So, there you are..the first date. He was one of who knows how many you swiped on that actually resulted in your hands aching from the sheer number of texts between the two of you over the past few days. He was the one who finally surprised you by asking you out on a date. After all the times you got excited about someone, getting your hopes up that this could “finally” be someone with potential only to be asked to have a hook up or sent a pic of a body part you certainly weren’t asking for or necessarily wanting to see. You are really here, in person, face-to-face with the man on the other side of the phone. And, he shockingly looks just like his pictures. That alone was enough to send your nerves right through the roof the second you saw him approaching you at the door of the restaurant where you decided to meet. Could this be too good to be true?
Now, the question is, what do you say to him? Sure, along with some flirty banter, you had already covered the basics: age, where you live, etc… But you don’t want to waste your time or his if this really is not going to go anywhere. You are done with causal dating and are ready to be with someone who is on the “same page” as you. You debate with yourself: do I keep the conversation light and more surface-level? Or, do I just get to the point and stop wasting any more of my time with the “wrong” person and just shoot straight by asking us to compare our list of relationship “deal breakers” and figuring out right here and now if we even have a chance of making it beyond this first date. And, then you also wonder just how much to disclose about yourself tonight, too. Does he really need to know about how horrible your last break up was? Or do you even talk about your ex? Does he need to know about things like those student loans you’re struggling to pay off each month or that you have a non-life-threatening medical condition that is well-managed?
You worry about being more carefree and fun and then falling for him only to get your heart-broken once enough time has passed and you eventually have those conversations where you find out about major incompatibilities, A.K.A. those darn “deal breakers”. Or worry that one of you would never have started dating if you had known certain things about the other person from the get-go. But, then you worry that disclosing too much too soon could scare him off before you even have a chance to get things started enough to know if there could be something good between the two of you. Maybe if you get things going and you both fall for one another, he might not care so much about whatever you fear might scare him off right now before he even has a chance to get to know you.
Another thing to consider is this: words are powerful. Very powerful. When you don’t know someone, like a guy you just started dating, ALL that person knows about you is what you tell them. So, in the beginning, he goes from knowing nothing about you to slowly knowing about you from only what you share. Therefore, you hold all the power in how he “knows” of you. There is a lot to know about all of us, so what you choose to share in the beginning sets the stage for how this man starts to think of you. For instance, if you have only shared a few texts and all you have shared is that you are an attorney who works long, hard hours and barely has time to do anything but get home and fall asleep, but omit sharing that you are leaving your job at the end of the year because you have saved enough money from working so hard and now able to pursue your dream of opening a yoga studio and focus on time with family, friends, travel and hopefully getting married and wanting a family, well, he might just stop hearing the little you shared thinking you have no time for a relationship and just aren’t compatible for what he wants. Or, if you just start out trying to figure out the “deal breaker” criteria by asking a bunch of questions, all he knows about you is really, well, nothing personal, and that you are coming in with a set criteria for whom you are looking for without even so much as knowing if the two of you want to kiss each other first. As you can see, choosing what to share, what not to share, and when to share certain things are all important to consider when first getting to know someone.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide what and when to share certain things with someone they are first dating. As discussed above, there are many things to take into consideration when choosing what to share about yourself with someone you don’t know yet. Ask yourself this question…if, after your first date, someone were to ask them about you, what would you want their answer to be? They really could only answer based on what information you have shared with them so far. And, since it was only the first date, that information is very limited. So, what would you want them to say about you? You have the power to determine what they can say based on what you decide to tell them. Now, fast forward to them being asked that question if you two continue to date for another 2 years. Their answer would probably be very different. Why? Because they have gathered 2 years of information and experiences with you.
Bottom line: you have a lot more power and control than you probably think you do when it comes to dating. If you want a man to know that what is most important to you from the outset is that you need to find someone who meets all of your “deal breaker” criteria, then, by all means, ask away. Or, if you want to focus on you two getting to know each other first and figuring out the “deal breakers” and bringing up the more “scary” issues later, the best bet is sharing those things that help him to understand who you are and get him to really know you.
Remember, dating is supposed to be fun—not stressful. So go out there and have some fun!
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