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“There is a huge range of online dating profiles that feature men showcasing their latest catch. Surely a female fisherman would be well received.

You know the feeling when you’re interviewed for a new job and without fail the first question they ask is “Tell us about yourself.” Who are you? What do you love doing?”.

You have a slight moment of panic, as you try to remember the perfect pitch you practiced over and over in your head. Personally, the truth would be to say that I work five days a week at a desk job. I come home with an overweight beagle, heat up a frozen meal for dinner, and be in bed by 9 p.m.

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However, the story that comes out of my mouth is more like, “I’m a driven, career-focused person who really likes to stimulate her mind and body with extracurricular activities in her spare time.” . This includes, but is not limited to, reading, sports, arts and crafts.

Both versions of my life are true, but we all know what works best on LinkedIn. But I didn’t just feel this pressure during job interviews — while I was dating someone, I thought it was necessary to change the way I presented my life. I wanted to look impressive and interesting.

In a work context, I’ve always been afraid of not being attractive enough to qualify for the next round of interviews and in a romantic context, a second date. Does it matter that I don’t actually want the job I was applying for? No. Same with a second date.

Did it matter if I thought the person sitting across from me had totally opposite values ​​and beliefs? Not really. Because the overwhelming thoughts that kept creeping into my mind were, ‘What’s wrong with me? Am I not interesting enough? I know he is not my soul mate, but why doesn’t he think I am his?’.

I longed for validation. I wanted to be reassured that I was someone worth hanging on to. When I started my dating journey (albeit my online dating journey), I was incredibly overwhelmed with the thought of sitting down in front of someone I had never met before.

My life had become a fairly constant routine of going to work, seeing my friends and family, and retiring to my apartment, solo, to recharge my introverted batteries (mostly indulging in my secret love of movies). horror). When it came time to talk about myself on dates, I had this underlying feeling that my lifestyle wasn’t going to be “enough” to impress people.

So, in an attempt to sound interesting, I explored several hobbies. I wanted them to act as conversation starters, and hoped they would give me something fascinating to contribute to conversations. Cycling was one of those hobbies. I know it doesn’t exactly scream the world I’m living in, but I thought it was a good place to start.

I haven’t gone so far as to invest in the full lycra outfit, but I can safely say that it’s not for me. Do I like waking up early, feeling like my lungs are about to explode, and constantly worrying about premature aging in my sunburned hands? Actually, I didn’t, but all the power is yours if it brings you joy.

I tried aerial yoga in hopes of not only becoming a toned fitness queen, but showing my dates that I’m invested in my health. Aerial yoga is a type of hybrid yoga in which you use a hammock to perform poses in the air. Turns out, the inverted pigeon pose that has you hanging upside down is extraordinarily migraine-like (for me, anyway). Who knew?

I discovered fishing. I wondered if this could literally (and figuratively) help me find my perfect partner. After all, there is a huge range of online dating profiles that feature men showcasing their latest catches. A fisherwoman would surely be well received.

In the end, catching puffer fish on my local pier with my Kmart rod didn’t really make me a worthy angler. The list of hobbies I’ve tried goes on and on. I even ended up trying scuba diving and eventually became a qualified open water diver. At first I wondered if I would ever use qualifying, but now it has become one of my favorite pastimes.

So did my quest to become “more interesting” earn me a second date? Maybe yes, in some cases, but has it allowed me to find a long-term support partner with common interests? No way. I didn’t find a suitable partner for many years – until I realized my self-worth. And I can guarantee that my current partner is not with me because I am a qualified diver.

In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to compare yourself to others. But in my mind, to preserve your own well-being and avoid burnout, the trick is to eliminate the words “interesting” and “perfect” from your vernacular, or better yet, your vernacular entirely.

It’s easy to forget that dating is a two-way street. And finally, what’s more important; feeling popular and sought after in the world of virtual dating, or finding the right person to share your life with?

So when your friends inevitably ask you whether or not your date texted you back, don’t let that feeling of uncertainty get the best of you. Dating is a process of failure on your way to success. And for the record, it turns out the life I originally interviewed was pretty darn good.

For tips on how to feel more like yourself on dates, try this.