The mailbag is a Q&A column based on the emails you guys send me. If you have a question related to dating, relationships, or psychology, click here to send me your question and your email might be the next one chosen.
How Do I Be Authentic With New People?
Hi Ryan, okay so I’ve been thinking about the question you posed and I’ve come up with this.
Since my last dating relationship ended, I must say that my biggest challenge I find myself dealing with is being my true authentic self when I meet new people. I guess you could say I have trouble being vulnerable and 100% honest about my thoughts and feelings.
And trust me over the past couple of months I have been telling myself that I want to challenge myself and open space for vulnerability because I do believe that although scary it is essential in any given relationship yet I am not sure how to get there.
I am currently not dating anybody but I am wondering how to face this challenge the next time someone new comes around? I think this is a scary thought because at the end of the day being vulnerable also brings the fear of “will I be good enough?” (I know I know what is good enough anyway, yet it’s a fear that creeps in).
You’re not the first person to tell me they have trouble being 100% authentic with new people. That you’re experiencing this doesn’t worry me at all.
What worries me is the authenticity mantra that’s preached nowadays is getting out of hand. It’s totally and completely acceptable to be guarded when you first meet people. In fact, I would say it’s a good thing.
I would say you have healthy boundaries. As you get to know someone, you can choose to let them become closer to you or decide that they aren’t someone you want to know more intimately. Not everyone you meet deserves your total honesty.
People who are emotionally vomit on new friends are usually the ones who have issues with “always meeting the wrong people”. They let everyone in and get burned often. On top of that, perceptive people recognize this person’s lack of boundaries, and this naturally filters out the “right people”.
People who are emotionally closed off to new friends are usually the ones who don’t meet anyone. Their filter is too tight and no one gets in.
You sound like you’re one of the people in the middle. You can filter out the people who are untrustworthy. The people who make it through your filter are worth opening up to, so take a chance with them.
As for being good enough, the only person you need to satisfy is yourself. If you’ve never thought about it, ask yourself what you admire in others. What standards do people have to meet before you consider them good enough?
If you meet those, you’re doing great.