You’re sitting across from a date and something feels off – they're just not what you were expecting. Why does the paper version of this person look so much better than they do in real life?

Here’s why reality doesn’t always match up with the date you envisioned.

Your Imagination Does a Great Job

We have really great imaginations. Just as movie version of the book you envisioned doesn't compare to what you imagined, the same thing happens with a dating profile. Read a dating profile is like reading a book. It's better because it stems from your imagination. What you project from the details on paper into an imagined persona is almost never equivalent to the real human being you sit down with on the date.

You read someone’s profile and feel immediately connected to the other person, and there’s something there. Your mind likes doing puzzles and it starts to fill in all the gaps. You make everything look “picture-perfect” in your brain. You’re looking forward to meeting them, envisioning how great they will be based on this idea you have in your mind which isn’t exactly based on reality, but on figments of your imagination.

Is it any wonder they’re not actually “picture-perfect”? So you're freaking out inside, feeling so frustrated.

Your imagination is doing a great job, as it should. But don’t be disappointed when your date does not match your imagination.

Put aside that image of who you think they are from what you read and get to know the person in front of you.

So how do you get over this hurdle? You need to slow your thinking down and be present on your date. You need to take a look at the person sitting in front of you. Put aside that image of who you think they are from what you read and get to know the person in front of you.

Don’t try to compare your vision to the reality. Just enjoy and connect with the reality of the situation, whether they are who you expected or not, and go with the flow.

Editing Your Profile

Now let’s flip the scenario. Let’s say you’re writing your own dating profile. You have time to refine that amazing piece of paper. How many times do you write or rewrite, order or reorder? You edit yourself, right?

And then what happens? You show up to the date, and you’re a little unedited. You’re totally raw. You’re there in the flesh, and maybe you’re not as eloquent as the words on the page. Maybe you wrote it. Maybe you had somebody else help you write it. Whatever you did, it just sounds better on paper than how you present in person.

You’re in good company. A lot of people edit their profile, and most people don’t meet others expectations. Even still, you need to show up with confidence. Go in with a smile and put your best foot forward and hopefully the person across from you will like the real unedited version of you.

Photo Perfect

You have the opportunity to enhance what’s in a photo but when you show up in person, you still look like you. Should you edit your photo? Use photoshop? Who are you fooling?

Some people look amazing in photos. Do they look as good in real life? Not always. It’s a weird thing. Some people look great in real life, but are not photogenic at all.

Some people look amazing in photos. Do they look as good in real life? Not always.

I had this roommate once. She was gorgeous and she took the most horrible photos. She didn’t even like them! She’s like, “I don’t understand, Aleeza! Why can’t I take a good photo?” I couldn’t explain it. Some people just don’t match what is showing up in a photo. If someone is used to seeing you one way, then it’s the only image they see of you playing over again in their mind. When they finally see you in person, and it doesn’t match, it gets confusing.

You and your date need to give your eyes time to get used to the person in front of you, and to let the image you had in your mind fade away. Don’t be surprised if at first a photo doesn’t match what you’re seeing in person. Allow the person to grow on you over the date. Only after spending time with them can you truly judge if this is for you. Avoid making a snap decision and ending something before it gets started.

You’ve Been Putting People on Pedestals

By the time we meet someone in person, sometimes we’ve already put them on a pedestal in our mind. We like what they’ve written on their profile, and they say something we agree with. We build them up higher and higher in our heads. Well, where do they have to go from there?

The only place to go from there is down. So you'll have this deflated feeling and that’s normal. It might just not feel like it’s “up to par” because it’s your lovely imagination and feelings have built it up so much.

Again, give your brain time to catch up to your reality and to see who this person is and allow yourself time to enjoy their company. Don’t be fooled by your initial disappointment. It will fade when you will really get to know them.

May you have the clarity of mind to judge your dates favorably with a clear mind and a positive attitude.