Even if you perceive yourself to be an open, honest and authentic person, if you are not alert to your date and don’t keep any boundaries during first date, you might sabotage any possibility of extending the date into a relationship. Being an open person doesn’t mean you don’t have to take things more slowly, go with the flow and the process of getting to know your date.
There are those who think that being a closed person hinders the development of a satisfying intimacy; that when you are open, honest and authentic – with yourself and your partner – you can then develop a nice relationship.
But this is not always the case.
There is a difference between being open, honest and authentic, on the one hand, and revealing too much about yourself during the first date, on the other hand.
A friend of mine who perceived herself to be very self-aware used to tell her dates everything about herself during the first date. She thought it to be authenticity. And she never understood that so-much-self-revelation distanced her dates from her, for the simple reason that they didn’t know now to respond, didn’t feel the desire to open-up so quickly, and maybe even got scared by what she told them about herself and her dysfunctional family.
Even though she went on endless dates she never managed to extend a date into a meaningful long-term relationship. It looked like she turned people off.
What does “being authentic” mean?
Being authentic doesn’t mean you have to tell everything about yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to be as open as possible during your first of second date.
Being authentic means, you allow yourself to “be who you are” during the meeting; that you flow with the process of meeting someone; that you don’t try to impress and present yourself as someone you are not.
At the same time, you are not trying to overburden your date with unnecessary details about who you are. No one will be impressed by you opening up too quickly as if you have nothing to hide, as if there is no tomorrow, as if “what you see is what you get”. The twilight zone is beneficial for a relationship, slowly unveiling who you are, allowing your date to unveil details as well, slowly getting closer to one another.
Being authentic doesn’t mean you don’t have to be cautious
I’ve once read about a married woman who used to give her single friends the following advice – or shall we say, the following guidelines and rules: “Don’t ever say during first date “my parents are divorced” ; or “my father cheated on my mother” , and never give any hints about your “dysfunctional family” .
As much as you might perceive yourself to be an open and authentic person, keep in mind that many are not like that; that many need ample time to open up and reveal about themselves; that many don’t feel right away the freedom to be “who they really are” in first date.
Understanding that others are not necessarily like you, that others might have their own rhythm of moving forward with a relationship, that others might be more introvert than you, might enable you to slowly but more certainly develop a successful intimacy.
Otherwise, being too open and revealing too much about yourself during first date might scare your dates away from you. They might feel you are suffocating them with all the information you load on the table; they might perceive you to be too needy; or they might wonder whether you are too egocentric – talking so much about yourself during first date.
Even if you perceive yourself to be a trustful, open, authentic person, not being alert to your date and not keeping any boundaries during first date might boomerang back at you. Be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot: being authentic doesn’t mean you don’t have to be cautious. Being an open person doesn’t mean you don’t have to take things more slowly.
Being free to express who you are doesn’t mean you don’t have to take it one step at a time.
Doron Gil, Ph.D., a Self-Awareness and Relationships Expert, is a university teacher, workshop leader, counselor and consultant. He has lectured widely on these and related topics at conferences world-wide, taught classes to students, gave workshops to parents and administrators and is the author of: “The Self-Awareness Guide to a Successful Intimate Relationship. Available as e-book and paperback: