If you have ever watched an episode of the Bachelor, or The Dating Game for that matter – you can tell that few people are into the art of ‘being yourself on a date.’ They have pasted on fake smiles, giggle and laugh a little too loud, play with their hair a little too much and do everything possible to hide their flaws – whether it be a blackhead or the inability to hold down a job. What a complete waste of time!! Obviously, if you are dating people than you are looking for someone to make a connection. Yet, if you are unable to be yourself or try to put on airs in order to avoid the other person getting to really know you…you might as well just stay home.
Sadly, the world of internet dating and hook-ups has made it even easier for folks to live under false pretenses and make other people think that they are something they aren’t. Certainly, you have heard all the stories about married people posing as singles, or people lying endlessly on profiles, even posting false pictures of themselves in order to lead others on. The whole thing seems sort of stupid. The same technology that people use to hook up can be used to investigate the real you, so what’s the point?
The first date is like a job interview. Just like you might not let the boss interviewing you know that you are a smoker, it is fairly normal and probably wise, to hide a few things from the person you are on a date with. For one with rambling on, and being as comfortable with someone on a first or second date as you are with your sibling, might make you seem a little over the top. However, down right lying or deceiving will only make you look bad in the end. The point is to figure out how to leave a good impression without leaving a false one. Hopefully, you are not an undercover psycho – so what is wrong with being yourself?
Relationship experts advise the dating population to at least be honest and unafraid to divulge some personal details. Talking about your interests and being yourself on a date to the extent that you don’t compromise your values or opinions is essential to maintaining your self-esteem. It is also good if you want to save time and weed out the definitely non-datables, earlier rather than later. Does this mean you should quickly and abruptly debate your political or religious views? Not necessarily. However, if you notice that the person you are dating has some strong opinions of his or her own that are definitely not in line with your value system, there is a good chance in the long run the relationship won’t work anyways.
Now, if being yourself on a date means bringing some undesirable and down right rude or questionable behaviors with you – you might want to hold off for a while. Just because you love wearing sweat pants and going without a shower, or over eating at dinner, doesn’t mean that you should do that on a date as well. In fact, a lack of manners shows a serious level of disrespect for both yourself and the person you are dating. At the same time, there will come a point should the relationship continue that they will see that side of you. Then, it will be up to them to decide if your quality side is worth your less than desirable side.
The benefits to being yourself on a date are definitely vast. For one thing, you will leave the date feeling good about yourself. Even if the date didn’t go well, it is better than compromising who or what you are, for the sake of someone else. Secondly, starting any relationship with honesty is a good idea. If you start it with false pretenses the person you are dating will always be wondering what else it is you are hiding. This is definitely not a goal if you desire a long-term connection. Another benefit, when you are yourself and acting most natural and honest, you are also more comfortable. You will be showing your best, rather than putting a lot of energy into being something your not. And, if you find that the two of you are incompatible, or that your date doesn’t want to go out again – at least you know it was the real you and not the pretend you. Even so, dating is about trial and error and with so many people in the world, it is only normal that there will be many that you don’t feel connected to or that don’t feel connected to you.
The watered down version is this. When you are dating someone, you want them to get to know the real you. If you are hiding behind a façade, trying to be something you aren’t or trying to impress someone by fitting into their ideals – you are cheating yourself and the person sitting across the table. You are wasting your time and energy, and risk destroying your self-esteem and self worth in the process. Nervous is one thing, but down right pretentious is completely another. Being yourself on a date isn’t about trying to impress someone, but about trying to feel and figure out whether this person is someone you could see yourself spending time with. It is also about behaving much as you do on a job interview, where you put your best food forward to show that you have some couth about you. You truly should be able to be yourself on a date and still remain polite, interesting, attractive, and desirable. If not, you might need to spend your time in a counselor’s office or etiquette school before you continue dating.
Also, as you post your own profile in an online dating forum – even if it is just for fun at first, strive to be as honest as possible. You never know who you will meet or where the relationship will lead!