First Date Nerves – 13 Tips To Help You Ace It

Dating experience | |
Reviewed By , Psychologist
Updated On: March 22, 2024
First Date Nerves

Are you heading out to date for the first time and breaking into a cold sweat every time you look down at your watch and the time to meet them is approaching? Do you also find yourself constantly overthinking how you’ll start the conversation, what you’ll say, if you should compliment her outfit or not, and whether you should mention what caused you to be a little late? Don’t worry too much about all these things. What you have is clearly a case of first date jitters and it’s absolutely normal.

These pesky first dates can be stressful and burdened with so many expectations. But try to think of it this way. It could also lead to first kisses, second dates, and other wonderful things to come.

Look on the bright side to do away with being nervous on a date. If you get anxious about meeting them for the first time, you will only put in extra effort to make things work. And is that such a bad thing? More often than not, this works in your favor. So, let’s see how you can deal with first date nerves, use it to your advantage and dazzle your date completely.

What Do You Mean By First Date Nerves?

First date jitters refer to a feeling of anxiety when you are going to meet someone new. Some people are just naturally confident when they meet new people. They thrive on these things and one can even say that they’re just built differently. Hell, maybe they’re even from a different planet.

But a big part of the population lies in the other arena of actually being nervous for the first date instead of walking into it with guns blazing. Most of us, well, get anxious when we are about to meet someone new. That’s when the first date nerves hit.

When you are jittery, you tend to fumble while talking, are clumsy while handling things and can even come across as rather underconfident before a date. But what you need to understand is that it’s perfectly all right to be that way. The nerves will give off a certain eager energy, and more often than not, partners or dates like that sort of a thing.

It gives an organic touch to the setup and brings some warmth to the date. It displays a sense of honesty in your behavior which can quite frankly, come off as a tad attractive. In other words, first-date nerves can be rather endearing.

So put away all the bad feelings around getting nervous before a date and embrace them instead. That being said, let’s also have a look at how can we ace the first date blues, just enough to ensure you don’t knock over any chairs or glasses or make any other major faux pas.

Related Reading: 11 Ways To Cope With Dating Anxiety

How Do I Calm My Nerves Before A First Date?

First and foremost, you need to relax and breathe better. First dates come with tremendous pressure, to look good, make a good impression, and try to be likable. But what you also need to understand is that, in all likelihood, the other person is also nervous about this first date. They like you too, which is why they’re here in the first place. So rest assured that they have their own agenda to impress you too. You are both in the same boat, pretty much.

If you are anxiety-ridden, mistakes are bound to occur on your date. And there is nothing wrong with that. A study found that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is the third-most-common psychological disorder, affecting 15 million men and women in the US. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone, that virtually every other person has had nervous butterflies before a first date.

But to help you out with the same, we’ve covered a few tips and tricks for you to deal with and understand the art of calming nerves before a first date. So, ready to defeat your first date nerves? Here are 13 tips that will help you through them.

1. Feeling nervous before a date? Choose comfort over uncertainty

Uncertainty is synonymous with a first date. You don’t know the person too well. You don’t know what to expect out of them, and with your raging first date nerves, yourself as well. With such odds stacked against you, your best bet is to choose a place that you already know.

In sports terms, it’s called a home-ground advantage. If it’s a cafe or a restaurant, you would know its setting, its food and its service. That will take a lot of pressure off you while meeting the person and you can simply focus on yourself, the person and be in the moment. So if you’re nervous about first date with a guy, take him to a place that you’re more than comfortable at. We suggest you don’t go with an at-home date night because that might be a little premature for date one and will only add to your anxiety.

But there’s so much else that you can do. If you decide to have an outdoor date, maybe at a park or a riverside picnic, make sure the place isn’t one that gives you jump scares. (Jump scares are what horror movies do to you). That will not help you in dealing well with first-date nerves.

Your best bet is to choose a place that you already know to stop feeling nervous before a date

2. “Come as you are…”

We think it would be a good move to play this Nirvana track on the way to the date. Basically, don’t build unrealistic or monumental expectations from yourself or from your date. A lot of disappointments from first dates come from unrealistic expectations. And when you already are trying to get rid of first date nerves, expecting too much from yourself is a sure shot way to be let down.

It is absolutely fine to leave the date not getting what you wished for. And this will be easier if you wouldn’t anticipate things prematurely. So, keep to realistic relationship expectations.

