When Total Honesty is Totally TMI
We all know honesty is the best policy right? But when it comes to a first date, less is actually more. There are some things a complete stranger you are meeting for the first time, just doesn't need to know about you.
Here are three things it's best to keep to yourself when finding yourself in a first date scenario.
1. Your Ex File
We've all dated before. Which means we all have ex's. And I'm willing to bet not every single one of those previous relationships or dating scenarios ended well. But why bore a new person with the dirty details of your past relationships? You are here to get to know them, not regale them with the history of your past ex's mistakes.
Focusing too much on your ex file is not only awkward and unnecessary, it also can create two relationship tanking scenarios, right from the start.
-The Phantom Ex Phenomenon- Where the new partner feels weighted down under the expectation to "not be like your ex." They feel the constant competition of having to outperform your ex, and the constant comparison of either being "like your ex" or "better than you ex" which is pretty subjective to begin with. It's not a healthy start to any relationship and eventually will doom the relationship to failure. You should be determining if you like the person in front of you based on their attributes alone, not how they measure up to your ex's, good or bad. (Check out my previous article on this very thing.)
-Trauma Bonding- This is the scenario where you start bashing your ex, and they join in on bashing theirs, or yours. Then you two bond over the trauma of having dated difficult people, or your perception of difficult people. But the truth is trauma bonding is not based on genuine compatibility. There has to be more to a relationship than mutual hatred of ex's. Most people are not huge fans of their ex's...what else you got? Try to form your new relationship on a foundation of love, not mutual shared hate.
It really is best to steer clear from your ex file if possible on a first date. You are there to get to know the person in front of you from a fresh perspective, not one clouded over by the ghost of ex's past. If there is something about an ex pertinent to the new relationship, such as shared children, expenses, etc. that would be worth mentioning, otherwise, steer clear.
2. Deeply Personal Information
A first date. Get to know someone? Yes. Reveal all your deep dark family secrets? No.
A first date is like the first round of a job interview. You are simply feeling each other out to see if it is even in the ballpark of a good fit. You are checking out the most basic levels of compatibility: hobbies and interests, initial physical attraction, career pursuits, general goals and values, if the two of you can hold a conversation. There is no need to pull out your therapy notes, or a detailed dating or family history.
Keep in mind two things about a first date.
-THIS PERSON IS A STRANGER. Yes, even if you knew them from around the office, even if they are a friend of a friend. How someone interacts in a friend or coworker scenario can be very different than how they interact in a romantic setting. So be on the cautious side, that doesn't mean be cold, but telling someone all your deep, dark secrets(especially the ones that could be used against you, or you don't want anyone else to know) is not a great plan. People can flip. If something doesn't work out, they could decide that secret needs to be distributed around the office, or to your friends, etc. It really is just better to keep it fairly light on a first date.
-YOU MAY NEVER SEE THIS PERSON AGAIN. Even if you have been talking for weeks via phone or a dating app, even if you have jumped all the hoops of initial compatibility it is completely possible that you will leave the date, and never see that person again. For a variety of reasons; they decide it isn't a good fit for them, they get back with their ex, they abruptly move to Florida, and so on. So you really don't want to open yourself up or be completely vulnerable to someone, who may never even call you back again.
So just take your time, there will be plenty of other dates and conversations, if it's a good fit. Now, of course you don't want to waste anyone's time, you want to get and give pertinent info such as what you are looking for out of a relationship, your general religious or political views, your career goals, etc. those are all useful platforms for determining compatibility. The worst thing your mother said to you when you were 5, the pin number to your ATM card, or the weirdest thing you've ever done sexually, may just want to stay in the vault for a little longer...or forever.
3. The Fact You Are Talking To Other People
Ok, let me be clear on this one. If you are asked directly, DO NOT LIE! That is NOT what is meant by this section. I simply mean it is best to not voluntarily bring up the fact that you are talking to other people, give names and info, or for goodness sake pull up the conversations.
These days most people meet through dating apps, with a whopping 80% of the dating population using them. And dating apps, are generally somewhat of a numbers game, you are sifting through lots of people and profiles to find a good match. Which can include talking through the app, phone conversations and casual dating. That is not information that needs to be shared with the person sitting across from you. Why? It's not necessary and truthfully not really their business. Why? See the previous section: They are a stranger, and you may never see them again.
And most people who use dating apps, know how they work. Even organically met dating scenarios can include going on dates with multiple people until you find a person that you feel a connection with and begin seeing them exclusively.
Disclaimer: If you are sleeping with multiple people including them, then that does very quickly become their business as it directly affects them. That is information to disclose. The fact that you went on a mediocre date with a person from the app earlier that week? Not pertinent.
Again, the main point of the date is to get to know the person in front of you, not go down a rabbit hole of all the other people you are seeing or talking to. Modern dating assumes you are probably talking to more than one person. And if you aren't, that's cool too. Some people like to go one at a time. To each their own. But if you are only casually talking to or going on dates with other people, it's not necessarily info to just volunteer up over cocktails. (Again, unless directly asked, then spill it sister.) but even then, I wouldn't talk details, I would be short and sweet. Yes I am talking to a few other people. The end.
Moral of the Story
So remember, the first date is all about you and the other person getting to know the basics of each other. It is not the platform to bash ex's, reveal highly intimate details of your life or create a comprehensive list of other people you might be talking to. So take the time on a first date to get to know the person in front of you, because after all, isn't that what dating is really all about?