When it comes to dating — and any relationship — the best way to trust each other and keep on trusting each other is to be honest. That means revealing something about yourself, being vulnerable and getting raw. How interesting, then, that that’s not how most of us are on first dates? Everyone tries to avoid first-date awkwardness. We want to be smooth, our “best version of ourselves” and avoid anything that may ruin the flow. “I have a number of playboys and playgirls on my caseload. One of the most notable features of most of their relationships is that they're smooth. They play the people they date or meet for hookups to keep everything under their control,” says Toronto-based psychotherapist Wendy Brown. “Honesty and awkward moments introduce the fact that they're dealing with real people who might need some empathy here and there. And that interferes with playing the game and keeping everything easy,” Brown says.
With honesty comes awkward moments. No matter how socially skilled you are, you won't always know the right thing to say or do if you're being a real person. If you have a lot of seriously awkward moments, you might want to strive to reduce them. Pause long enough to think but not so long that the other person starts wondering what's wrong. Bear in mind the probable impact of what you say or do. Put yourself in the other individual's shoes.
At the same time as you're being thoughtful along with your honesty and awkwardness, be kind. Be kind in how you think and feel. Remember that you're doing something truly awesome and really challenging; you're opening yourself up to have a meaningful connection with someone.
1. It Shows Character And Strength
Brown suggests that trying to be honest on a first date is a good and courageous thing to do. Of course, you need to bear in mind that you've just met this person and you haven't yet established trust. Brown says to try to think of the whole truth about something like a whole onion. “Be selective: Some onions might never need to be peeled. But for the important and relevant ones, you're probably best to go layer by layer as you build a relationship infrastructure that makes it okay,” says Brown.
2. Eye Contact Is Hot
Test (and boost) the sexual tension by allowing for moments of silence punctuated by eye contact. You may laugh, giggle or avert your gaze, but this is all part of the dance. “ The awkwardness allows for the excitement to build. If you could anticipate the outcome, you’d lose interest. A degree of mystery and the unknown is essential to passion,” says Astroglide's Resident Sexologist Dr. Jess.
3. You Can Reveal Without Oversharing
You don’t want to be the first-date over-sharer who transforms the evening into a pity-party or therapy session, says dating expert Laurel House. “You do want to selectively reveal something about yourself that taps into your heart, allowing it to open, and therefore setting the expectation and creating the environment of safety and trust so that your date feels comfortable to reveal something of similar depth,” says House.
4. It Helps You Make A Connection
Use your core values as a starting place. Be confident in who you are, where you came from, and what you stand for. “Within your core values, you will also find that you have a few weaknesses. And that’s okay too,” says House. It gives you a purpose to improve on in order to become your best self. What’s great about having a clear awareness of your core values, is that you can have confidence in who you are, where you came from, and where you’re going. House says that’s a powerful, as well as a sexy, thing. Once you know your values, frame stories around them. These are stories that show and tell who you are, but that center around a feeling. Because stories and feelings are connectors.
“You may not be able to relate to someone’s exact experience, but if you understand the underlying feeling – fear, not good enough, insecurity, anger — you can connect on that level. And let me tell you, connecting through emotion-triggering stories will instantly make two first time daters more interested in each other on a deeper level than on the fact that you both like beach vacations and share a love of old-fashioned cocktails,” says House.
5. You'll Build A Foundation
When building anything strong, the most important building block is the foundation. So why would you start a relationship built on a lie or misperception? “When people go out on a first date, everyone wants to put their best foot forward. Yet, the best thing to do is to be who you really are, not an impression of whom you think that should be. Being honest about yourself, and the confidence that comes with it, is one of the most attractive qualities a person can have,” says Adelle Gomelsky, Three Day Rule Matchmaker.
If you start a relationship being dishonest about yourself or hiding qualities that are inherent to whom you are, your partner will eventually find out. When they do, they will likely have second thoughts about your relationship and question who you really are. “A relationship built on dishonesty won’t last. If someone doesn’t accept you or the characteristics that make you unique, then they aren’t the right person for you. Every first date is a new opportunity to be yourself. If you hope to find someone that appreciates you, then shouldn’t you embrace who you are first?” says Gomelsky.
6. It’ll Prevent Future Awkwardness
Keeping secrets or fibbing on a first date means you’ll have to continue to cover up your lies throughout your relationship, says relationship expert Lori Bizzoco. Instead, just be honest with him or her; it may be a bit scary, but it’ll help you avoid an even more awkward moment down the road.
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