Next to public speaking, I can’t think of anything that’s been harder for me than dating. When I was in the dating pool, I spent so much psychic/financial/emotional energy trying to “find the right mate,” that I burned myself out. When I stopped looking, as it goes, I found the love of my life.
I’d like to share with you some of my personal insights, as well as professional ones, to maximize your dating experience and be successful. These days, I’m not even sure what those younger than me are calling it (dating? hooking up? texting?), but when it comes down to it, the mutual attraction takes some developing.
What I think is that people crave authenticity. People want “the real deal” so much more these days, considering how phony so many other things around us are. In the era of social media, and a decade into online dating, we’re really never quite sure if people are who they represent themselves to be. In fact, the truth is sometimes nowhere near the online personae people display on Facebook, Match.com, Twitter, etc.
How can you be the most authentic person you can, in a fearless way, even if that means less women/men will like you and want to keep dating you? How can you be truthful with yourself first, in order to be truthful to potential dates or mates? If you’re looking for someone of substance, as I assume you are, and you’re looking for a relationship, I think being authentic with yourself – and others – is key to beginning successful dating. This post is about how to date authentically.
Relationships are sparked with trust, and when you’re not being authentic or genuine, you’re not starting that relationship with the trust that it needs. Assuming you’re a man reading this, and your intention is to play women for sex or short-term stints, then authenticity may not be exactly for you. Many women I work with in marriage counseling come in with similar issues of distrust, which is so corrosive to their relationships and marriages. Why start your relationship with lack of trust? I’m sure it’s not a conscious decision, but it sets the stage for possible dishonesty and truth-bending to come. Brazen honesty and authenticity is refreshing, and most people I know endear to this in others.
How can you be authentic while dating? Consider these points:
- Can you embrace and talk about things you may not like about yourself?
- Can you watch the tendency to exaggerate and create a false persona for yourself to the other person?
- Can you be self-deprecating (e.g. can you laugh at yourself)?
- Can you dress the way that you like, even if it’s not acceptable to the other person?
- Can you say what’s on your mind in a non-hurtful way? For example, can you call the other person back when you feel like it, not wait until you think it’s a right time to?
- Are you able to say what you like and what you don’t like, without fear that the other person will disagree with you?
- Are you able to suspend any people pleasing behavior while your dating?
Dating is already pretty difficult. It’s not easy to throw yourself into the dating pool, let alone to risk being your true self to present to others. In considering these ideas, maybe you might start to attract other authentic people into your life, the people that you really want to spend time with.