Being Yourself

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In online dating, you’ll probably frequently hear the phrase “be yourself.” In fact, you’ve probably been hearing it since you were in school making your first friends! Perhaps it’s become a bit of a cliche over the years - but that doesn’t make it any less true. For an example of why it’s important to be true to yourself, consider the stories of “Tom” and “Rachel.”

Tom’s been having a difficult time with his dating profile since he first sat down to write it. In his opinion, he’s not exciting enough. He looks at other profiles, of people who use words like “adventure” and “quest.” He sees pictures of others who are rock-climbing and skydiving and posing in front of famous pieces of architecture from around the world. Tom thought he was fun-seeking because he liked to drive around on the weekends and maybe try out a drive-in theater on a whim. Then he looked at profiles of people whose weekends were full of urban exploration and mountain climbing.

Rachel’s seen those types of profiles, too, and truth be told, she’s rather tired of them. “Everyone wants to prove how interesting and different they are,” she says. “The last few dates I’ve been on have all been some sort of hike or sport or adventure. Yeah, it might be fun, but there was no time to actually get to know the date. I think some people are literally just looking for a buddy to adventure with, rather than a relationship... which is fine for someone who wants that too, but it’s just not me.” Rachel doesn’t think she could keep up with someone that active in the long run, and she thinks it could actually affect the future of the relationship: “I get the feeling that if I’m not fun anymore, they’d move on anyway.”

In theory, Tom (or someone like him) might just be compatible with Rachel - but if Tom continues to try to make his profile seem like someone he’s not, they might never find one another. And in some small way, many of us are like Tom - striving to fit some ideal that just isn’t us. Consider: maybe constructing an illusion might get you greater numbers of dates - but would you be dating the people with a possibility of a meaningful, long-term relationship? How can you find someone with whom you’re truly compatible if you’re not presenting yourself?

Most people don’t think of dating, even dates that go nowhere, as “wasting time.” However, if you’re deliberately meeting people who wouldn’t be interested in the real you, that might be exactly what you’re doing. Are you presenting the real you?