Dating is beyond making a great first impression. It is actually about showing your true self so that both of you can figure out whether you are a great fit for each other. So beyond looking and smelling good, dating is all about showing who you really are without disgusting the person enough to make them want to leave you.
So, how do you show your true self without showing those sides of you that may cause them to leave—forever?
Adapt an attitude of respect. When you are a respectful person, you will do things that will always bear in mind the well-being of the other. As a person who respects the other, you will do things that will make them happy and encourage them to be their best self. You will tread lightly, and avoid doing things that may hurt or offend them. These things allow you to become real without hurting your date.
Know that it won’t be on how you look, how well you dress, or how good you smell that matter. It will be about how you treat them. People, girls especially, don’t really mind if their potential lifetime partner isn’t exactly Brad Pitt in the looks department. It’s a plus, yes, but if the person makes them feel loved and the most beautiful in the world or the most accomplished, most respected he’d ever met, the looks won’t matter as much.
It’s not about the fancy cars or the upscale restaurants. It’s a good idea to have a great mix of formal and laid-back dates in the first months of dating. There is no need to be Christian Grey in order to impress a girl. As long as the dates are fun, varied, and show you good and interesting sides of yourselves to the other, there is no need to rack up a debt just to impress.
Keeping a tidy apartment may be important, though. Let’s face it: women seem to be stricken with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) by default. Nothing turns off a girl faster than a mountain of pizza boxes and a burgeoning mold colony in your fridge. If getting married or finding a life partner is important to you, then you might as well start learning how to clean up or hire a maid service over one of those freelancing sites. Thumbtack, Angie’s List, TaskRabbit, and even good ol’ Craigslist may help you find a competent part-time cleaner.
Be faithful. Unless you live in a polygamous culture or your partner agrees to a polyamorous lifestyle, you may have to delete your dating app after you find that you and your date are working out so far. No one likes to know that they’re just an option in a sea of options, so it would be a good touch to be faithful until you both decide that you just aren’t good for each other. Should you decide not to take your dating relationship to the next level, then that’s the time to start seeing other people.
Remember, finding love isn’t cruising through the aisles in a grocery store. You aren’t there to pick through a number of characteristics you want in a girl or a guy. When you date someone, it’s a pursuit of getting to know who they are as well as letting your own personality unfold. You need to have a set of non-negotiables and core “wants,” even “needs” in a person, and you have to give that to the other person as well.
For example, a girl would do well to look for a humble man. Nothing is as annoying as a pompous jerk whose favorite subject is himself. Or, a guy would do well to look for an understanding girl. This doesn’t mean that she’ll “understand” the guy throughout all his jerk moves such as being late for a date for a full hour or his bad habit of looking at other girls while they have coffee. But, it’s that trait in which she’ll give you space when you’re stressed but will expect you to be better and do better with how you handle your moods. With these character non-negotiables in place, you will be on your way to figuring out if that dating relationship should be taken to the next level or not.
Dating is, indeed, a dance. It is a dance of personalities and an unfolding of two people toward each other. The best strategy in a dating pursuit is really to be your best, most real self in a way that nurtures your potential partner without compromising who you are. When you find that you can be your most real self with that person, maybe, just maybe, she’s actually “the one.”