One of Hollywood’s most adored couples, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt had a roller coaster for a first date. As opposed to any café or restaurant, John decided to take Emily to a shooting range for a first date! In 2012, John said in an interview, “I think I was so sure that I would never end up with her that I decided to really hit the gas and blow it right away.” Well, it worked out for them; they are married and have two beautiful daughters now!

3. Nervous about first date with girl? Have a ‘jitter buddy’

There is no harm or shame in calling your BFF or homie and saying things like “I’m a nervous wreck because this girl is too hot and I’m worried she won’t like me” or “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach dude”. That’s what friends are for. To always be there and listen to you when you’re a complete mess. Getting support from friends or family is one of the best ways to soothe your first date nerves.

They will help you calm yourself before you head for the date. If they know you well, they might just hit the right notes with the right words and help you get rid of all your first date nerves completely. So, call or text whoever your safe space is, and tell them you’re suffering major first date jitters. Laugh about it and get it out of your system. You’ll be in a much better headspace for your date then.

Related Reading: 10 Tips To Date When You Have Social Anxiety

4. Know yourself better

So here’s the thing. Nobody knows about your nervous energy better than you do. So, think about all the things that you do when you’re feeling nervous. It can be things such as biting your nails, jiggling your legs, unintentional zoning out, fumbling or just being a butter-fingers. Knowing about a problem is half the battle won. And if zoning out is an issue, make sure you pay attention and try to listen better to your date.

If you are nervous for first date, reassure yourself that you are doing your best to work on your shortcomings. If you are aware of those weaknesses and give active thought to them, you will not do them. It’s just how our brain functions. It may take a little more work and energy than you thought, but if you’re into this guy or girl, it will be worth it.

And an extra tip: do manage your surroundings. For example, if you have a habit of fidgeting, don’t keep your keys around or don’t wear too much jewelry that dangles off your person. If you have a habit of jiggling your legs (like I do), then just place your legs firmly with some support so that you don’t subconsciously start doing it.

5. Give yourself a timeout to stop being nervous before a date

Take some time out and sit with your thoughts. Sometimes you need to give yourself a pep talk too. Telling yourself things like “It’s just a first date” and “Don’t beat yourself up about it” and a little “You look amazing and you’re going to ace this” hurt no one.

Giving yourself some small pointers or agendas really helps in dealing with first-date nerves. So talk to yourself in a mirror, be your own best friend and give yourself some advice to impress a girl or a guy. Things like deciding what you want to drink or what you want to eat will help you take your mind off the nerves.

And even if you don’t connect, it would still be an experience. You need a bad date too in life to learn what not to do the next time. So just shake it off, and head out with a big smile.

Related Reading: How Do Guys Feel About Girls Making The First Move?

6. Put on your suit of armor

One of the best ways to get rid of your first date nerves is getting dressed in your best. Have you been looking for places or occasions to whip out that LBD (little black dress) or that brilliant grey dinner jacket you bought? Well, now is the time.

If you’re serious about doing away with being nervous about first date with a guy, then make sure you put on those high heels, that lipstick and wear a dress that you look completely ravishing in. Getting dressed the way you like and feel good in is a way to reinforce confidence in yourself.

It strengthens your own image in your head and makes you feel ready for whatever lies ahead. And that, we think, is the best way to beat the first date nerves. When you look confident, you feel confident and that is, more often than not, the key to crack first dates. What to wear on a first date is important, so give it your best shot.

7. Stop hoping to land on the moon

We all know how the phrase goes, “Aim for the moon, if you miss, you’ll end up in the stars.” Well, it is absolutely fine if you are nervous for first date and don’t even end up among the stars. We set high expectations from first dates and when it does not work, we end up making rash decisions like “I’m never going on a date again”, which can be pretty unhealthy.

It’s fine if things don’t work out with someone. Not every person you meet can be the love of your life. Some people click immediately when they meet, and others need a lot of trial and error before a connection finally finds them. If you think it’s time to back off of relationships or stop online dating that could be a wise decision. It’s always good to take a break too.

Think of it this way: you don’t just buy the first dress you see in a store and walk out right away. Likewise, it’s not necessary that your first date with the first person you connect will turn out to be lit. An important way to get over first date nerves is to make yourself understand that it is fine to take a cab back home, not getting what you wanted. At least you tried. A different store, maybe, next time.

