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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Most of the Dating Advice You Have Read is Dead Wrong - jlh

Guys are supposed to act confident, buy flowers, tell jokes. Gals are told to hang on his every word, flirt, be coy. Baloney! Why be a pretend you - an imitation you - instead of a real you? As Judy Garland said, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

Why are you dating? If you are dating because you like to go on first dates, then fine - just play the actor or actress - and enjoy an evening of make believe. However, if you are dating because you want someone in your life longer term, stop the play-acting and be yourself.

The role-playing is completely counterproductive for two reasons. First, suppose that you are successful in impressing and attracting your date with your antics. What happens later when you let your guard down and revert to being yourself? You will be unmasked as not being the person your date was attracted to, and revealed as a phony beside.

The even more unfortunate situation occurs when your date is not attracted to your contrived persona, but would have loved the real you. What a huge loss to be on a date with the man or woman of your dreams and never even recognize them or have them recognize you because each of you were so busy play-acting.

What to do:

1. Clear the air. Before your first date, or on your first date at the latest, announce that you are going to relax and be yourself, and invite your date to be himself or herself as well. Some dates won't know what to make of that invitation, but the person you really want in your life will respond with gratitude, and will also relax.

If you are using an on-line dating service, be sure that your profile reflects the real you - without any puffery or distortion of your true qualities. Be proud of who you are, and share your true self. Have the "clear the air" conversation before you meet in person.

2. Choose relaxed places for your first few dates. There are environments that foster play-acting, and there are those that support each of you in being yourself. Choose the latter.

3. Ask for feedback. Dating is often a time for playing the guessing game as well as the play-acting game. Don't guess, ask how your date is feeling, what they want to do or not do. Give your date the same consideration as you would give a good friend.

4. Just remember to relax and be yourself. You will enjoy your date more - and you will create an opening for a wonderful long-term relationship with someone who likes the real you.

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