You’ve planned the day and time of your first date but could use a bit of dating advice to ensure you’ll show her a great time. You’re not quite sure how to act so you ask your friends and maybe search Google for a couple of articles on dating advice for men to get some guidance. What you find is no matter where you turn everyone keeps saying the same damn thing. Those three words that every well-meaning but semi-clueless person tells you:
“Just be yourself”
This is everyone’s favorite bit of dating advice to give men, but it’s completely useless to receive. Being told to “relax, stop worrying, and be yourself” doesn’t help to do any of those things. Besides, what does that even mean? If ‘myself’ feels like a nervous wreck that is afraid to say anything and wants nothing but for her to like me, should I be that? If “myself” only feels comfortable being in interview mode and peppering my date with question after question should I do that? If what makes me comfortable is sitting there talking about myself the whole time because I don’t know how else to fill the silence, should I do that?
If you’re unsure how to act, try this:
Close your eyes, take five slow, deep breaths, and begin to imagine your ‘Ideal Self’. Picture yourself having all the confidence, humor, and charm in the world (along with any other qualities you’d like to have for this date). Now watch your Ideal Self go through the date. Observe your body language. The way you sit, the way you talk, your eye contact, the way you interact with your date, with strangers, with everybody.
Remember, your Ideal Self is somebody who already has everything you could want. When you already have everything you want, what sort of thoughts do you have? What are you looking to get from this date? Is this Ideal Self worried about saying the wrong thing? Is he bombarding her with questions trying to learn every detail of her life? Is he talking about himself, hoping he sounds cool and impressive? Or are his thoughts and actions a bit more relaxed, a bit more playful? Does he care about getting this girl to like him, or is he just out to have a good time and share it with this lovely lady? Close your eyes and take a few minutes and really see how the date would go through this new perspective. When you’re done, step into this ideal self and allow yourself to become that guy.
A fun way to make this new sense of self even stronger is to go back and run through a previous date the same way. Look at the areas you may have slipped up in the past. The funny joke you wish you made, the awkward silence you could have handled better, etc. Then see how this ideal self would have handled the situation. The next time something similar occurs, this new memory you’ve created will pop up and suddenly you’ll find yourself with new resources to handle the situation much better.
This may sound like a weird exercise, but it works. The reason is our brains don’t know the difference between mental rehearsal and reality. If you picture yourself handling a situation in a certain way, then when that situation comes up the brain will automatically handle it the way it has practiced. Sport psychologists in particular have studied visualizing techniques heavily and many top athletes will visualize success in their games/events before playing. If it can help men win championships and gold medals, it can certainly help you relax and have a good time on a first date.
While this exercise will definitely help with your next date it won’t instantly turn you into that person forever. It’s just a guide to help you become a better you. It’s great to be able to turn to your Ideal Self for dating advice but men who are on the path to becoming their Ideal Self still need to learn how to use these qualities in the best way possible. How to build rapport, how and when to escalate, and how to display these qualities without reverting to old patterns of behavior that you already know don’t work. The best way to do this is through live practice and repetition, which you can get (along with expert coaching) through our weekly bootcamps in LA.