Dating is one of those things where, if we could be our authentic selves, the whole process would go a lot smoother and we would attract the best kind of people for us. But of course, the reality is quite different. Dating is a minefield of worry and second-guessing, playing on all kinds of desires, expectations, and fantasies. As a result, when we date, we will often modulate what we say and how we come across so that we present what we think is a more likable version of ourselves. Dating, like a job interview, sometimes carries this pressure of having to ‘perform well’ – we have to make a good first impression and exemplify attractive skills for the outcome to be positive, whether that’s a budding relationship or simply getting laid.
The problem, though, is that if you default to being inauthentic, if you believe you have to pretend to be someone you’re not to have a romantic life, then you won’t be able to meet someone who appreciates you as you are, including all your flaws. Also, maintaining this fake persona while dating is tiring and likely to gnaw at you.
Here’s how you can be authentic while dating and ensure that your relationships will be based on a genuine, fulfilling connection.
Don’t Be Afraid to State Your Beliefs and Opinions
One common way to be inauthentic while dating is to hide one’s beliefs and opinions about certain matters in case this will upset or offend the other person or cause them to reject you. Firstly, if such a person did reject you for your genuine beliefs, then this shows you the person isn’t right for you. Secondly, two people can have divergent opinions on matters and still be a good match for each other, although you will only find out whether this is the case if you express yourself honestly and see where the conversation leads. If you have to hide your interests and points of view in fear that it will sabotage a date or a relationship, then you will be lying to yourself and the other person. This is no basis for a happy dating life.
Be Wary of Your Friends’ Advice
When it comes to dating, it’s common to go to friends for advice. This could be about the timing of your texts, so as to show an interest but not come across as too keen, or what to say your in texts or in person; again, as a way to make the ‘right’ impression. Now, it can sometimes be helpful to get an outside opinion about dating, especially if you have certain anxieties and insecurities that don’t match the reality of the situation. However, it’s also important to be wary of other people’s advice. A friend, while meaning well, may end up giving you advice that may suit them but not you. They also don’t know you as well as you know yourself. And they may not have met the person you’re dating and so, you should ask yourself, how useful would their advice be?
You should also be especially wary of unsolicited advice. If you talk about some worry you’re having with dating and a friend immediately tries to give you a solution about what to do, their advice-giving may be more about them stating their opinions and wanting to feel a sense of power. Many of us have an ingrained idea about how to date successfully and so if we talk to someone who is unsure of what to do in their dating life, it is common to tell them what we think they should do, as this helps to strengthen our opinions further. All too often, though, these opinions about dating are irrelevant, non-contextualised, ignorant, immature, or based on inauthenticity or insecurities.
For this reason, it’s vital to always take your friends’ advice about dating with a grain of salt and to listen to your authentic voice. Of course, you may still make some mistakes along the way, but you will at least be safe in the knowledge that you’ve tried your best to be honest and real with another person. And this is the most essential foundation on which to build a healthy relationship.