The Dating Prep Guide

Someone asked you out on a first date, and you said yes. Great! Who knows, maybe this person will end up being your partner (or not). But what’s important is you’re putting yourself out there and building connections with a potential partner. And while you know first dates are a must, they’re the one thing people hate going on. 

You’re meeting someone you don’t know for the first time, and you’re supposed to get to know them. The pressure is on! But going on a first date shouldn’t be this anxiety-ridden event. So, if you’re about to jump into the dating world, you need to prepare yourself. In this guide, we’re going to talk about the journey you need to go on before going into the dating world. 

The Importance of Knowing Yourself Before Dating

You may have heard people tell you if you really want to love someone, love yourself first. And when you’ve been single for a while and have gone on a couple of nightmare dates, it’s the last thing you want to hear. You’re over the inspirational quotes and words of wisdom. We’ve all been there. You just want to find someone who’s going to make you happy. But why aren’t you happy as a single person? Is being in a relationship with someone the only thing way to find happiness? 

Our society focuses heavily on finding a partner, settling down, and having children. We have been spoonfed this life path from childhood. And that doesn’t mean it’s a bad path to take for yourself; you make your own story. But when trying to achieve this particular goal, for example, sometimes we overlook ourselves. 

Being happy with yourself before dating is crucial in forming a healthy and loving relationship with another person. No one will ever love you as much as you love yourself. You set your own standard when it comes to love and the relationship you see yourself being in. And this is why being single is an important phase in life. During this time, you’re able to spend time getting to know yourself, learning what you like and dislike in the world, form your own opinions, and develop your self-worth. 

By learning about yourself and recognizing your qualities, you can appreciate yourself outside of a relationship. You understand that a relationship isn’t something that should make you feel whole; instead, you choose to share your experiences with another person. Once you develop self-worth and self-love, you enter the dating world without the need to find someone. 

Now, you’re probably thinking, “I know who I am; you don’t need to tell me nothing.” Sorry to break the news to you, but most of us don’t know who we are. 

Do You Really Know Yourself? Things You Didn’t Know, Until Now

You may be nodding to this question, but do you really know? A lot of us who are dating don’t have a solid understanding of who we are. This isn’t to point blame; our world doesn’t allow much time for us to self-reflect and connect with our inner being. We laugh at the 40-year-old man who bought himself a Corvette during his midlife crisis, but in reality, it symbolizes the “aha” moment he had, as he finally saw glimpses of his true self. But you don’t need to wait until it hits you; you can look within and start the process of self-examination. Does it sound fun? Not really. But you do want to own a red Corvette? Yeah, we didn’t think so. There are a few things you probably don’t know about yourself, and it’s about time you took a second look at them. 

Your perception of yourself is wrong

When you look at yourself in the mirror, you see you, right? At least, you think you see yourself. But perception and reality are two different things. Let’s dive into this a little bit. We all view reality through our own eyes. As humans, we assume what we see is an accurate representation of reality. But that’s wrong. Each person has their own memories, experiences, emotions, and self-interests, which distorts their reality.

 How you see yourself in the mirror isn’t how other people see you. Your perception of reality distorts the image you have for yourself. You may think you’re very funny, and though you’re funny, in reality, you’re not that funny. You may think you’re very charitable, but in reality, you’re pretty selfish. So, how do you find out who you really are? The only way to change your perception and be more aware of who you are is through self-reflection, and by facing the truth. 

Distance goes a long way

Whether it’s with relationships or yourself, a little bit of distance can help evaluate yourself and your actions. People who keep diaries or meditate have a better understanding of themselves because they allow the space for self-reflection. Maybe you’ve experienced working over-time or studying for exams, and during that time, you feel disconnected from yourself, almost numb. How can you self-reflect if your mind is constantly busy with the things happening around you? To get back the balance, you need to distance yourself from the very things occupying your mind. 

You rely on others for self-observation

Whether you’re heading out for a job interview or getting ready to meet your friends, there’s one thing you invest your time in, and that’s your appearance. Whether we want to admit it or not, appearances do matter. A study by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov concludes that it takes one-tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger just by their face. 

Your appearance tells people a lot about who you are. However, there’s more to it. Yes, we also use other people’s non-verbal body language to gauge our appearance since we can’t see ourselves when interacting with others. Vivan Zayas, professor of psychology at Cornell University and her colleagues, found through their experiments, “when someone [participants] is warmer, when someone is more engaged, people pick up on this. They respond in kind.” 

You deceive yourself more often than you think

What you don’t know is that we’re not typically aware of when we’re deceiving ourselves. And you see this a lot with relationships. You’ll see your friend chasing after someone who clearly isn’t interested in them, but in their own head, they think they have a chance. And deep down, your friend knows the truth, yet they deceive themselves with what they want to believe. 

