Why We Need to Stop ‘Faking it’ on First Dates

First, second, and third dates come with the potential for many rookie mistakes.

Not that we have to tell you that; you’ve probably made a few of them at some point.

The biggest mistake, though, is something that’s counterintuitive – and something most of us perpetually faking-it-until-we-make-it young professionals are guilty of doing.

We’re being too perfect.

First off, let’s be honest; first dates are like job interviews. Aside from the inevitable exchange of sometimes-awkward pleasantries and predictable questions, if you’re into it, you want to present yourself in the best light possible. Meaning, we often calculate our responses, suppress our quirks and ridiculous side, highlight (and even embellish) our achievements, censor our opinions, and are cautious not to reveal all of our cards at once.

Plus, we try to look our best (but that never hurt anyone).

They’re going to meet the real you eventually.

Conversation inevitably turns to the predictable – your family, hobbies, or upcoming vacations. If you’re lucky, you’ll share a few laughs. One thing that’s usually absent in initial dates, however, is your crazy. You know – the quirky, bad, ugly, and annoying side of you. Or, basically, all of your “flaws.”

But they should be right there along with you.

If you’re in the market for a serious relationship, you may want to consider being your crazy, quirky, flawed self from the moment you enter that restaurant or coffee shop on a first date – or at least, to some degree.

If you play an idealistic role at the beginning of the relationship – and play it well – you’re setting yourself up for potential relationship suicide when your true colours inevitably reveal themselves and that pedestal the other person has placed you on starts to rust, before crashing down completely. The problem is, of course, that the person has fallen for an idea of you, as opposed to the actual you.

And the actual you is probably not for everyone.

Think of it like false advertising. I mean, if somebody wanted an idealized version of your life, they could just check out your social media profile.

That’s why it’s not only the best idea to ditch the act and be your true self – in all your ridiculous glory – early on in the dating stage, but to also ask the right questions to inspire the proper dialogue in the first place. Instead of asking questions you already know the answer to thanks to your inevitable social media background check, go deeper – and get creative if you have to.

Ask what their flaws are. Find out what makes them angry. Ask them what the meanest thing they’ve ever done is. Ask about the craziest thing they’ve ever done. Get them to confess the most annoying thing about them. Don’t leave without knowing their passions.

If Adam Sandler put as much effort into first dates as he did making terrible movies, he’d literally be Prince Charming.

With this said, it doesn’t have to be too intense or reminiscent of a therapy session– that’s just weird. These are all questions that can be asked playfully and lightheartedly, providing you’re smart about it and keep from making it awkward.

Another way to bring out one another’s true, raw character is to remove yourself from the awkward confines of across-the-table banter and to opt instead for something interactive. Something like indoor rock climbing could reveal how he or she handles a challenge; a game of tennis or ping-pong offers a glimpse into their competitive side, and a cooking class could reveal how well they operate under pressure (and how skilled they are in the culinary department).

If they’re the one for you, the other person will find all of your quirks and “flaws” endearing rather than annoying.

The point is, your life partner – if that’s what you’re looking for – is going to see you on some of your worst and most challenging days.

You may as well prepare them for it all now if you’re serious about finding them.