Should you change to find love?
When we meet that special person who makes our heart skip a beat, we want them to fall for the ‘real’ us, right? But catching feels can do weird things. We’ve all been there: squeezing into our glad rags when we’d much rather be in a onesie, swallowing our words when we’d normally be the loudest one in the room, pretending to enjoy music that feels like an assault on our eardrums…!
We spoke to Ekow, Maya, Jada, Will, Yasmin and Jamie about first impressions, falling in love and navigating the difficult world of relationships whilst staying true to themselves.
Let’s recap on those pearls of wisdom.
Everybody does it
Every one of the six young people we spoke to said that they had changed themselves in some way whilst dating or in a relationship. For example, Ekow softens his voice, Maya turns up the dial on her confidence and Will switches on his best manners.
Sometimes it’s conscious, sometimes it’s not and often nerves will play a part.
It’s completely normal
The way you conduct any interaction depends on the person you’re speaking to. You’re always reading the situation and the person, so acting differently around your bae than you would around your boss is completely normal!
As Will says, “Every date you're going to meet is obviously going to be completely different to another. So, how I change who I am depends on the person that I’m speaking to.”
Don’t lose sight of yourself
Remember, you don’t need to change for anyone – you are enough just as you are. For example, Jamie found themself pretending to like a band that they hated and just thought, “Why am I lying about what I enjoy doing?”
If your actions don’t feel authentic to you, stop. After all, you want the object of your desire to see the real you, so don’t hide it.
You don’t HAVE to change
Meeting people for the first time, dating and falling love is a whirlwind, but it doesn’t matter how much you’re head over heels for a person, the bottom line is that they should appreciate you for who you really are.
As Yasmin says, “If you set a precedent for someone changing you, they can always change you.” Don’t set this expectation. As Jamie describes it, a relationship should always be “something that adds on to what you’re doing” rather than alters it.
As time goes on in a relationship, and you get to feel more comfortable around each other, you’ll get to know each other’s personality and feel more confident being your true self. If you can’t, like Maya says, “What’s the point?”
For more advice on support on being yourself have a look at our Bitesize Support Identity pages.