one dating failure after another, I took a good look at myself. What I saw was that my approach to men was somewhat cold, defensive and bordering on aggressive.

I came right at these poor guys with all I had: big personality, sarcastic wit, strong opinions and personal power. Boom! That was me, and I was freaking proud of it. Like it or leave.

In truth, I was testing them. Very few men passed; nor did they want to. It was my armor. Realizing this changed my life.

Over the 30 years I was dating (or wishing I was), I sabotaged any chance of connecting and developing a good relationship with a man. I've written an eBook (http://datelikeagrownup.com/7Secrets) and numerous articles about what was behind my behavior.

I can now see that I created a giant protective wall, which I thought kept me safe. I see these same barriers in most of the women I coach.

I find this especially true of women who are dating over 40. We can present our power and independence in a way that overwhelms men.

It's somewhat understandable. We have fought long and hard for respect in the workplace. We have endured the insidious objectification of women. We are smart and interesting; yet if we believe the media we think that only perfectly beautiful women find love. We've created great lives for ourselves; yet we've been led to believe that men don't want us to be so self sufficient or accomplished.
One can see why it can be hard to open up and trust men to appreciate us as a whole person. So we show our strong side, and tuck our vulnerability safely away.
Now that I am happily married and my "wall of I dare you" is no longer required, I can see the objective truth: men can and do value smart, strong women. I meet countless men who are loving, kind and supportive and who admire and value women as equals partners.

These confident men aren't turned off by how smart we are, they are turned off by what they perceive as our defensiveness and need to compete. With their wonderful masculinity, they can't help but be attracted to the softness and kindness of a woman.

Many strong, successful women have trouble showing this side; both because it can be threatening and, as Liz told me, we don't even know how to be that woman.
What follows is the picture I painted for Liz of her first 10 minutes with a man. This isn't about being phony or twisting like a pretzel for a man. It's about bringing out the beautiful, feminine woman in you.

Picture this:

You have thrown on your summer dress and sandals, paid some attention to your hair and nails, and you:

1. Approach smiling, standing straight and looking right at him. (That screams: I am open, confident and interested in you.)
2. Start the conversation with a comment that is light and positive while revealing something nice about you. (“I had a great time taking my dog in the park today. Did you have a good day?”)
3. Maintain eye contact, keep the conversation interesting but light, and continue to reveal your qualities (that he would like) while showing your interest in him. (No life stories needed, girlfriend. There will be plenty of time for that.)
4. Laugh if he's funny, and compliment him if you like something he says, wears or does. Help him feel good about himself. Do so whether you want to date him or not. (That's good dating karma, sister. And you'll like yourself better for being kind.)
5. Feel free to pepper the conversation with appropriate opinions, accomplishments and wishes. You want him to know this part of you: just not only this part.
6. Twirl your hair, put your chin down with your eyes up, and touch his arm. (If you're interested, that is. And, yes, this actually does attract men; it has for centuries.)
7. Let him pay, open your door and walk you to your car—even if your car is just 10 steps away.
8. Look him in the eye and smile. Repeat.
9. Tell him how much you enjoyed talking with him and that you hope to do it again.

That's it. These are basics. It's easy stuff.

Are you doing this? Are you dressing like the lovely woman you are, letting light conversation flow and enjoying the moment?

Or are you trying to control the conversation, interrogate and test him, and impress him with your independence and brilliance?

If you practice what I suggest, you'll have time to show him how clever and talented you are—because there's a good chance he'll ask you out!

It's simple: masculine is attracted to feminine. That's just how it is. So chill, knock off the scary stuff and have some fun being a girl. As a result, I guarantee you'll get more dates with smart, confident men.

Author's Bio: 

Bobbi Palmer is The Dating and Relationship Coach for Women over 40. She is not just a dating coach; she's a dating success story! Bobbi married for the first time at age 47 and enjoys a loving and fun relationship with her spectacular husband. Now she gives her expert advice and real compassion to help other women do what she did, using her proven and powerful 6-Step Find Hope and then Find Him program. Bobbi invites you to take her free eCourse, "The 7 Major Dating Mistakes Women over 40 Make in their Search for Love," at www.DateLikeaGrownup.com/over40.