When it comes to dating, everyone has experienced the common feeling of nervous butterflies before a big first date. While some people love the adrenaline rush that comes with meeting someone new, for others this feeling manifests itself as a form of crippling anxiety as the fear of the unknown kicks in.
There’s no doubt about it - first dates can be incredibly intimidating. No matter how clever, wealthy or attractive you may be, everyone has experienced some form of first date anxiety. After all, it’s human nature to be nervous before heading into an unknown situation with a new person. The key to keeping your first date jitters in check is simply preventing this anxiety from taking control and stopping you from enjoying the wonders of dating. While this may sound much easier said than done, there are a few handy tricks you can try out to quell your first date nerves.
Embrace the nerves!
In the lead up to a big first date, it is important to remind yourself that nerves are totally normal. When you think about it, it would be a bit strange if you didn’t feel at least a little nervous before meeting a completely new person in a situation that may feel a little alien to you. Instead of dwelling on what could potentially go wrong on your date, think about how exciting it is to go out and meet a new person, even if it doesn’t turn into anything romantic. This is what life is all about!
It may sound cheesy but trust us, this works. Before heading out to meet your date, look in the mirror and list a few positive qualities about yourself and think about the possibilities that could lie ahead. You’ll be surprised - embracing your nerves, going into the date with a positive mindset and remembering that your date is probably feeling just as nervous as you can be incredibly reassuring.
Obviously, beauty is only skin deep, but a pre-date pamper can play a huge role in improving your confidence prior to a big first date. If you don’t think you’re looking at your very best, you might not feel like you come across as yourself - not what you want on a first date. While you should never do something just because you feel like you have to in order to impress your date, treating yourself to a few beauty treatments or some new clothes can work wonders to boost confidence and help to suppress any first date anxiety.
Go all out and treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure, a blow dry and maybe even a new outfit. If you view a first date as an opportunity to pamper yourself, you can take the pressure off by ensuring you feel fully prepared, thus having one less thing to worry about.
Plan something for the following day
While this may sound a bit paradoxical, making completely separate plans for the day after your date can really help in quelling first date nerves. Think about it, the outcome of your date - be it a roaring success with your future soulmate or a complete dud with someone you never wish to see again - will feel a whole lot less important when you remind yourself, at this point, a first date is only a very small part of your life.
Book to go for brunch with a friend, pencil in a gym session or arrange to grab a coffee with a family member. A date can be an exciting opportunity, sure, but reminding yourself that there are always more important things in your life will put everything back into perspective and keep you feeling cool, calm and collected.
Go somewhere you know
If you’re meeting a complete stranger for a first date, it’s sensible to be a little cautious. Location can play a huge part in this. Always choose a public place you are familiar with and ensure you make a friend or a family member aware of your plans. Aside from the obvious safety aspects of planning to meet your date at a restaurant, venue or area you are super familiar with, arranging to go somewhere that you feel comfortable will mean you also have one less thing to feel anxious about.
Of course, you want to do something fun on your date, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of you feeling comfortable. If you never go to fancy restaurants or the opera, don’t choose somewhere like this for a first date. Agree on a location where you can feel safe, comfortable and be yourself. You’ll be amazed at how these three simple things are enough to keep the pre-date nerves at bay.
Ask yourself: ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’
Think of the worst possible date you can imagine - they don’t say a word, won’t make eye contact with you, have the personality of a doormat and have conveniently ‘left their wallet at home’. Now think about what happens next. You just go home and decide you don’t want to go out with them again. When you think about it, it’s really not that big a deal.
Bear in mind that you are always in control and even if the first date doesn’t end well, at least you’ll have a great story to tell your friends!
Remember, most of us have had great, average and downright awful first dates, that’s just part and parcel of the dating game. If you are worrying yourself sick over the outcome of meeting up with someone new, just think of it as a glorified meet-and-greet. Imagine you are meeting a new friend for a one-off get-together. After all, while you’re going on a first date to get to know someone new and to see if this person is a good fit, it's equally worth remembering that they are seeing if you are a good fit for them, too. If you manage your expectations for a realistic first date, live for the present rather than looking too far ahead into a potential future, and try to embrace the excitement of meeting someone new, the first date nerves should take care of themselves.