“Tell me about yourself” is a common question in every first date which is honestly followed by a draining self-questioning moment. “Did I share too much too soon?” “Was I too open that I scared my date away?” “Did I leave a good first impression?” Sadly, there have been instances where the first date was also the last and I believe how you respond to this question is partially to blame.
When someone asks you to tell them about yourself, do it passionately, separate confidential from essentials, use memories to share your likes and dislikes and laugh off your past mistakes. Leave room for curiosity and also for your date to open up or ask follow-up questions. Don’t go on and on for hours. Realize you cannot summarize your whole life on one date. Don’t feel under pressure to put all the facts on the table; birthday, schooling, favorite food and places, friends and family, that will be nothing short of an interview. Instead, pick a few positive facets of your life and share them briefly but enthusiastically.
So, whenever I’m seated across that table, all dressed and looking elegant, I have only one puzzle. How do I creatively share about myself, who I am, my interests, achievements, values, and beliefs? This anxiety drove me to do a little research on how to tell someone about yourself on a date. Here are a few tips on how to tell someone about yourself on a date.
1. Radiate energy
The number one rule of telling someone about you is doing it passionately. Positive vibrant energy is not only charming, but it’s also infectious. It brings out a sparkle that nothing else can. When you share this energy, you become irresistible. People want to know you more, associate with you and spend more time with you. Talk about your passions, what makes you come alive, do it with calculated enthusiasm and let your date feel the energy you own.
2. Separate confidential from essentials
Everybody has got their own dreams, some family issues, past mistakes, accumulated wealth or debts, or health challenges. You cannot pour out all these details to someone you barely know. Regardless of how life sucks at work or home, this is not the ideal time to share all this.
When someone asks you to talk about yourself, be honest but not detailed. For instance, you can mention what you do for a living but not reveal your earnings and dynamics of your work. Let’s say you are a medical practitioner, you can’t discuss your patients. This is highly unethical. Or maybe you are a teacher; you can’t talk about your students, colleagues, or other institutional issues.
3. Try use memories to share your likes and dislikes
A great way of sharing your likes and dislikes is using memories. Instead of the old and boring listing, you can narrate your favorite memories. Your date will pick up your hobbies from there. Here is an example.
“I spent last holiday doing the things I like most, I traveled from coast to coast by air, road, and partly sailing. The sailing part wasn’t fun, I became sea-sick and it was awful. I loved camping in the bush despite the mosquito bites. We fished a lot and ate the most interesting seafood. I am a fan of trying out new dishes so I found that fun. I came back with swollen feet from all the trekking and rock climbing but I had so much fun I would do it over and over. Although I adore indoor games, I would come back so tired; we never touched any until our return.”
4. Use questions to tell someone about your beliefs and values
If you want to share about your beliefs and values without sounding aloof, ask questions. You can ask your date, for instance, “do you believe in meditation?” they’ll probably shrug and say “not really, I haven’t tried it”. If they opt to retaliate, it makes the conversation easier because it opens up further discussions. You get to know each other without leaving those awkward moments of silence.
What if they answer you in a way that ends the conversation? Well, suggest another topic by asking a different question. Alternatively, use the already set platform to express your inclinations. You can say “well, maybe you should try it. I practice it and it helps me to manage my challenges.” You could go on and on provided you don’t overstretch the conversation.
5. Laugh off your past mistakes
For some weird reasons, past mistakes is one of the most prevalent topics on a date. Could it be because studies show that we learn from our mistakes or is it out of curiosity? I am not sure. What I am sure of is it’s risky to re-live all your past on a date. You don’t need to be embarrassed about your past, it already happened and there’s little you can do about it. The best you can do is laughing it off while reflecting self-love, not self-hate.
How to tell someone about your family on a date
Hardly will a date end before family comes up. Knowing you generally includes knowing about your origin too which means your family. Conversations revolving around family are usually warm and easy unless you are on a date with a total freak. If that’s the case, go straight to the point. Say “I am an only child; my parents separated when I was a toddler but chose to stay around for me. I live with my mom and my dad lives across the street.” Make it brief but cover the basic details.
If your date is friendly, be a little casual, show off your family and leave room for your date to share about theirs too. A good example would be, “We are three siblings, and I am the spoilt last born, artistic and loud. Our firstborn sister is a doctor, she’s an extreme introvert. My brother is just like me, an extrovert, he is a programmer. My parents are a bit laid back; they are retired government officials enjoying their pension days. What about you?
After learning these tips, I don’t think there’s any reason you should suffer ‘pre-date’ anxiety. The only advice I left out was ‘be easy’. It makes no sense to go out and not have fun knowing your date. Make it of mutual benefit, as your date gets to know you, get to know them too.