Bringing the True You to the Table While Dating


Thank you to Katie Pape, LPC for this Friday's guest post for the Work/Life Center 2018 Relationship Series.

In a new relationship or a first date scenario, you might think you have to downplay who you are or change your persona to get a needed laugh from your interesting date, or you might want to match your date’s values to prove to this person that you are worthy of a second date. All of this is spinning inside your mind at the same time and to top it off you don’t want to come off as too eager or too available. You are not alone in these thoughts and I am here to tell you there is hope for you. I have included 4 guidelines to help you to put these thoughts to rest and help feel better about bringing the true-you to the table.

Young Professional Dating Guidelines

Positive Affirmations. Ever hear the saying, “To love others, you must first love yourself” -Leo Buscaglia. To get there, make a list of all the things you want to be but make it in the present tense. If you want to be confident, write “I am confident.” Positive affirmations not only help you to change negative thought patterns about yourself into positives but also, the power of affirmations can change how your new date perceives you. Going into a date after repeating a couple positive affirmations on the car ride there, such as “ I am smart”, “I am interesting”, “I am content” can help lend to a positive energy that your date will surely feel.

Find a new hobby through your date. So you’ve been too busy climbing the ladder of success that you might have missed the chance to pick up a hobby? Don’t fret! This is a perfect opportunity to ask your new date what they are interested in. For instance, say your date loves kayaking and you don’t have experience in kayaking but you would like to. Ask him/her if they would like to show you how to kayak. Being interested in your date’s hobbies is a sure fire way to spend more time with this special person and you get a new hobby that could be just what you need for self care. Win-win, right?!

Listen. I know this might seem obvious but listening is a skill that needs to be practiced and also will help your date feel validated as well as valued. Having a couple questions up your sleeve that you can ask to start out with such as “what occupies your week?”, “what do you like to do for fun?”, “what was something interesting that happened to you today?” and then leading with, “tell me more” or “it sounds like your saying (repeat what she/he is saying).”

Be Yourself. This is the last guideline that I think is the most important. The first 3 guidelines should help you to feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin. Using positive affirmations to remember that you are a worth it, finding new hobbies through your date’s interests when you are feeling like you need more to add to who you are, and listening to your date to help bring open communication and mutual understanding to the situation will help you to be more present and honest about what makes! To help you find out more about who you are, start by writing down your hobbies, spiritual practices, physical outlets, foods that your are interested in, social outlets, self-care routines, professional accolades, and anything else that is important to you or that you find interesting. It is crucial to understand that just because your date might have different hobbies or interests does not mean that she/he might not be interested in yours.

I hope that these guidelines will help you in your quest to find the perfect date for you.

Katie Pape M.ed, LPC, ATR is a professional counselor and art therapist at Simply Thrive Therapeutics and Southern Wild Food Forest. If you want to take control of your thoughts and the present by putting your worries to rest, then this therapy is the one for you. You have the choice to follow your mind or train it to find peace in every aspect of your life. This type of therapy is great for adults and adolescents struggling to unleash any unwanted stress, anxiety or depression. Revitalize with the skills you learn in this therapy. Katie specializes in using art as a medium to open up the unconscious in order to give us clues into what your body and mind truly needs to heal, unlocking issues that might not have been visible or audible in talk therapy alone.
This integrated therapy is beneficial for those seeking to build self-esteem, self-confidence, coping skills to work through present and future stressors, and for those that want to take control of their lives and achieve peace in the here and now.

Feel free to contact and/or schedule an appointment today with Katie Pape: or


About Author

Katie Seavey Pegoraro

Sr Associate Work Life Program Manager

Katie Seavey Pegoraro supports employees with issues of stress and balance, providing tools and resources to cope when life feels overwhelming. Katie is a contact for those who may be coping with issues of mental health, substance use, or grief and loss. A young professional herself, Katie is a unique support to employees who are navigating the many life transitions that occur in your 20's and 30's.

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