Post-Digital Love: Part III
“On Being Your Self”
By Dan Friend
This is part three in a the three part series Post-Digital Love
“Just be yourself”
Is the most common and cliched piece of dating advice. What you may not realize is that it is the best piece of advice you will ever get. When we are just “being ourselves” we feel happier, freer, and less inhibited.
However, something that sounds simple “like being yourself” can be quiet difficult. You are a complex person. One day you might have just got in a fight with your friend and come off as an angry jerk. Another day you might have received a bonus and feel that you are walking on air. Both of those is you being you. So what I like to say is be your best “authentic self”.
“Be Your Authentic Self”
What do I mean by that? Think of the last time that you were having a great time. Maybe you were meeting up with an old friend swapping war stories, celebrating a birthday or going for a tranquil walk in the woods. How were you acting then? What was your state of being? That’s the kind of mindset you want to bring to a first date. Relaxed, comfortable, boyent, humorous.
One way to present your most authentic self is to do things that will make you loose and relaxed as possible before your date. Listen to your favorite song on the train, read a good fantasy novel or give yourself a massage.
Secondly, come in with the right mindset. Think of a time in the past where you were having a blast. Where were you? Who were you with? Try and internalize these feelings before your date. This can be hard to do at first but I find it the best way to psyche myself up before a first date.
Thirdly, have a good story in mind. Maybe you read something that you found was fascinating. Maybe you had a funny or embarrassing moment that you want to share. Or you could think of a favorite joke or story that has worked well with your friends. Having something to say initially give you a good first foot forward on your date.
Opinionated Small Talk
Small talk, it’s the one thing that few are gifted at but is a necessity when you are meeting anyone for the first time. However on a date you should go about it differently. You want to talk about a topic that is widely known but take a stance on it that shows you have an opinion. As I’m sure you’ve heard before the three things you should never talk about when first meeting someone are sex, politics or religion. It is because people have strong opinions and the conversation can become contentious.
Thus I have come up with the holy trinity of small talk. These three tops are non controversial enough to not offend anyone but give you something to take a stance on. The three are:
For example, you could ask “who do you like more, Beyonce or Taylor Swift? Whose worse, Kim Kardashian or Justin Beiber?” Whichever person your date chooses, choose the opposite. Make an argument and stick too it. People like people who have strong opinions because they appear to have conviction even if it’s their hatred of hipsters with top knots.
People are wired to quickly make judgments about other people. It’s what first impressions are important. Your date is no different. They will look at you and silo you into a category. Though it’s hard to stop people from make judgments about you, you can sway their opinion about those judgments. For example, I consider myself someone who is intellectually curious, reads more fantasy books than the average person and is vocal about my love of Game of Thrones. I remember I was on a date with a girl and she just blurted out “Wow, are you a nerd?” She didn’t say it in flirty way either. It was an accusation. She was calling me out:
You = nerd, nerd = undesirable, You = undesirable.
In this situation, some guys might get pulled off their game and freeze. Others might get combative and shoot something mean back. Neither of these will look good for you. Instead I said “Hell yeah I’m a nerd! Nerds are awesome. Nerds rule the world!” I just re-framed what it means to be a nerd. I associated being a nerd with being powerful. Being unapologetic about who you are signals that you are confident in yourself and that you value yourself two qualities that people find attractive in other people.
Aspiration and Passion
A common conclusion on dating sites is that women love men with ambition. And on a lot of profiles you’ll see ambition, ambition, ambition. The thing is saying you are ambitious and being appearing ambitious are two different things. When it comes to ambition speak about your aspirations. What are your dreams? Tell them your dream. Do you want to be CEO of a fortune 500 company. Do you want to live on a houseboat? Do you wish to do civil engineering in sub-Saharan Africa?
What topic could you talk about for hours? What injustice makes your blood boil? What’s worth speaking up about? This is your passion. When you see a good opening tell your date about your passion. It doesn’t have to be for very long, you could even say it in a sentence. You could say something like
“I am passionate about humane treatment of animals. No life, whether big or small deserves to live in suffering”. When you talk about your passion, you speak with conviction, which is incredibly powerful. These few sentences can really drive home to your date that you are a “real” person with thoughts, dreams and desires. There’s something solid inside you, you can speak from the core. This is rare. Most people either don’t know their passion or can’t articulate it. I think most people just go through the motions and are like those chocolate Easter bunnies. They look all impressive and shiny but when you take a bite they are hollow on the inside. You are like a caramel toffee. Let them take a bite. It will give them something to chew on.