Joanne was desperate to be in a committed relationship (and I am not exaggerating or just being unkind, I promise you!), but she consistently behaved as if she was an independent-minded party girl who just wanted a good time. After yet another bitter dating disappointment, I asked her why she continued to present herself in such a way, when it clearly wasn’t attracting the kind of attention she really desired… and her response was a little testy to say the least: “because you can’t just go out there acting as if you are looking for a relationship!”. Well, maybe not… but surely there is a middle road between man-eater and bunny boiler!
I saw the pics on social media, of Joanne in action when on a night out. She always looked great, dressed up to the nines, draped around a glamorous friend or two, pouting and blowing kisses at the camera. Absolutely nothing wrong with that! But to the guy who is contemplating the kind of dating that could potentially develop into something more meaningful, Joanne would either appear to be way out of his league, or not on the same page at all… possibly both; to the guy who fancies his luck with a babe who looks as if she could absolutely take him in her stride without batting a single false lash… she would be birthday, Easter and Christmas rolled into one sexy package, and for enjoyment only!
I saw the deep, dark depths to which Joanne would plunge, every time a fledgling relationship bit the dust. And each time it happened the resentment she harboured towards her ex increased ten fold, in line with the intense feelings of rejection and abandonment that inevitably emerged, like choking silt rising from the muddiest river bed. Which is why I felt that a change of approach wasn’t just a good idea… it was an absolute necessity!
So, how do we present an accurate version of ourselves when venturing out into the world of dating? Obviously, we aren’t going to reveal absolutely everything about ourselves, and so yes, there will be a degree of initial editing… but it needs to be considered and reasonable editing, not false PR!
If our intention is to attract someone with whom we could potentially develop a decent, ongoing relationship, we need to recognise the kind of person who clearly has a very different agenda – which shouldn’t be too difficult to do! And we need to recognise the kind of activities and venues that tend to increase our chances of meeting up with those people… and only indulge when we just want to have a bit of fun! We also need to monitor ourselves; are we being overtly flirty, or overdoing the girl-power thing? Are we actually conversing with our POI, or just having banter? How is he/she responding to the conversation, and to our reasonably honest presentation of ourselves? Are we trying to hang on to their attention, even when we recognise that they are starting to lose interest in the conversation, or that their attention is beginning to wander? Do we find ourselves slipping into our alter-ego the second we suspect that they aren’t that fascinated by the ‘real’ us, after all?
Being ourselves is also important when texting and calling a love interest; I have heard, from many disappointed seekers of love, that the person they were enthusiastically communicating with via text seemed completely different in the flesh – less confident, less interesting… less attractive!
I wasn’t suggesting that Joanne should show up at social events dressed as if she was just off to the supermarket; I didn’t believe that she should immediately confess her burning desire for commitment to the first guy who showed any interest; I wasn’t advising her to pour out every detail of her everyday life, including her run-ins with her ex, her children, her health worries, and her financial fears – but I was suggesting that she might align herself with more potentially compatible love interests if she toned it down a bit and behaved more naturally, rather than performing. Maybe, deep down inside, she didn’t believe that the ‘real’ her was good enough to attract a decent, healthy relationship and that the only way she would find a man was by coming across as if her life was so fun-filled and exciting that she really didn’t need one! The only problem with that is that it would be completely unsustainable… plus, the kind of guy who would be attracted by that form of game-playing would be a game-player himself.
Everyone (or at least most people, anyway!), are on their best behaviour in the early stages of courting and dating, and I was no different myself (and neither was my partner!). I would always be preened and pruned, and I would definitely not fart or over-eat when in the presence of the source of my adoration and fascination. Nowadays, I am sorry to say, I have no compunction about either (and neither does he!). And so, as I said earlier, some degree of editing will go on, which is… well… acceptable.
However, I have definitely been turned off by certain past love interests when they unwittingly provided a sudden snapshot of their true nature – and I am grateful for that, because they saved me time, energy and heartache!
Things such as:
Talking about an ex, saying, “she was the only woman I ever loved”. NO!
Too keen to talk too much about an ex, calling her an evil, lying, cheating bitch. NO!
Moaning about how skint he is. NO!
Constantly moaning about work, whilst making it obvious that he is doing absolutely nothing to find a better job. NO!
Spitting, or burping or farting in public, or replacing every other word with a swear-word. NO!
Sneering. At my line of work, choice of music, opinions, hobbies, beliefs… at anything in fact, including other people. NO!
Killing insects, just because they happen to be there, saying, “It’s only a bug!”. NO!
Eyeing up passing women, or talking about some girl he knows who is super-hot. NO!
Dropping into the conversation that he doesn’t bother with his children from a past relationship, or even blaming them for blaming him for not being there for them (NOT the same as the poor guy who has tried and tried to be a part of his kid’s lives, only to be pushed out by his ex). NO!
And of course it cuts both ways, and it isn’t just us – I have also been dropped like a hot brick by men who clearly haven’t been that impressed with who I am… which is absolutely fair and right, if that’s how they feel!
So, if you have been struggling with how to present yourself to potential love interests, it might be that you need to be a little more natural in your approach… and it might be that you also need to strengthen your sense of self-worth, as this can seriously influence how you see and value yourself.
And if you find it difficult to ‘read’ the nature and intentions of POI’s, afraid to trust your judgement, you could always purchase my, ‘Ask About Another Person’ consultation… it has, over the years, proved to be very useful to thousands of hopeful love-seekers, even if they haven’t always heard exactly what they want to! It never hurts to have a bit of insight and information, even if we just keep it at the back of our mind in case we need it! (For the listing, go to the Consultations page).