How to Be Yourself When Dating
I’m in my late 20’s. My Nana is in her late 70’s. Besides being sassy balls of sweetness and sharing the same gene line, we have something else in common. We’re both dipping our toes into dating. While she fairly recently lost her husband of over 50 years and is looking for new connections and companionship, my intention is to find a life partner to settle down with. After having a conversation with her about how nervous she was before a new date, I realized something – dating can be nerve-wracking no matter what stage of life you are in. These nerves sometimes can make us feel out of alignment with ourselves, or just not grounded. We might feel like we’re not showing up as ‘our best selves’. Dating can be hard, but it can also be really fun. I’m here to give you some tips that I’ve picked up along the way on how to be yourself when dating.
It’s Ok to Be Nervous
Do me a favor. Take a deep breath in and let it out with a sigh. You may even want to do a “horse breath” by breathing out rapidly with your lips closed. Now give your body a little shake from your head to your feet. Feel better?
That’s one way of clearing the nervousness you’re feeling. Those nerves though? They’re entirely normal. Meeting new people is exciting and exhilarating, even if it’s someone you already knew just in a different context. This can make you nervous. If it makes you feel any better, your date is probably just as nervous, if not more than you are. Being nervous is not just Ok, but normal. We’ll tell you how to deal with those nerves later on. But first, another hot tip.
Be Clear About Your Intentions
People go into dating with all different backgrounds and intentions. Maybe they just got out of a long-term relationship and are looking for someone to share a meal with. Or they’re looking for a hot hook-up. Or a date to their company holiday party. Or maybe a spouse and someone to have babies with (If that’s your thing). My point is, people have different intentions and expectations when it comes to dating. The best way to prevent heartache and stay present is by being clear about what those intentions are. This may be helpful to do before you even schedule a date. Sometimes someone seems really interesting, but you’re scared to ask because you don’t want to know the answer. Try not to do this. You’re only prolonging heartache in the end if you have different hopes for the relationship.
Stay in Your Comfort Zone
You might be thinking ‘What?! I thought the whole point of dating was to get out of your comfort zone.’ Hear me out. Dating is a fine line between staying comfortable and getting uncomfortable. Meeting a new person in a romantic setting is probably outside of your comfort zone, to begin with, especially if you tend to be more of an introvert. So when it comes to deciding what to do on said date, you might want to stick with something that feels comfortable. That way, the only nerves you’re experiencing are ones from being with this new person, not because it’s your first time at an open mic or bungee jumping. If being an adrenaline junkie and trying new things is within your comfort zone, then by all means go for it. The point is to do something that feels fun, exciting, and low commitment. My favorites are a sunset walk or meeting at a coffee shop.
Date Yourself First
Hey you! Yeah, you. You’ve got it going on, don’t forget it. One of the best ways to be yourself when dating is to go into the experience feeling confident, secure, and clear. How do you do that? By dating yourself first.
That could mean different things to different people. For me, that means doing things that lift me up and make me feel full of energy like practicing yoga, going surfing, having a little home spa sesh, and meditating. For you, it might mean going for a bike ride, baking, or FaceTiming with your besties. You catch my drift. The most important thing is to do things that make you feel good so that you can go into your date feeling as grounded and centered as possible.
Some other ways you can do this are:
- Give yourself a big ol’ pep talk “You’re so beautiful. You have so much to offer. You are so loving and kind.”
- Go for a brisk walk or hike.
- Listen to or watch a motivational podcast or video.
- Masturbate! Relieve stress and get your glow on.
At the end of the day, you never know what role someone might play in your life. Whether that’s a life partner, a friend, or just someone you happened to share a cup of coffee with one time. You don’t need to put too much pressure on it, just go in with the intention of being honest, clear, and enjoying yourself. Having fun is an incredibly attractive quality. So laugh, be boisterous, and ask questions about your date.
Natasha (she/her) is a full-spectrum doula and health+wellness copywriter. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, health, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more education and empowerment. You can connect with Natasha on IG @natasha.s.weiss.