There’s really only one thing you need to bring on a first (or second, or third!) date: your truest, sparkliest, most authentic self. Here’s how.
First dates are a tough thing. You want to be yourself, but you also want to maintain a certain level of formality and put your best foot forward. It can be difficult to balance making the best first impression with representing yourself in a truly authentic way. After all, if you focus solely on impressing your date and being fully agreeable, you may end up presenting a less than honest image of yourself. On the other hand, untempered disclosure can be creepy and off putting.
Why not take a balanced approach?
Here are 10 steps you can take to show your authentic self on a first date:
1. Remember: First Dates Should be Fun
First of all, don’t get stressed out. This is a first date. It’s supposed to be fun. Relax, plan on having a great time, and enjoy your date. You aren’t going to a job interview or an inquisition. Keep telling yourself: no pressure!
2. Know What You Want to Present About Yourself
You don’t need to reveal every flaw, belief, and character trait about yourself on the first date; however, you should think of a brief list (three or four things) that you would like to express about yourself on your date. Ask yourself what it is you would want somebody to know about you before pursuing a second date. Then, save all of the other stuff for later.
3. Be Honest
While you don’t have to reveal everything on the first date, you shouldn’t lie or deliberately hide things. For example, 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.
4. Validate Your Date
If you want to be your authentic self, you have to make your date as comfortable as possible being their authentic self, as well. As you speak with your date, validate their opinions and concerns—even if you don’t share them. Don’t argue or match wits. Instead, focus on creating a comfortable experience and emotionally safe experience for both of you.
5. Choose an Activity-Focused First Date
Sometimes, the worst first dates happen when there is too much time spent on face-to-face conversation. There’s too much pressure to not run out of things to say and to avoid topics that might be too awkward or intense for a first date. To avoid this, consider planning a date that includes a fun activity—this way, neither of you are under pressure to keep a conversation going. You can reveal your authentic self through the things you do and enjoy as well as the things you say.
6. Remember: No One Gets to Know You Fully on a First Date
Don’t worry about your date not getting to know all of your great character traits on the first date. That’s just not going to happen, and that’s okay. Just focus on putting your best, most-authentic foot forward and getting to know your date. And remember: you won’t learn everything about them on the first date, either.
7. Remember: A Bit of Positive Disagreement Can be Fun
You and your date don’t have to agree on everything. You can disagree honestly and still find points of compatibility and have a great time. Even better, if you both are good-humored about things, a little bit of disagreement can be fun. Sure, you don’t want to match wits over politics or religion, but there’s nothing wrong with a lively head-to-head over rival teams or the best movie in the Star Wars franchise. It can be fun to challenge your brain a bit.
8. Get a Good Read on Your Date’s True Self
You also want to spend your first date getting to know your date’s authentic self as well. So, focus on what they say and do. This is how you will know if there is any chance of there being a match.
9. Dress & Present Yourself in a Way That Builds Confidence
Dress appropriately for the date that you have planned, but also in a way that makes you feel confident and reflects your personal style. You don’t want to show up in a conservative navy suit when bright colors are really your thing.
10. Make Sure You Are Ready to Date
It’s normal to feel a little bit of anxiety about going on a first date, and it’s okay to be concerned about how you are going to come off. However, if you are feeling so anxious it’s going to keep you from having a good time, you may not be ready to get out there yet. Don’t put pressure on yourself to date.
About the Author
Luisa Brenton is a blogger. She was born in Italy, graduated from The St. Louis School of Milan and went to Chicago to pursue higher education at the Chicago’s Public Research University. Luisa is interested in modern literature and new films. She is interested in journalism as well.