When you’re unemployed, one of your biggest fears is being judged by others. When it comes to dating, that fear can be amplified.
The number one question asked when meeting someone new is, “What do you do for a living?” For many people who are out of work, that simple question can feel like a kick to the stomach.
Don’t let unemployment shake your confidence. Here are a few tips for handling the awkward “I’m actually unemployed” talk so you can keep dating while you’re unemployed:
1. Discover What You’re Passionate About
Being single during a career transition can be an exciting experience, according to Adam LoDolce, a Boston-based dating coach for both men and women. “Dating is the perfect time to redefine yourself,” he says. According to LoDolce, it’s extremely important to discover what you’re really passionate about during this transitional period. “We put so much emphasis on having a good job,” says LoDolce. “You need to realize that, even if you have a good job, it’s not automatically going to get you the girl or the guy.”
Incorporating passion and excitement into your conversation is key during a career transition. By changing your perspective, you can control how people view your situation.
2. Avoid Conversation Killers
There are three common questions that come up when you’re getting to know someone new. They are:
- What do you do for a living?
- How old are you?
- Where are you from?
These questions are major conversation killers, according to LoDolce. “It’s boring conversation,” he says. “If you’re unemployed, work on deflecting these questions and making fun conversation. Have fun.”
So, what do you ask instead? Here are a few conversation starters to try:
- What’s your dream job?
- What are your hobbies?
- What are some places you’d like to visit?
3. Focus On Your Passions
“Stop focusing on what people do for a living and focus on what they’re passionate about instead,” says LoDolce. Although some people are lucky enough to have a job they are passionate about, many people out there aren’t doing what they love for a living.
Talking about your passions will not only help someone get to know you, but it will also be more interesting for both parties involved.
4. Be Positive
“Being honest about your unemployment is the best approach to communicating with a new guy [or girl],” says dating expert Marni Battista. That doesn’t mean you have to be negative about it, though. Battista suggests putting a positive spin on your situation. For instance, rather than talking about how the economy is killing your industry, or how hiring folks just don’t “get you,” focus on what’s working.
Here’s an example: “I love being a teacher, and am confident that my expertise in integrating technology into the classroom is going to land me an amazing position. All the interviews are great opportunities to practice and discover what the marketplace is looking for.”
“When you cast blame on life’s circumstances, it leaks a ‘Debbie Downer’ energy to your date and he [or she] will be more turned off by your negativity rather than the fact that you are unemployed,” says Battista.
5. Don’t Be Too Serious
Afraid of an awkward pause in the conversation after you break the news to your date? Try to make light of the situation as best as you can. “I find that most awkward moments are awkward because you are feeling awkward,” says LoDolce. You need to feel comfortable.
If you start feeling uncomfortable, LoDolce suggests joking around and making light of the situation. “If you’re overly serious about it, it’s going to be uncomfortable,” he says.
6. Spruce Up Your Online Brand
“In the online dating world, your first impression is digitized—and your career is part of that,” says Laurie Davis, author ofLove at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating. Most dating profiles have a section to discuss your job. When you’re unemployed, avoid listing a hopeful job title or giving a resume rundown. Avoid posting old photos, or mentioning a would-be job or past position because it sets expectations you can’t live up to in person. Not to mention, giving your total work history will give the impression that you’re trying too hard…and possibly hiding something, she says.
Davis suggests relying on the industry drop-down menus that dating sites offer. If a description can’t be avoided, focus on volunteer work or passions. When talking about projects that are gaining momentum, use confident phrasing.
“Your match doesn’t need to know the intricacies of your experience in a first impression,” Davis explains. Say something like “I’m a management consultant” rather than “I’m trying to start consulting for executives since I did a lot of that in my past job.” “Overexplaining isn’t confident,” she says.
We hope these six tips help you stay confident on the dating scene while you’re unemployed! There’s so much more to you than your career.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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