Imposter Syndrome and Dating

Who do you show up as? When we bring the imposter on a date, we sabotage the potential for an authentic connection.

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By Something in Common

On a date, most of us strive to show up and be the best version of ourselves.

Sometimes, however, instead of showing up as ourselves, we show up as the person we think the other person wants us to be. This is a recipe for disaster.

Imposter syndrome is a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. It is real and can show up at work, when learning something new and in dating. We often convince ourselves that the other person won’t like the real us so we embellish, stretch and sometimes lie to make up for the parts of ourselves we think are inadequate. When we bring the imposter on a date, we sabotage the potential for an authentic connection.

When people let their guard down and talk about their shortcomings without shame, they are creating an opportunity to build trust.

No one is suggesting you lead with your biggest secret on a first date; on the contrary, that is potentially more damaging than the imposter showing up.

Do get comfortable with who and where you are in life. We are all a work in progress. Being able to identify areas in your life which you want to work on is the first step. Deciding when to share the information and with whom takes courage.

How do you become courageous and authentic when dating?

  1. Practice, practice, practice.
  2. Try sharing something that is likely to resonate with the other person. When I date a person with teenagers, I confess that most days mine drive me crazy and I often fantasize about them not living at home.
  3. If you are feeling unfulfilled in any area in your life, say it, don’t pretend to be perfect. Try to put a positive spin on it. I might say, “I know I need to eat better, I am trying to add vegetables to all my meals”.
  4. Share a story that brings you joy.
  5. Ask open-ended questions you are genuinely curious about and listen to the answers. My favorite is “if you had a free day to do anything you desired, what would you choose to do and why?” This question moves people off their resumes into their passions.

This story was originally published on Something in Common and republished on The Good Men Project.

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