4 Tips For Feeling More Comfortable Being Unapologetically Yourself On Dates
A first date can be nerve-wracking. You want to be vulnerable and open in order to give the person a good sense of who you are, but at the same time you want to protect your heart in case things don't work out. To help navigate this tension, I reached out to some matchmakers for their tips for being yourself on dates.
According to Tawkify matchmaker Marina Brenner, being yourself starts with building a sense of inner-knowing. This is the knowledge that "you are amazing the way you are and the right person will appreciate you being exactly who you are." There are all sorts of different ways to remember how amazing you are, whether it's through mantras, positive affirmations, or deep breathing exercises. Even the act of meeting different people can help you build your self-esteem, if you think of dating as an exercise in not only getting to know someone else better, but yourself as well.
Of course, everybody's feelings of self-worth get a little shaken up now and again. But when you lose your centeredness, there are a few different ways to return to a more solid sense of self. Brenner suggests reminding yourself "that the person in front of you is likely also uncomfortable and trying to impress."
Here are some other practical tips that might help you while you are on the date itself.
1. Disagree when you disagree.
According to Cora Boyd, a men's dating coach, people should feel comfortable expressing dissent on a date.
"Don't be aggressive, but don't try to agree with everything for the sake of getting along," Boyd tells Elite Daily.
If you're just being agreeable for the sake of appearing to be a nice person, it means you're hiding part of your intellect and your true nature.
"Dating is as much about breaking rapport as it is building rapport," adds Boyd. If you're on a date with someone so fragile that they can't take a little bit of pushback, it probably wasn't meant to work out anyway.
2. Don't worry about filling the gaps in conversation.
Conversation, like attraction, is a two-way street. Boyd advises against trying too hard to fill potentially awkward pauses in conversation.
"You don't have to be the one pushing the conversation and the interaction forward all of the time," says Boyd. Plus, sitting in silence can be kind of powerful, and gives off the sense that you are completely in control and not trying too hard to please.
3. If it sucks, you don't have to stay.
Worst case scenario: Your date is terrible. You can very much make an early yet graceful exit, and you never have to call them again. Of course, don't make a scene if you do decide to bail.
"Be nice, be respectful, do your due diligence, be a kind person," says Boyd. "But if you are not having a good time you don't have to stay for hours just because you feel like that is what you are supposed to do."
You are your own best date, even when you're going out on a date with another person. Have your own back, and leave when you want to leave.
4. Be productive the day of your date.
Boyd says that no matter whether this is your first date with someone new or your tenth date with someone you've been seeing consistently, it's important to have your own thing going on.
"Have a really productive day the day of your date," she says, "so that you feel good, you're in a positive mindset, and you have something to talk about."
She says that making sure you always have your own thing going on means that you won't need someone to fill a gap in your life, and that's so important. You have the power to choose who you want to be with, and being yourself is crucial to finding the person who complements (not completes) you.
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