I Am Who I Am—If Guys Don’t Like It, That’s Tough

I used to feel so guilty when I realized I could never be what a guy wanted, but screw that. These days, I’m much more confident in who I am and I refuse to change to impress others. (PS: as women, can we please stop apologizing for who we are and what we think?)

  1. I never felt good enough. When I walked out of a first date, I’d worry that I wasn’t dressed well enough or that I didn’t make intelligent enough conversation. I’d worry that I wasn’t as into the same things that my date was and he’d judge me for that… the list goes on and on. I always felt like I was lacking in some way and it was just a matter of time for the guy to realize it.
  2. I tried to fit the criteria. What do men want? This is the eternal dating question, and I always tried to answer it by changing who I was so that I’d hopefully impress the guys. The catch is that there is no guaranteed answer to this question as it varies for different people! Besides, you know what they say: you’ll never be good enough for the wrong people. I should have focused more on just being me and finding like-minded, decent people who would appreciate that.
  3. I got the guy and was unhappy. When my attempts at being the perfect girlfriend, the nice girl, or the mellow girl who was low-maintenance got me the guy, I just wasn’t satisfied. I was miserable most of the time because I wasn’t being who I was.
  4. I had to compromise a lot. By pretending to be something that I wasn’t, I had to pay up in the form of compromise. I pursued hobbies I didn’t really like, I went places I hated, and I pretended to have opinions that I didn’t really believe in. For what?! It was such a waste of time. Besides, there are some things that you should never compromise on, and those include the things that make you unique, happy, and interesting. Life is way too short!
  5. I quit trying so hard. I’ve always hated the idea of quitting, but in this case it was the best thing I could have done. I stopped trying so hard to be what I thought guys wanted and to “upgrade” what I thought were my flaws, and it made such a positive difference. I was so much less stressed, to begin with! I stopped being anxious on dates and I just embraced whatever happened as not being a reflection of what was wrong with me. It was liberating.
  6. I stopped caring so much. Another cool thing that happened is that I stopped worrying so much about what other people thought of me. I knew that I was happier when I could just be myself and I realized that how I felt about myself meant more than what others thought of me.
  7. I got called names. Even though I was feeling pretty good and comfortable in my skin, that doesn’t mean I was having a great time in the dating game. Some guys didn’t like the change in me. I got called things like “too intense,” “difficult,” and “high-maintenance.” But you know what? I wore those labels with pride. I’d rather be “too intense” than bland and boring. I’d rather be difficult than “super easy and down for anything.” I’d much rather have high standards than attract lazy guys.
  8. Those labels helped me weed out the wrong guys. The guys who called me those things weren’t serious about dating me for who I was. They were only interested in what they thought they could get from me. I had no more time for toxic guys like that.
  9. I stopped saying sorry. I used to be so afraid of who I really was and I’d find myself apologizing for being too loud/fussy/funny/serious. I’d apologize for not being available to people at all hours or not meeting up with them because I was busy. Ugh, it was just too much. Honestly, I should’ve been apologizing to myself for not accepting who I was and for giving others power over me.
  10. Those guys didn’t even know me. The thing is, while I was trying to fit a dating profile box and hide my flaws, I was hiding my real self from view. That meant that all my great qualities went out the window with the real me! I wasn’t as interesting anymore because I had hidden away the things that made me unique and memorable.
  11. Who wants to be a photocopy? I don’t want to be just like everyone else. I don’t want to be the same old person who does the same old things to impress someone. I don’t want to be like the person I’m dating. I want to be me, and that means all of me. Basically, if someone I meet doesn’t like who I am, that’s not my problem. It’s just a sign we’re not meant to be, but it’s certainly not a sign that I need to change who I am. I’m done with that!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.