Our eyes meet across the table. You pull out the chair, smile nervously, and sit down. Could this be the one? You have four minutes to find out.

Speed dating is nothing new. We do it all the time: whether we’re on the train, at the public library, or in the supermarket. It only takes a few seconds for the sparks to fly. No wonder we call it love at first sight.

But what does our desire to flirt with others say about us? Let’s take a seat in that chair again and get ready to dig a little deeper. You know what they say: what you look for in a partner is very often what you look for in yourself.

Ready to get to know yourself? All right. Let’s go. The clock is ticking…

How do you describe yourself?

It’s difficult to describe yourself to a complete stranger. You don’t know where to begin. When you want to impress someone, you’re keen to highlight your accomplishments, naively hoping that a certificate on the wall or a job title is going to be enough to woo your date into believing that you’re the one. You couldn’t be more wrong. Your potential partner isn’t interested in your polished résumé. It makes you look perfect and we both know that’s not true. We have TV shows, Hollywood stars, and fitness magazines for that.

At the same time, you don’t want to air your dirty laundry too early in the game. Four minutes can be an excruciatingly long time to endure an awkward moment. Haven’t we all been there? It’s not the most fun place to be, unless you actually enjoy those kind of situations. If that’s the case, then go for it! Make it awkward. There’s someone out there for everyone.

So, what is the best way to describe yourself?

Accept that you tell different stories about who you are.

It’s impossible to pin down one aspect about yourself. You want to be aware about your different roles and the stories that shape them. Here are only a few roles that you might have:

  • Parent
  • Child / Sibling
  • Friend
  • Single / Husband / Wife / Partner
  • Employee / Boss
  • Student / Teacher
  • Leader / Follower

Perhaps there’s a role that you’re ashamed of because you feel that you’ve failed to play your part. Or maybe there’s a role that you feel very comfortable with and therefore tend to show off to others as your personal trophy.

Your various roles say a lot about who you are. They also suggest areas where you can improve your relationships and your overall quality of life. Is there a role that you’re ignoring? Spend some time this week to explore that role. Act it out. Play the part and see what it does for you. Others are eagerly waiting for your performance.

Date tip: Think about what you leave out. This says more about you than you might be ready to admit. It’s one of the quickest ways to get to know your warts and tap into your self-doubts.

What are your self-doubts?

Let’s address the elephant in the room: our self-doubts. Each one of us has hundreds of them, but since we only have four minutes we can only tap into a few of the most common ones.

What if nobody wants to date me?

This fear usually taps into the belief that you’re either:

  1. So boring that no one will like you, or
  2. So insecure that you think less about yourself

First, let me remind you that everyone walks around with this fear at one point or another. The fear of being alone is deeply rooted in our mind. We can still do something about it, though. If you think you’re “too boring” to be loved, then maybe you need to look at your life and see what you can change. Your life doesn’t have to be boring. This is your choice. Find ways to make it more interesting to you. After all, you’re the one who’s living your life. Not anyone else.

When you think less of yourself, you need to work on your confidence. You need to practice a sense of kindness and friendship towards yourself. Stop being so harsh on yourself. What’s the point – what purpose does your criticism serve? It doesn’t make you a stronger person, nor does it help you attract the kind of person who will love you for who you are.

Date tip: Work on your insecurities and live the life you want to live. Then you’re more likely to attract the person who will make your heart beat faster.   

What if I’m not attractive enough?

When you doubt your own looks, you need to remember what you’re comparing it to. Movies, TV shows, blogs and magazines provide a certain ideal of beauty that consists of abs, voluptuous breasts, and Photoshop. You can choose to buy into it or create your own ideals. If you want to get a body like that, then get ready to work for it. Me? I’d tell my date to get stuffed. Merely the idea of getting a six-pack is enough to put me to sleep. But hey, that’s just me.

Just don’t bet your romance on winning the genetic lottery. It’s not worth it. Don’t believe me? Check out the American fashion model Cameron Russell’s TED Talk: “Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe Me, I’m a Model.”

Date tip: Create your own ideals of beauty, and then you’ll always be beautiful. Stop living up to the ideals of the media. Ideals change and they are meant to be broken.  

What if I’m too shy to meet someone?

Love makes everyone blush. When we finally sit opposite to that special someone, our systems either shut down completely and we don’t say a thing, or we go absolutely mental and talk like we’ve had five cups of coffee. You know the feeling.

If your shyness stands in the way of your love life, then be responsible and educate yourself. No one is expecting you to become a super car salesperson over night, but you can learn a few strategies that will be helpful to you. You can also try online dating and see if that makes it easier for you. Worst case scenario, maybe one of your extroverted friends can introduce you to a few potential dates. Leverage your network, feel the fear, and step outside your comfort zone. Your efforts will be worth it.

Date tip: Try online dating and educate yourself. Learn a few useful strategies that you can apply and seek support from friends and family.

Who do you want to be with?

To be in a couple, or to be single? That is the real question.

You don’t have to be in a rush to find a partner and get married. Take your time and get to know yourself first. It’s so easy to leech on to someone just because you’re too afraid to be alone. But this is not how healthy relationships are formed. They grow over time and teach us what we value in others and in ourselves.

I hope you’ll find that special someone who will bring out the best in you. But deep down, you and I both know who that person is. That person must be you.

Your turn

Pling! Time’s up. That was pretty quick, wasn’t it?

I hope you’re ready to hop on to your next date. Now you have the chance to voice your own thoughts and questions in the comments. See you there!

Sometimes my life feels like it’s stuck in neutral – like I’m stuck in an endless loop of introduction with no progress. 20 Things Life is too Short to Worry About

Featured photo credit: MikeCrane83via Flickr

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