Reason #99765 I love offline dating: there’s no room for phoniness and fake photos. Dating IRL is the perfect way to bring your REAL self to the dating game. Allow me to show you how with my top 5 tips for being the true you on that scary first date.
Ahhh the first date. Is there any other occasion pregnant with such possibility?
Will love bloom? Or your hopes wilt?
The excitement! The anticipation! The expectations!
It’s the perfect recipe for a knot of nerves right in the stomach.
With so much pressure, is it any wonder your insecurities come out to play? First date nerves can leave you feeling the urge to hide the “weird” bits about yourself. You know the bits I mean – those character traits or personality quirks you might have felt embarrassed about or been shamed for in the past (especially if it was by a previous date).
Perhaps it’s your love of ketchup on EVERYTHING, even though you’re a 39-year-old grown man…
Or your missing baby toe after that accident…
Or that actually, yes, you do like Donald Trump (actually, on second thoughts… maybe it’s a therapist rather than a date you need).
Whatever your quirks, and however much you own them in usual circumstances, when it comes to a first date, it’s totally normal to suffer from some personality-suppressing jitters.
Normal, but not ideal.
With all the bogus dating “advice” out there – from the media, friends, family and the internet, it can be overwhelming thinking there are all these rules you should be following.
Don’t talk about this, dress like that or eat those – it’s all rubbish.
As a dating coach and matchmaker, my whole mission is to throw out the rule book and focus on helping you forge true, deep connections. Connections that change your life and have you falling madly, truly in love with your person.
And for that to happen, you have to feel free to be your true self.
Here are 5 ways to let your true self – quirks, oddities and weird stuff included – shine on a first date.
1. Dress to impress (yourself)
If you’re a shirt and tie kind of guy, suit up. If you’re a high-heel, red-lipstick gal, get those stilettos out! Dress to the nines, and do you thing.
But if heels and ties are only your thing when they’re being used in a bondage situation (OWN IT!) and you’d be more comfortable in jeans – do it!
Why wear something on a date that you would never usually wear? It makes no sense to essentially dress up as a different version of you, especially when what you want is to find someone who adores the everyday you.
When it comes to dressing for a first date, the goal is to feel your best, while being comfortable, and expressing your style – whatever that may be.
2. Choose a location YOU enjoy
It’s tempting to try and impress someone with what we consider the “perfect” date, even if you’re not comfortable with it.
This is especially true for the men I work with. Guys, just because the movies show dating as all rooftop restaurants and extravagant speed-boat experiences, doesn’t mean you have to make reservations at a fancy place if you don’t want to.
Maybe you’re greatest love is the outdoors and you’d rather take a walk along Walthamstow marshes? Do it! If she’s the right one for you, she’ll love it too.
If you’re a connoisseur of the finer things in life, go for it; but if you’re not used to extravagance, it might be better to go choose differently.
A comfortable, familiar setting will put you at ease, and, in turn, put your date at ease.
3. Own your story
Ok, traditional dating advice would say that you shouldn’t talk about exes, religion and politics, or tell your date your life story. And yes, first dates are ideally fun and lighthearted.
It’s better for YOU not to reveal EVERYTHING on the first date because, frankly, you don’t know this person and trust is something that’s built, date by date, week by week.
I am not saying this because sharing too much won’t “impress” your date.
The ONLY person you need to worry about impressing, is YOU.
So if some serious sh*t comes up, let it. If you feel comfortable sharing, go right ahead.
4. Don’t pretend you like sports/movies/politics when you don’t!
I see this ALL the time with my coaching clients. Why, oh why do we feel we have to pretend we like stuff we actually have zero interest in?
I’m not saying don’t be curious or interested – after all, it’s important to have basic manners and want to learn more about what your date’s into.
But please don’t feign interest in things that bore you or claim to like things that you don’t just to match your likes and interests with your date. If your date asks a question of you, answer it honestly and sincerely. After all, they are trying to determine compatibility as much as you are.
5. Order whatever you want
If you want a salad, have a salad. If you want a juicy burger with extra chips, go for it. If you don’t want to drink alcohol, don’t drink alcohol. If you do, fill your boots! If you want to cover your expensive pork chop in ketchup… go for it.
It doesn’t matter what you eat or drink on a date, as long as it’s exactly what you want. A worthwhile date will appreciate your ability to be comfortable with yourself, your desires and your boundaries. It’s SEXY.
Please, don’t cover yourself over or only show the “perfect” parts to your dates. Do whatever you damn well want on a first date and you’re more likely to 1) Have a good time and 2) find someone who loves who you really are.