please, don’t try to impress me

Online dating allows you to meet people outside of your usual social circle. I was curious about the apps that had developed since the last time I was single, so I jumped into the world of swiping right to explore the city and see if I could figure out what qualities were important to me.

The answer? Don’t try to impress me.

I met some interesting folks via Tinder and OkCupid. There was a professional skydiver, a comedian, a civil rights lawyer, and a pilot to name a few. And to be perfectly frank, I was bored to tears.

I got so tired of walking into breweries or art museums and dealing with the awkwardness before me. These grown men, some of whom had drastically misrepresented themselves on their profiles, stumbling over words too big for them to pronounce correctly. Attempting bravado in telling me about their escapades, or how everyone loves their cat.

Now, perhaps I’m going about this the wrong way, but on OkCupid I almost never read my potential date’s profile. Instead, I’d glance at their picture. Do you look like you enjoy being alive, or like you’re on display for the world, or like you have something to hide? That was it. All I wanted was conversation and the ability to have someone to talk to while I went to new parts of town.

But no.

You all tried to impress me.

Do you realize how unsustainable that is? Do you realize that you’re far more likely to get a second date if you are genuine in the first? Do you realize that if you create a beautiful image that has no grounds in reality, you’re going to set yourself up for eventual failure? I was chatting with a friend today about this, and he looked sheepish.

“I did that with my current girlfriend. I was trying so hard to impress her that first month. She calls me an a**hole now, because I don’t do any of the things I used to.”

Would I love for a gentleman to open the door for me, sneak a kiss before getting out of the car, make me dinner, or surprise me with an adventure? Of course!
But here’s the thing: I don’t want you to impress me.

I don’t want to spend a few weeks or months building you up on a pedestal because you do everything right only to fall apart when it becomes too much work and you become too comfortable around me. I don’t want you to woo me until you win me and then never try again.

I don’t want to think I want to know you. I want to know you. With your flaws and quirks and wrinkles. I want to know how you’ll treat me when you have the flu, or I am in the middle of moving. I want to know how you’ll respond when you have a deadline coming up or you’re with your mom. I want to see how you treat waitstaff and dogs and children.

I want you, whoever you are, to be consistent.

Call it the antithesis of being a nomad, but when it comes to dating, I’m a fan of stability. Maybe that’s the only thing I want stable – to know who is holding the other glass of wine, standing next to me on the mountain, listening to me dream of far off lands. Whoever you are, wanderer or homeboy, dreamer or builder, geek or athlete… I want you to know who you are. I want you to be confident in how you live your life. I want you to understand your strengths and flaws.

I want to be impressed by you. I want to see your character and your dreams and your passion and your ethics. I want to be impressed by who you are.

But I don’t want you to impress me. I don’t want you to try. I don’t want you to try to be something you’re not just because you think I’ll like it. Believe me, if I’m spending time with you, it is because I want to. I’m not afraid to pull the “I’m a barista-have an early morning-I know it’s 8pm but I’m going home to go to bed” gig.

Don’t try to impress me. Just don’t. You’ll hurt yourself and annoy me.

Be confident in you. The rest will fall into place.
(Well, unless you’re doing this:)

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