This is the second installment of my Dating While Weird series, where I’ll chronicle experiences I’ve had and things I’ve learned throughout my 10+ years of dating as a woman of unconventional tastes. Click here to read the first post in the series.
It makes me sad when people try to doctor up their dating profiles or act like someone they aren’t when on a date. Believe me, I’ve done my fair share of this, too. But to find someone who makes you (the real you) happy, the first step is – you guessed it – BEING yourself (your real self).
So here are my tips for putting your most you face forward while dating:
#1. Be clear about what you’re looking for in a relationship.
Are you looking for a long-term relationship that will hopefully lead to marriage? A casual FWB situation? Make sure you indicate your intent in your profile if you are using online dating – most online dating sites allow you to select the options that apply to you – or express it early on if you meet someone “in real life”. No sense wasting your time or someone else’s if you have different end goals in mind.
#2. Be up front about your interests.
This can be tough, because I think all of us just want to fit in sometimes. But you won’t be happy if you can’t be yourself around someone you’re dating, so you might as well put it all out there. It’s good to share your top few hobbies and interests.
- You might find someone who shares one or two of them!
- Your hobbies can be intriguing to someone else and serve as conversation-starters
- Sharing them can help someone steer clear if one of your hobbies freaks them out – and you don’t want to date someone who’s going to judge you anyway. For example, once I started bodybuilding, I’d always include a picture of me all oiled up on stage as one of my online dating profile pictures. I wanted people to know that I love competing, and I also wanted to weed out the guys who would judge my muscular physique.
#3. But be open to another person’s interests.
So hey, you’re not going to have everything in common with your potential dates. Variety is the spice of life, so be open to exploring your date’s interests. Maybe you’re not usually a sports fan, or into zombie video games. Maybe you think poetry is for the birds. But take this opportunity to try something new, and you might just find out that watching football is kind of fun. (It happened to me.)
#4. On dates, wear your favorite clothes.
This advice sounds silly, but hear me out. It kind of goes along with tip #2 – it’s really important that you be yourself so that you can find the special someone who makes you (the real you) feel like the sparkliest most wonderful jewel on the planet. So if you’re a jeans and t-shirt kind of person, wear variations on that theme for dates. If you hate to wear suits, don’t wear one! Wearing something on a date that you’re uncomfortable in would be like wearing a suit of armor – it’s pinchy and clangy and annoying and no one can see what you really look like when you wear it.
#5. Don’t be afraid to feel vulnerable.
I am like, super bad at this. Getting better, but still bad. It’s hard to develop feelings for someone because there is a super-scary chance that they won’t be returned. And there are few things more painful than unrequited love.
In January, I vowed to do five bold things by the end of this year. (Maybe I should write a post about that!) The fifth bold thing that I did was to tell the man I’m dating that I love him. For a few reasons, I knew he wouldn’t say it back, but I thought, “Life is too short not to tell people how you feel about them,” so I did it. And you know, as scary as it is not to hear those words said back to you and to feel like you blew it big-time by putting yourself out there too much, I feel relieved. If I died today, I would be glad I’d done that.
It’s also hard to share the pointy stuff about you with someone else, for fear of judgement. The partner you choose should be able to listen lovingly when you talk about your pointy-ouchie-past stuff and see past it, realizing that you wouldn’t be you without having gone through it.
#6. In a new relationship, quickly figure out (or ask) what makes your new boo feel cared for.
This tip can save you a lot of heartache. It took me quite a while to figure out that not everyone gives and receives love in the same ways. I highly recommend that you read The Five Love Languages or at least take the quiz to see what your love language is.
Does your date like gifts? Or for you to to the dishes for them? Maybe they really like to snuggle. You’re going to have to do some recon and find out the best ways to show your boo-thang you care. You might also have to do some brain acrobatics to make yourself care about them in those ways if you’re not used to it or if they aren’t the same ways you receive love.
What other things have you learned about dating over the years? Have you put any of my advice into practice?