A Therapist Gives 3 Tips To Help You Impress A New Romantic Interest
You’ve found someone who has potential. How do you get the ball rolling?
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | September 22, 2022
Many people come to therapy looking for help with their dating life. They may say things like:
- "I know there's a spark there, but how do I get things going?"
- "I must be the worst person in the world at making the first move."
- "Why can't I be more courageous in my dating life?"
In this article, I'll talk about three things you can do when you are at a loss for how to engage with a new romantic interest.
#1. Embrace vulnerability
Expressing or hinting at a romantic attraction is an inherently vulnerable act — it's why they call it "putting yourself out there." Instead of shying away from feeling vulnerable, try your best to embrace it. Psychologists call this a cognitive reframe. It's a well-studied technique that is used to help people manage overwhelming emotions.
To help you reframe your feelings of vulnerability, remind yourself that those butterflies in your stomach are a good sign — it means that you're alive and healthy. It's a gift to be able to feel exhilarated by a new love interest, regardless of the outcome.
It's also worth keeping in mind that your feelings of vulnerability are not one-sided; your romantic target is probably suppressing the same feelings. Psychologists will tell you that one of the best ways to get a sense of what someone else is feeling is to imagine how you would feel in the same situation. This type of reasoning, sometimes called egocentric projection, works because people are so much more alike than they are different. Sure, there are personality differences, cultural differences, and differences in beliefs and attitudes. But, generally speaking, the things that make you happy, sad, angry, relaxed, and upset are the same things that make others feel the same way.
We're all sensitive to our social environments and the relationships with have with others. We've all felt slighted, embarrassed, proud, and vulnerable before. It is very rare that someone experiences an emotion that another person hasn't.
Acknowledging that you are both likely experiencing feelings of vulnerability can help clear the air and make way for honest and refreshing dialogue.
#2. Keep your life moving
Just like your financial adviser might tell you not to put all your eggs in one basket, the same rule applies to your dating life.
It's great to identify a romantic interest. It's even better when you work up the courage to engage with that person. However, it's not healthy to stop your life in its tracks while waiting to see if the attraction is reciprocated.
Don't plan your life around what may or may not be. Don't check you social media fifty times a day to see if you've been pinged. Don't break previously made plans on the hope that something might materialize with this person.
Instead, keep living your life and let destiny decide whether it's meant to be. Not only are you doing yourself a mental health favor, you're also signaling independence to this other person, which is an attractive quality in its own right.
#3. Be your authentic self
It's also important to always be yourself when engaging with a new romantic interest. Don't ever try to be who you think they want you to be.
Psychologists will tell you that acting authentically is one of the pillars of happiness.
"In a nutshell, authenticity means being true to oneself," states psychologist Petra Kipfelsberger of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. "There is a plethora of authenticity research showing the importance of it for well-being."
Putting yourself out there can sometimes seem like a life or death task. But it's not. The next time someone captures your romantic interest, try:
- Embracing your feelings of vulnerability
- Engaging while keeping your life moving
- Approaching the suitor with a strong sense of authenticity