Finding Someone Who Embraces Your Authentic Self

Six sources of hope to find real relationships.

Posted Jan 09, 2020

 Joe Mabel, Wikimedia, CC 2.0
an example of ikebana
Source: Joe Mabel, Wikimedia, CC 2.0

You’ve tried it all: online dating, set-ups, flirting as the spirit moves you, all in hopes of meeting that very special someone that not only accepts you for your individuality but embraces you for it.

But maybe it’s been years and you still haven't found someone truly right. Of course, life is not the movies and it’s far from certain that your magically perfect person will ever be yours, let alone be yours forever. But as a break from my usual incessant practicality, here are my best shots at helping you find the magical key to your relationship lock.

Look and be more authentic. You’re more likely to find your perfect-fit person if you show your real self to the world. Sure, if your authentic self is anything but middle-of-the-road, most people will just ignore or reject you. Your true match needs to see your real you—and it needn’t be magazine-model perfect. It needs to be you: If you’re a no-makeup, plain-dressing and serious person, be that person. Sure, if you doll up, dress sexy, and fake perkiness, you’ll attract more attention, but not from your soulmate.

Improve your antenna. Here are a few “tells.”

  • A face that looks kind. It’s been said that after age 30 or 40, your core personality is etched into your face.
  • When you look at the person for a second, does his or her face tighten, relax, or remain impassive?
  • When you look at the person, could you picture being together forever?

Float trial balloons. In that first moment when you're drawn to someone, say something, anything, even just a simple “Hi.” The person knows that could be a signal of interest and can respond, consciously or viscerally. Don’t worry about feeling awkward. Who wouldn’t? If it’s meant to be, time will calm both you and the person.

Extra credit: Say something out of the ordinary that would reveal a part of the authentic you. I tend to be audacious, so I often say something non-standard in a supermarket line, on a train, wherever. I’m happily married but who wouldn’t mind making another hand-in-glove friend? So, I often offer relatively quirky comments and questions. Sure, many times people react impassively, but I’ve made one good friend that way; besides, it’s fun being authentic.

Try a small act of kindness. For example, open the door for someone your antenna has picked out: How do they react: warmly, coldly, or neutrally? Their reaction can be a clue to their core level of kindness, as well as to their first reaction to you. Other examples: At work, offer to help the person meet a deadline, send a neighbor a handwritten note thanking them for their lovely garden, etc.

Put yourself in places rich with interesting people. Take an outside-the-mainstream class. If you’re into exotic cooking, take a class in Peruvian fare. If your world view leans collectivist, take a course in communism. If you like gentle aesthetics, how about a class in Ikebana, the Japanese art of floral arrangement? (An example is pictured above.)

Be more revealing. No, I’m not talking about cleavage. I’m talking about defying the social norm of presenting veneer: happy talk, unobjectionable talk, your kids, travels, sports, or your politically correct views. Instead, what do you really care about that most people don't, but would be great if your special someone did? Maybe it’s something dark like mortality's lessons for living or something light and unconventional like loving to keep your place truly immaculate. Take a moment to think about a value or two that you hold dear but have been shy to share. Consider revealing one of those early in a relationship. The reaction can be telling: dismissal, silence, polite agreement, passionate agreement, disagreement but respectful honoring of your belief.

The takeaway

Many people end up settling for relationships that are just okay or worse. Even if your track record isn't the best, does one of this article’s ideas offer hope?

I read this aloud on YouTube.