I got an email from my friend Katie last week with the subject line: “Speed Dating!!!”
And yes, there were three exclamation points.
My immediate reaction was to snarl my lip and loudly grunt “Ugh” (I’m such a lady, huh?). As I scrolled through the email and read the details, I tried to envision myself “dressed in business casual attire” going on “20-30, 3-minute dates.”
Now, you might not know this about me, but I may be one of the worst ‘small talkers’ I know. And I’m not exaggerating. Once I find common ground with someone, or if I’m with more than one other person, I’m fine. But one-on-one, I sound something like this: “So….where are you from? Ohio? That’s cool…um, my Dad went to OSU…hehe, Gooooo Buckeyes. Me? Well I went to school in Kansas, but I’m from Minnesota. I know, pretty crazy, huh? What do I do for a living? Funny you ask…”
See? No one wants three minutes of that. Furthermore, first impressions are brutal. We all paint a glossy sheen over our flaws and come up with ways to attractively showcase our impressive attributes. And that’s okay, if as you go forward in getting to know someone, you drop the façade and show more and more of the real you; ugliness included.
But that’s never been easy for me. I have a habit of putting on a happy face to hide my hurting heart, making light of dark things in my past and keeping the unpleasant details of my life away from the light. The problem with this is it’s not only exhausting, unauthentic and dishonest, but it also keeps me from allowing myself to be truly known and loved by others.
I decided to draft a mockup of a three minute speed dating conversation where I reveal things about myself that normally take me months to disclose. This is what it would look like if I took the risk of revealing aspects of my personality that aren’t perfect and areas of my life that need work so that maybe, just maybe, I could take a stab at being myself.
“Hi. I’m Lyndsay. So here’s the thing. These snacks are really good so I’m going to eat them while we talk and not be afraid that you think I’m a chubster. What else? Okay, I didn’t wash my hair today. Let’s just start with that. Also, last night I fell asleep watching Law and Order. Other than 7-layer Mexican dip, I can’t really cook. Ooh, and I will probably never run a full marathon. I just think a half was enough for me. Sometimes I purposefully miss the El so that I don’t have to ride it with an old acquaintance that I see on the platform. I am just now being responsible with my money. I have three overdue library books. I drink entirely too much diet soda and not nearly enough water. Here’s a good one…I often put the treadmill TV on CNN so I look smarter to the cute guys at Xsport. My parents are divorced and that has completely shattered the lens with which I view marriage and relationships. I have great taste in music, but there are moments where I just crave top 40 radio hits. I really, really need you to laugh at my jokes. A lot of times I’m about seven minutes late. Thanks for listening, nice to meet you, and oh, you have something in your teeth.”
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