We all love the feeling: the electric, often sickening feeling of liking and getting to know someone new.
It’s those early stages of a budding relationship when you get nervous before dates, carefully ask new questions and strategically plan your next moves (like when to send that dreaded first text).
What might be the most fascinating part about all of this, however, is what you learn about yourself in the process. Getting to know someone else forces you to take a look at yourself — maybe a closer look than you’ve had in a really long time. This can be refreshing, but it can also be a shocking wake-up call.
Here are 8 things dating new people teaches you about yourself:
1. Your Deal Breakers
We all have a list — long or short — of deal breakers: habits, quirks, behaviors or tendencies that automatically slam the brakes on a potential relationship.
Maybe it has to do with political affiliations, religion or whether he or she is okay with you eating peanut butter straight from the jar, or not. You’ll learn pretty quickly what’s most important to you and what you can put up with.
2. What You Like About Yourself
There’s nothing like those awkward, first date conversations to boost your confidence. As tedious as it might feel to explain essentially all the highlights of your life to someone new, it usually helps to remind you that in the grand scheme of things, you’re doing alright.
Be it your record collection, the way you look wearing high-waisted jeans or your fast-paced career in advertising, dating brings the things you deserve to be proud of to the forefront.
3. What You’ve Been Hiding
On the other end of the spectrum, dating also tends to reveal some things about yourself that maybe you’re not so proud of. Everyone harbors thoughts and secrets that are best kept to themselves, but when you’re dating someone new, it’s sort of like a reset button.
You realize how silly some of the things are that you guard, and the importance of keeping other things tucked away safe.
4. Quirks You’ve Never Noticed Before
Sometimes it takes a new person entering your life for you to realize that you twirl your hair when you’re talking or that you blow bubbles with your gum during awkward silences.
Quirks are cute and usually pretty harmless. Make sure you’re dating someone who is cool with your need to kick a rock down the sidewalk or have all your dollar bills facing the same direction.
5. How You Spend Your Time
When someone new enters your life, it can throw a wrench (in a good or bad way) into your daily routines and schedule. It’ll force you to stop and consider how you spend that priceless free time.
Maybe the person you’re dating will integrate seamlessly into your lifestyle, or maybe you’ll have to shuffle some things around; either way, you’ll have to prioritize.
6. Sacrifices You’re Willing and Not Willing to Make
Speaking of priorities, spending time with another person will force you to examine what’s really important to you. If you like the person, chances are you’re willing to give up watching every episode of “The Bachelor” in order to spend time with him or her.
Acknowledge the things and elements that were present in your single life that you’re not willing to give up while dating. Stand by those and don’t loosen your grasp; anyone who doesn’t respect that is not worth your time, anyway.
7. Trends In Your Dating Life
Maybe you’re a sucker for the clean-cut J.Crew type, or you always fall for a sleeve full of tats. No matter what floats your boat, once you’re back in the dating world, you begin to realize the types of people you attract and are attracted to.
Own it, accept it, learn from your past and use this knowledge to hone in on someone who fits you, not your type.
8. What Matters For Your Future
Talking about individual goals, plans and ideas with someone new either reaffirms or makes you question what you want for yourself down the road.
Don’t be afraid to let someone else challenge or question your ideas for the future; just make sure you don’t compromise your goals for someone who doesn’t see value in them.