More walls you put up for yourself, the harder your life will be

You know the saying, “a zebra can’t change its stripes.” This saying means people cannot change their ways. Honestly, doesn’t that sound uninspiring? That idea adds rigidness to people and prevents us from growing. If you believe you’re unable to change, you won’t change, which will only create a burden for yourself. However, thinking of yourself as a fluid and flexible person allows you to take chances on yourself and grow. Now, don’t get this confused with healthy personal boundaries. This doesn’t mean you should allow someone to be verbally or physically abusive towards you, for example. Whether they’re sexual, spiritual, emotional, or mental, your personal boundaries are there for your well-being and protection. But, if there’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow, allow yourself that chance to do so. 

Insecure people are more moral

We always talk about insecurities negatively, but it looks like being insecure has its upsides. Insecure people are generally more moral than others. Why? Because they feel the need to prove their positive qualities. If someone is insecure about being judged, they will go one step further in doing good deeds or donating to charity. Being too self-assured is viewed as arrogant to others and appears to be less connected to themselves. There’s a fine balance that we’re all trying to achieve.  

Ah, the beauty of self-knowledge. It never ends, and it’s a continuous process. You may think you know everything there is to know about yourself, but don’t be so sure about that. Humans are not static; instead, we’re dynamic and ever-changing. The more you realize you don’t know much about yourself, the great chance you have to explore and grow. So, this leads us to ask you, are you ready to start dating?

How to Learn About the Most Important Person in Your Life: You

We told you why it’s important to know yourself before dating and the reasons why you probably don’t know yourself. But we’re not going to leave you hanging dry. Now, it’s time to learn how to get to know yourself. Here’s what you need to do.

Discover your strengths and weaknesses

We’d all like to think we’re amazing at everything and that we’re Beyonce flawless, but we’re flawed. Even you, Beyonce. This isn’t something you should feel ashamed of; this is something you should embrace. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you understand who you are and build self-confidence. If you don’t acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, you won’t lead your own life. Being unaware of your qualities, good and bad, can bring on low self-esteem. By learning about yourself, you’ll have a better idea of the type of person you’re looking for in a relationship.

What are your values?

What’s important for you in your life? Values can mean a wide range of things and aren’t the same for every person. Values can be “helping others,” “ïngerity,” “honesty,” “financial security,” or “family.” Understanding what’s important to you will help you create self-confidence and healthy personal boundaries. 

Ask for feedback from others

You already know that our perception of reality is skewed, and when it comes to learning about yourself, this can be a little bit of a problem. There’s nothing wrong with asking the people you trust for their feedback. All you need to ask them are these two questions: “What do you think I need to work on?” and “What strengths of mine do I need to develop?” Of course, not every opinion will be perfect, but you can use the general feedback to help you get a better insight of people’s perceptions of you. 

What are your interests and passions?

What do you like to do in your spare time? What are certain activities you tend to drift towards? Everybody has something they’re interested in, even if they’re not aware of it. Start self-reflecting and thinking about where you focus your attention and what makes you curious. You never know, your interests may even be the foundation of which you built your career off of. Take time to explore what makes you tick. 

Reflect on your relationships

You are the people you surround yourself with. Who do you surround yourself with? What are they like? How is your relationship with them? After looking at the people you surround yourself with, you may realize the people you call friends aren’t really the people you need around yourself. Or, you discover you need to spend more time investing in these relationships.

The road to self-discovery isn’t necessarily the easiest one, but there’s nothing more fulfilling than learning new things about yourself and choosing to become a whole person. 

6 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Going on a First Date

After understanding you don’t actually know as much about yourself as you think you do, it’s time to ask yourself some important questions before jumping into the dating world. This is a process, and the more questions you ask, the more you’ll find about your needs and wants. The last thing you want is to float through the dating world not knowing what you want or where you’d like to go.

Who am I? Who do I want to be in my life?

These are loaded questions, and you probably won’t have the answers to them now. People spend their whole lives figuring out who they are, so don’t feel this pressure you have to know right now. Though it is good to ask yourself these questions and keep them in mind. What do you like to do? What are you passionate about? How do you see yourself in 10 years? What are you doing now to work towards the ideal you? It’s easy to get sucked into a relationship and lose yourself. But if you have an understanding of you who are, you will stay grounded. 

Am I going into this with expectations?

How many of us have walked into a first date thinking, “I don’t even know why I agreed to go on this date, it’s just going to be like all the other ones.” It’s easy to create this list of expectations from your date and then ignore the actual person who’s sitting in front of you. Your date may not cross off being tall, dark, and handsome, but they make you laugh, and you feel you can be yourself around them. If you’re only focused on your ideal partner, you’ll miss out on someone who could be right for you. Choose to go on dates with an open-mind and eager to learn something new. We get so used to our own social circles that we forget there’s a whole world out there with different opinions, lifestyles, and experiences.

Do I love myself?

We all say yes to this question, but maybe we’re jumping ahead too soon. Do you really love yourself? If you’re unsure about the answer, then you might end making decisions during your dating experience that are harmful to you. Self-love isn’t about thinking you’re amazing at everything; it’s about loving who you are, including your flaws. If you don’t love yourself, you run the risk of meeting someone who doesn’t respect you. By loving yourself, you cultivate self-worth, which is literally defined by Merriam-Webster as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.” 

