My single status came to me through divorce. Rick’s came through the loss of a spouse. He had been in a 30 year relationship when he became single. I had two “completed” marriages, one 20 year relationship and one for 14 years. Funny how life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. Rick and I met online. Perhaps that sounds a little strange to some. For me, I looked at it in a practical manner. I did not want to go out on a “hunt” at bars or churches or social events. I figured I would let the computer tell me if I was compatible with someone and then from that list I would choose who I wanted to date. It seemed logical to me. I also felt like at this stage of life I did not want to take a couple of years to find out if I was compatible with someone or not! So I enrolled in an online dating service.
Rick found his dates at church or by “referral”. After much frustration and heartache he had quite an awakening through a spiritual experience where he heard these words: “Are you done yet?” Lying on the floor, crying out to God he relinquished. “Yes, I am done. Let’s do things your way”. He was urged by a family member to venture into the online dating community. He followed that advice and the rest is history! Rick says he always dreamt of the woman he saw in my online profile. He knew I was the one. I think that sounds a little dramatic, but he swears it is true.
I was sitting on my bed with my computer when I went online to check my “matches” from the dating website. When I pulled up Rick’s profile, my heart fluttered. He sure was cute. As I read about him I could tell he was an extraordinary man. Wow, he seemed to have everything that I was looking for. I picked up my laptop and went into the living room where my roommate was. “Nancy,” I said, “if this guy is everything he says he is, then that’s my husband!”
For us, our very first impression came through a dating profile page with pictures and self-descriptions. We both had the advantage of knowing how to present our best self. Who you present yourself to be must be who you really are. The secret is found in your own fingerprint. That can be a little tricky when you are describing yourself. It is good to solicit some honest feedback when it comes to first impressions. Our next impression was via email. That can be challenging as well because words in writing can be interpreted differently depending on the mood or frame of mind of the receiver. Rick is a great writer and I loved his written communication. Our third impression, a vocal impression is when our relationship really began to grow. Hearing Rick’s voice over the phone connected me to him on a different level. I was certainly impressed with this man!
Then the day came when we met face to face. This was it! I was about to actually see the man in person that I had grown so fond of. I will never forget stepping out of my door to greet him as he walked toward me on the porch. I was excited and a little nervous. Oh no! I looked down and couldn’t believe my eyes. He showed up for our first date wearing tennis shoes! I was mortified.
Every manner in which we expose ourselves to each other brings another first impression. Rick and I had an online visual, online writing, phone, and then face to face first impression. Now we laugh about the tennis shoes. Had that been our first encounter I most likely would have scratched him off my list. Not that I have anything against tennis shoes. I think they are great for the gym, but I am not really attracted to guys who show up in tennis shoes on a first date. Shallow? Perhaps, but I know myself. I love shoes. I pay attention to shoes and love a guy who pays attention too! Rick knew we were going to be doing a lot of walking, so he was just taking care of himself. He didn’t think anything about it. He had already made a great impression on me so thank goodness we made it through the vivid imprint in my mind of black Nike tennis shoes!
Making a great first impression does not mean you must adjust every behavior to another person’s wishes. However, it is really important to be aware of how your behavior affects others if you are to make your best impression. I love the beach and have no issue wearing a bathing suit while enjoying the sand and surf. However, I would not wear that bathing suit to a formal dinner. There is a time and place for everything and there are protocols that apply. Think about it. Why do you dress up for a job interview? You want to be your best. Being your best does not take away from your authenticity. It enhances who you are for that moment in that space and time. It does not mean you are being phony when you match your dress to the occasion. Being yourself is your personal advantage. There is only one you. Herein lies the secret.
Rick and I both learned valuable lessons from our first impressions. I learned to relax and let him be who he is and he learned that an image consultant is not a bad idea. We laugh a lot. We cry together. We love much. Rick and I are two strong leaders living in the same household. We both enjoy growing intellectually and spiritually together. We are best friends. I love him more every day and he says that I am the light of his life. And just think … it all began in 5 seconds.
May it be like this forever …