Do you get nervous before a first date? Do feel that it is hard to be yourself when
meeting someone new? Here are some strategies to help you feel confident about yourself
in no time!
Dr. Chaya Newman: In order to make a good impression, each person has to know himself/herself.
If taking a walk or sitting in a hotel lobby is something that makes you feel uncomfortable,
I think that it's important to say something. If you don't want to have very much
conversation before a first date and may even want the matchmaker to set up the
date, then suggest that. The goal is to feel as relaxed as possible. The key is
knowing your own limitations and comfort zones.
Having made these statements, another part of making a good impression is looking
one's best. However, this is very subjective since each person interprets beauty
in a different way. For example, some men don't like to go out with women who use
make-up too liberally. Some women like men whose clothes are clean and pressed.
It may be wise to know this information before the first meeting. Therefore, it
is important to take enough time to get ready for the date.
Rabbi Simcha and Chaya Feuerman: There is no contradiction to "being yourself" and
still putting your best foot forward. Every relationship thrives on respecting and
understanding boundaries. The more intimate the relationship, the more one reveals
about personal matters, but we always keep something about ourselves private. Just
as we do not walk around without clothes, we also do not expose ourselves to everyone
In addition, dressing and behaving formally usually conveys an ability and willingness
to comply with societal standards which is very important to project in the beginning
of a relationship. Relationships require safety and trust to thrive. In the early
stages, more attention is needed in this area because the other may be anxious and
unsure about the person. To illustrate, often people will interview for various
jobs wearing clothing that is much more formal than the job's actual dress code.
There is good reason for this as an employee wants to show an ability to be respectful
and organized. Dating in the early stages is no different.
Obviously, as the relationship progresses, the individuals should gradually lower
barriers and talk about more deep and personal concerns, as well as share flaws
and shortcomings. At that point, it is important to develop the relationship so
that one feels more and more that "you could be yourself." Nevertheless, one should
always try to impress and romance the other person -- even after you are married
for 20 years it is key to constantly work to make yourself attractive to your spouse.
That is not about being phoney, or "not being yourself", it just is an act of courtesy
and love to help your spouse feel good about being with you.
Rabbi Dov Heller: To me being yourself means being open and honest with your feelings
about how you feel about the other person. Therefore, one should always be oneself
from the beginning. After all, if we hide our feelings now, what kind of relationship
are we building and how can we know if this is the right person for me? The real
goal of dating is to get to know each other and the only way to do that is to be
open and honest emotionally.
Rabbi Arnie Singer: You should always “be yourself”. Sure, you want to polish up
a bit for a date just like you would for a business meeting, interview, or dinner
party. But that shouldn’t change who you are. It should only enhance your good qualities.
Dating is the process of getting to know someone to determine whether you can and
want to spend the rest of your life with them. You want to make certain that you
are seeing the “real” person you are with, and that they are seeing who you really
are, so that you both can make an informed decision. However, if you’re not comfortable
with who you are, then you should invest some serious time and effort to make the
changes necessary to become the person you really want to be.
Dr. Chaya Newman is an educator in Israel, and a SYAS matchmaker. She encourages
singles to use her as a coach and share any challenges that they may have. Contact
Chaya at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subject “SYAS”
Rabbi Simcha CSW and Chaya Feuerman, CSW, write a column in the Jewish Press on
religion, relationships and parenting. They have a private psychotherapy practice
in Queens, NY. Simcha also serves as Director of Community Services at Ohel Children’s
Home and Family Services.
Rabbi Dov Heller is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is the Director
of Los Angeles Aish HaTorah Counseling Center, founder of the Relationship Institute,
and runs a private practice. He provides international coaching and counseling via
telephone. Contact him at www.claritytalk.com.
Rabbi Arnie Singer is a matchmaker on SYAS and the founder of Jcoach.com – Dating
and Relationship Advice with a Jewish Twist.
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