8. Loosen up a little for calming nerves before a date

Sometimes, you actually don’t need to bring your A-game to a dinner or that cute date in the park that you two had planned. You don’t really have to constantly put pressure on yourself about how to dress, what to say and how much to talk on the first date.

The more you overthink it, the more you might just fumble. Making small talk or starting a conversation about a music band you like, or a funny story about how you messed up your friend’s booty call is actually enough sometimes. Remember that it’s important that they like you for who you are on the inside. So why put on a facade?

A good first date can be something as simple as scrolling funny reels on Instagram together. And before you know it, it will be a great bonding factor between you two and you’ll realize that you were just being silly getting so nervous about first date with a guy or a girl.

Beating the first date nerves is realizing it isn’t always about bringing in the big conversation guns and blowing the date’s mind to kingdom come. So, loosen up a little and let the conversation flow. Most importantly, have a lot of fun!

More on dating tips

9. Friend zone them, but in a good way

We know, we know. The phrase ‘friend zone’ sets alarm bells off in your brain. But one of the best and most helpful ways to ace the first date blues is thinking of it as meeting a friend after a long time. That you have to reconnect with them, tell them how you have been and get to know them all over again.

This will take the pressure off and help you stop feeling nervous before a date. Often, first-date anxiety or social anxiety comes from a deep-seated fear of rejection and a mountain of expectation you lay on yourself. You look after that, you get rid of your first date nerves.

With a friend, you’d have ease and familiarity – the very opposite of nerves. So, pretend like you’re already friends sort of in a platonic relationship, getting to know each other again in a whole new world. That way, you won’t really show any of the signs a guy is nervous on a first date and she’ll never realize that you were sweating in the cab on the way there. You’ll find you’re much more relaxed. So, go ahead and friendzone your date for the time being.

10. Nervous about first date with girl? Have a chuckle at yourself

We all know what happens when we are ridiculously nervous about something. We goof up! But that’s okay! Try to laugh at your own mistakes. Owning it takes the embarrassment out of it and it might bring a little chuckle to your date as well. But most importantly, it will take your fear of messing things up out of the equation. Because it is not the mess that we fear, but the embarrassment that follows.

So, whether you suddenly realize you’re wearing mismatched shoes, or you manage to woefully mispronounce something on the menu, laugh it off. If you are able to laugh at yourself, you can beat first-date nerves.

Related Reading: What Is New Relationship Anxiety? 8 Signs And 5 Ways To Deal With It

11. Music to your rescue

Nervous about first date with a guy or a girl you are meeting for the first time? Bring out the DJ in you and search Spotify for your best tunes to hype you up and stop being too nervous about first date. Music can play a crucial role in beating first-date nerves. It helps you lighten the mood, take some stress off and distract you from the date pressure.

Whether your jam is classic rock, trance, or classical, play tracks that infuse you with energy and make you a more confident man or woman for your date. It will pump you up before you get into the zone, and calm you down as well.

12. Have a drink for calming nerves before a date

One drink before you go on a date isn’t a bad idea to deal with those first date nerves. A glass of wine or a small peg of your favorite scotch will certainly bring down the heightened anxiety that is brimming inside you. But it should stop at one, not one too many. You definitely don’t want to hiccup your way into introducing yourself. And if your alcohol tolerance is low, maybe skip this one altogether.

infographic - first date nerves - 13 tips to ace it
How to calm first-date nerves

13. Get some vitamin ‘me’

The best way to deal with first-date nerves is to spend some quality time with yourself. Do things that you like and enjoy. Hit the gym and sweat it out. Or hit a salon and get a facial or a massage to soothe your senses. Endorphins are a great booster and when you do things you enjoy, you’re flooded with happy hormones and are instantly more confident.

Good me-time can translate into good date-time because you’re already refreshed and recharged and hopefully glowing from your workout or massage. Once you spend some time with yourself, it will clear your head, rid you of all that low self-esteem and lift your morale.

That should probably do the trick. Try one or more of these tips to deal with first date nerves and walk into that date oozing confidence and enthusiasm. Our final, unofficial tip to help you through the first date is to just be yourself even if it means showing some of the little signs a guy is nervous on a first date. The more you try to cover it up, the more worked up you will get about it.

After all, you will have fun with the person only if they like you for who you are, not an image you create. Good luck! We hope you ace your first date and have many more.

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