This is deeper than self-esteem. Dr. Christina Hibbert explains,”Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth is recognizing ‘I am greater than all of those things.’It is a deep knowing that I am of value, that I am loveable, necessary to this life, and of incomprehensible worth.”(2013). When you truly feel self-worth, you’re entering the dating world on a different level. You’re not burdened by the questions of “am I loveable? Will anyone love me?” You understand your worth; you understand your value. 

Am I entering the dating world with an open heart?

This happens to many of us. We go through a break-up and then jump right into the dating world without actually processing our last relationship. And that generally doesn’t go well. If you’re really interested in entering a genuine and loving relationship, you need to emotionally process your past relationships. If you don’t want to date someone like your ex, give yourself space and time to heal and learn from the relationship. If not, you’ll probably end repeating the past all over again. If you can answer this question with a genuine ‘yes,’ then you’re ready to date. But if you’re still Instagram stalking your ex, maybe you need to hold off before going on a date. 

Am I looking for someone to complete me?

Are these some Oprah questions or what? This is important, and ties into the “Who am I?” question. When you don’t know who you are, it’s easy to turn to someone else for fulfillment. But the only person who can truly make you happy is yourself. Your future partner isn’t supposed to complete you; you are supposed to complete yourself. 

Do I have healthy relationship boundaries?

What are you willing to accept in your relationship, and what are you not? We all have personal boundaries, and you need to make sure you know what your boundaries are. For example, cheating or verbal abuse are things most people won’t accept in their relationship. These are healthy relationship boundaries to form and definitely ones you need to think about. But notice how we said the word ‘healthy?’ Boundaries can also be toxic towards yourself or your partner. For example, an unhealthy boundary is not allowing them to spend time with their friends alone.

So, before going on a first date, ask yourself these questions. If you’re confident with the answers, it looks like you’re ready. But do you know what questions to ask on a first date? 

The questions to ask your date

Sure, you can ask the regular questions like, what movies do you like? Or do you like dogs? Don’t get us wrong; those aren’t bad questions to ask. Can you imagine if you find out they don’t like dogs? Gasp! But really, let’s cut the small talk and get to the real deal. It’s not easy to ask some of these questions, but the alternative is finding out after investing months of your life with them. 

What are you looking for?

What is your date looking for? Are they interested in something serious, or are they looking for casual sex? Their answer is crucial in figuring out if you two are on the same page. If they casual sex, but you’re looking for a serious relationship, then this isn’t going to work. Don’t waste your time trying to tip-toe around the question; you both need to know what each other wants. If you don’t ask, you’ll make the mistake of assuming, and we all know the saying about making assumptions. 

Are you seeing other people?

Okay, the first date isn’t anything serious. If anything, it’s just an opening to see whether there’s a possible connection or not. You’re getting to know each other on a very basic level, so there’s no commitment. Today, everyone is going on multiple dates with different people, so it’s important to know what’s going on in their dating life. This will give you a better idea of what they’re really looking for. You’re not trying to catch them red-handed for dating other people; instead, you just need to be able to weigh things out. 

Why do you think you’re single?

Well, this isn’t an easy question to answer, but whatever the answer is will tell you a lot about this person. Why are they single? Is it because they attract “crazy?” Or are they more self-reflective and are able to tell you their own personal flaws. The difference is huge and shows the divide between someone who’s emotionally mature and someone who’s not. 

What was the reason your previous relationship ended?

If they say it’s because their ex is crazy, then there should be a little red flag going up. Asking them about their past relationship is a great way to understand the type of person they are, how they processed their relationship, and whether they’re emotionally mature or not. If they’re telling you their ex was the one to blame and they were completely innocent, they’re not emotionally mature for an adult relationship. 

What are your deal breakers?

We all have deal-breakers. You have people who will never date a smoker or someone who has children. Not everyone is going to have a deep answer to give you. Some people will tell you they’ll never date someone who supports Trump or wants to be a stay-at-home parent. People have their own deal-breakers, and all you can do is find out what they are and decide if they suit your or not. 

Am I different from how you imagined me to be?

This question isn’t about them; it’s for you. If you want to know how people view you, start asking. If they’re honest, you’ll be able to get some insight into how people read you. Plus, whatever they answer, you’ll be able to see if they’re into you or not. If they tell you they thought you were lazy looking, odds are there won’t be a second date. 

When were you tested?

Oh, we know this may sound like a buzzkill, but you know what a real buzzkill is? Herpes. You don’t need to ask this the minute you shake their hand, let things warm up a bit. But if you’re going to have sex with this person, your safety has to be a priority. Plus, it shows you how they view the importance of their sexual health as well. If they haven’t been tested for a long time, that’s not a good sign. 

Is there something else you want to know about me?

On first dates, we tend to talk about what we know, which is ourselves. You’re just getting to know this person, so you’ll share stories of yourself and talk about your interests. It’s perfectly normal. But then there are some people who just love to talk about themselves without asking about you. This is when you ask them this question. Let’s see if there’s something they want to know about you. 

Wrap Up

Before you start dating, it’s important you prepare yourself for that world by getting to know who you are and what you want in your life. Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to navigate through the dating with ease.


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