Last night I met a potential new client. She was very new to dating, bubbly and high strung. I take care to make people feel comfortable right away so that they can be their most authentic self with me. It didn’t work this time. The woman was almost tripping over herself to impress me. I could tell that she was nervous and really wanted her to relax so I reiterated that I was not there to judge her, just listen and inspire her. She was still a tidal wave of bubbles, bells and whistles. Finally ten minutes before it was time to go (at the hour mark) she settled into herself.
I couldn’t help but wonder if she were like this on a first date, would she make it to a second one?
Authenticity means you allow yourself to “be who you are”; that you don’t try to impress or present yourself as someone you are not, which is exhausting to do and to behold.
Being real is the only way to foster a true connection with someone.
Here are a few tips to help you stay real on a first date:
1. Mentally prepare. Think about what you’d like to share about yourself ahead of time. What’s interesting about your life these days? Any cool trips you’ve been on? Books/films you’ve experienced? Funny stories? Being mentally prepared means you do not have to grasp at things to talk about which will put you at ease. It also means you decide on which topics you’d like to steer clear of.
2. Location counts. Choose a comfortable, even familiar setting where you feel at ease. The more relaxed you feel, the more relaxed your date will feel. Dinner seems a bit much for most; a drink is ideal. Or a Saturday afternoon tea or hike. Just choose what makes you feel the most confident. Think low key. First dates should be brief and light. Everyone should leave wanting more.
3. Just Listen. The easiest way to be authentic and present is to get out of your head and pay full attention to your date. Everybody has a story so ask good questions. Shifting your focus onto them will take the pressure off of you and allow you to soften into a curious, interested role.
4. Create a touchstone reminder. Whether you need to remember to be present, be feminine, ask more questions or not overshare, sometimes it’s helpful to have a concrete reminder. One of our clients bought herself a pretty ring that she wears on dates to remind herself to be more feminine; a male client wears a red string bracelet to remind himself to lead more. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself grounded and centered in who you are. Because you are enough.