When you’re not feeling at your optimum prime going into a first date or as you weed through a stressful time in your long-term relationship, your mom or your friend might suggest you "fake it until you make it" to get through the period of blah. While it’s not exactly bad advice to put on a happy face, push through the feeling of discomfort and move forward, in terms of love, dating and all of those fireworks, is faking it really a good idea?
“On the surface, it sounds kind of phony to think about ‘faking it’ when it comes to dating or relationships, like it means you have a license to be inauthentic,” life coach and relationship expert Pam Bauer tells Bustle. So what might that look like? It could be going on a few dates with someone, even though you’re not that interested in them. Or maybe it’s staying in a relationship for another few months to see if it’ll work out. On a brighter side, it could be more about actually going to a bar and having a drink with a stranger when you don’t want to — but you know you want to meet someone special.
If you’re worried that everything you’re doing lately to find (or keep and maintain) love feels a little phony, let these experts guide you on when you should fake it — and when you should let it go:
Understand What It Means To "Fake It"
If you’re merely staying in a relationship to pass time or going on dates with someone you can’t stand because you’re afraid of being alone — that’s a negative way to look at "faking it." But a productive way to utilize the "fake it" method? Focusing it on your attitude instead of your actions. “To fake it until you make it means you are trusting that you'll achieve the outcome you want before you know what that outcome will look like or when you'll get there,” Bauer says. “So, if you're looking for love, you know that the right partner for you is out there, and you're going to find him/her.”
Dr. Dawn Michael, clinical sexologist and author adds: “It is about putting that first foot forward even if you don't want to. When dating even if you don't feel like doing it, give it your best effort, what do you have to lose?”
Are There Benefits To Faking It?
Sometimes when you know that orgasm isn’t coming — and you feel bad about letting your partner down — you might do a little performance to let them off the hook (and get you to sleep faster). But sex experts would recommend not making it a habit. In terms of dating? The same rule pretty much applies. You could use the "faking it" method to boost your mentality and your energy, but certainly not to solve all of your dating woes.
“The benefit of "faking it until you make it" in this way is that you'll approach dating with the positive attitude that your partner is out there looking for you and you'll find the love you desire,” Bauer says. “This belief will help you navigate the ups and downs of dating and make choices from a place of worth rather than from a place of desperation.”
In fact, Michael says it’s actually pretty brave to commit to things you might not wholeheartedly agree with because it requires a certain level of hope, belief and endurance. “Most people stop before they even start because they psych themselves out,” she notes. “If you can ‘fake it’ meaning tell yourself whatever you need to, to give it a try until you do ‘make it’ you may discover something new about yourself.”
How To Practice The "Faking It" Method
As long as you don’t start to feel like you’re bleeding more into the depression world instead of just the discouraged one, a "faking it" way of approaching dating is recommended by the experts. In fact, they suggest coming up with a list of adjectives that describe how you want to feel toward finding love or your relationship, even if it’s not exactly how you feel right this very second. You can keep it as a blueprint or a plan for yourself as you start to weed through the bad dates to find the hidden gems, deep within your dating apps.
“The idea of faking may seem silly but the psychology behind it is not, it is really about reframing your thoughts, looking at it from a new perspective even if is does not feel familiar," Michael says. "Sometimes stepping outside those comfort zones is the real way to grow and add new adventure and meaning to your life."
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