A first date is a touchy, tricky situation. So is a second date, and a third date. Get further than that, and you can be pretty sure you’ve at least made a basic, rudimentary connection with the other person. But those first few meetings can be quite nerve-wracking. How can you give yourself the best chance of winning your date’s trust?
Trust has to be earned, and the best way to earn it is to be genuine and honest. This flies in the face of some common, popular advice out there about “tricks” or “gimmicks” or other strategies to somehow convince your date you are something you aren’t. See how people agonize over their profiles on Internet dating sites – they worry about finding the best possible picture, the most flattering image. They struggle to write the “right” kind of answers to profile questions in order to maximize the number of interested queries from prospective dates they get in return.
All this fuss can give the impression that dating is a kind of game in which you try to fool other people by pretending to be something you aren’t, or by pretending to be (or have) a bit more of what you’ve got already (or a bit less, if you’re overweight or scrawny or otherwise ashamed of some part of yourself). If you can fool other people long enough for them to get to know the “real” you, then they will fall in love with you and everything will work out beautifully, right? So the common Hollywood script tells us.
And, to be fair, dating does involve some aspects of sales – you do want to feature your best qualities in order to attract some attention. But too much sales can ruin everything by disappointing your date when they find out you aren’t as young as the picture you put on your profile, or that you didn’t mention you smoke a pack a day. Lying like this also teaches you to be ashamed of yourself. If you approach dating with the attitude that you have to lie about who and what you are to have any hope of getting another person’s interest, then that’s a problem.
Let’s be clear – lying is lying, and it isn’t the best way to earn someone else’s trust. You will have to decide for yourself where to draw the line between necessary sales tactics and outright deception. But make sure you draw the line somewhere, and that you are prepared to accept the consequences.
The old, tried-and-true advice everyone’s mother gave them is still the best. “Be yourself,” your mother said. And that is the very best way to win your date’s trust. Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t.
One reason people feel so anxious on a date is that they feel judged. They fear how their date is judging them – Is he going bald? Are those wrinkles? Does she have a sense of humor? – and they want to impress them. People on dates also sometimes judge themselves very harshly, and being judged by both their date and themselves puts a double whammy of pressure on. It’s astonishing that people enjoy dating at all. Plenty of people don’t like the dating scene, and it’s not hard to figure out why.
The best chance you have of gaining your date’s trust is to calm down and be yourself. Take some of that pressure off by not judging and criticizing yourself. You are who you are, and, like every other person on the planet, you have good qualities and bad ones, and probably you have more good ones than bad ones, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. So first, trust yourself. If you don’t trust yourself, if you don’t believe you are worthy of dating, love and a long-term relationship, just the way you are, then there’s a basic problem you need to address.
Don’t lie about yourself because you think your date won’t like you if you tell the truth. Yes, put on nice clothes that suit you and make you look good. Yes take a shower and brush your teeth and comb your hair. But don’t lie about how old you are, or how much money you make, or brag about how intelligent you are, or how many famous people you’ve met, or any of that stuff. Lying about your job and how much money you make, for example, may attract other people, but what sort of people? The sort who want you for your money and ambition rather than who you are. That can lead to bitter disappointment later on.
Do not try too hard to impress your date. Impress them by being relaxed and comfortable in your own skin. So much of attraction and love is subconscious that you can’t really control it. But what you can control is your openness and genuine honesty. Being yourself will come across to your date, consciously or subconsciously, and they are more likely to be attracted to you as a result.
Despite what other so-called “experts” say, dating is not good when you see it as some kind of game that you will “win” if you have the best strategy, no matter how much you brag or distort the truth about yourself. In the short term, there may be some victories from that kind of approach, but they will be shallow, short-term victories, rather than long-term, satisfying ones.
Trying too hard to “win” the dating game by lying or exaggerating comes across to the other person as shallow and insecure. That isn’t the impression you want to give them, believe me.
The most important way to win your date’s trust is to first trust yourself. Be comfortable with who you are, and be honest. Let your date get to know the real you, rather than some fake you. Be yourself and win their trust.