Lisa and David (names and details changed) were enjoying their first date. They had a lot in common, they were engaged in the date and each other, there were sparks… things were going quite well for a first meeting. But, at the end of the date David pulled Lisa aside and said, “I just want you to know what you’re getting into, I’m having some issues with my son. He has a learning disorder and I’m fighting with my ex on how to deal with it.”
He then began sharing details about his struggles in text messages after only their first date.
You’d be surprised how often I hear stories like this. The response when questioned about this “oversharing” choice is, “Well I want to be honest and truthful.” Well I’m going to say something controversial here. NOOOOOOOOOOO! Don’t tell the truth. Yes, you read it correctly. Don’t tell the entire truth. Not just yet.
Give them time to get to know you before you overshare
A first date is a very judgmental environment. There’s a lot of internal processing going on such as, ‘Is this person someone I can trust? Do I feel safe? Are they kind? Caring? Reliable? Respectful’ etc. We need to build up what I call good credits before we dump the more negative aspects about ourselves or our lives. Aren’t you far more forgiving of your friends’ faults than you are of someone you’ve just met? Context. History. Good credits. Lots of good credits. I mean ask yourself…Would you turn up to a job interview and tell your prospective employer, “I’m often late, after 3pm I’m not very productive, I’m addicted to Facebook and deadlines sometimes give me a migraine?”
You need your date to establish those basic foundations such as trust, safety, reliability and kindness before you can talk about anything negative. Don’t forget you are meeting someone for the first time. Negative information is TMI – too much information. It is too soon to be showing your competitive side, your laziness, your forgetfulness etc and it is ridiculously early to be dumping your baggage all over your non-suspecting potential mate. It is getting in the way of you finding happiness. Take responsibility for how people perceive you and give them a chance to endear themselves to the beautiful characteristics that the closest people in your life get to enjoy
We all have faults and we all have baggage. I’m not saying we don’t and I’m not suggesting to not be genuine. Authenticity is absolutely essential to the success of any relationship. I’m just suggesting you be a little clever and strategic about how you share your ‘truths’. Censor what you say. Build up as many good credits as you can first. People will be more tolerant.Trudy Gilbert