Are you going on a date for the first time and breaking into a cold sweat every time you think about it? Don’t worry, it’s absolutely normal to get first date jitters. Those pesky first dates can be stressful and burdened with so many expectations! But they could also lead to first kisses, second dates and other wonderful things!
Look on the bright side – if you get nervous before a date, you will put it extra effort to make things work. This more often than not, works in your favor. So, let’s see how you can deal with first date nerves and charm your date.
What Do You Mean By First Date Nerves?
‘First date jitters’ is a feeling of anxiety when you are going to meet someone new on a date for the first time. Some people are just naturally confident when they meet new people. They are built different. Hell, maybe they’re from a different planet. Most of us, well, we get anxious when we are about to meet someone new. That’s when the first date nerves hit.
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Cope With Dating Anxiety
When you are jittery, you tend to fumble while talking, are clumsy while handling things and can even come across as rather nervous. But what you need to understand is that, it’s alright 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. In other words, first date nerves can be rather endearing.
So, let’s 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.
How Do I Calm My Nerves Before A First Date?
First and foremost, you need to relax. First dates come with tremendous pressure, to look good, make a good impression, and try and be likeable. But what you also need to understand is that the other person will also be nervous for this first date.
If you are anxiety-ridden, mistakes are bound to happen. And there is nothing wrong in 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 everyone has had nervous butterflies before a first date.
Related Reading: 10 Tips To Date When You Have Social Anxiety
So, ready to deal with first date nerves? Here are 12 tips that will help you through them.
1. Comfort over uncertainty
Uncertainty is a synonym to a first date. You don’t know the person. You don’t know what to expect out of them, from them, and with raging first date nerves, yourself as well. With such odds stacked against you, your best bet is choosing 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.
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 with first date nerves.
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.
3. 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” or “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach, dude”. That’s what friends are for. Getting support from friends or family is one of the best ways to soothe your first date nerves.
They will help you get psyched 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 first date nerves.
So, call or text whoever your safe space is, and tell them you’re suffering major first date jitters. Laugh about it, get it out of your system. You’ll be much better on your date.
3. Know yourself better
Nobody knows about your nervous energy better than you. So, think about all the things that you do when you’re nervous. It can be biting your nails, jiggling your legs, unintentional zoning out, fumbling or just being a butter-fingers. Knowing about a problem is half the solution. And if zoning out is an issue, make sure you pay attention and listen better.
If you are aware of those things, and if you give active thought to them, you will not do them. It’s just how our brain functions.
And manage your surroundings accordingly. 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.
4. Give yourself a timeout
Take some time out and sit with your thoughts. Sometimes you need to give yourself a pep talk too. Tell yourself things like “It’s just a date” and “Don’t beat yourself up for it”. Giving yourself some small pointers or agendas really help in dealing with first date nerves.
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 remember how to not have it 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?
5. 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.
Getting dressed the way you like 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!
6. Aim for 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 don’t even end up in the stars. We set high expectations from first dates and when it does not work, we end up making false ultimatums like ‘I’m never going on a date again’.
It’s fine if things don’t work out. Some people click immediately when they meet, and others need a lot of trial and error before a connection happens. If you think it’s time to back off in a relationship, that’s a wise decision.
In my opinion, you can’t just buy the first dress you see in the store and walk out right away! So, 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.
7. Loosen up a little
Sometimes, you actually don’t need to bring your A game. You don’t really have to constantly put pressure on yourself about how to talk, what to say and how much to talk on the first date. Making small talk about a music band you like, or a funny story about how you messed up your friend’s booty call is actually enough sometimes.
Related Reading: What Is New Relationship Anxiety? 8 Signs And 5 Ways To Deal With It
A 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.
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, have fun and let the conversation flow.
8. Friend zone, but in a good way
We know, we know. The phrase ‘friend zone’ set alarm bells off in your brain. But one of the best and most useful ways to ace the first date blues is thinking about it like you’re 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 you and help you be yourself. Often, first-date anxiety or social anxiety comes from a deep seeded 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, getting to know each other again in a whole new world. You’ll find you’re much more relaxed. So, go ahead and friend zone!
9. 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 and 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: How To Impress A Girl On A Date
10. Music to your rescue
Bring out the DJ in you and search Spotify for your best tunes to hype you up before the date. Music can play a crucial role in beating first date nerves. It helps you lighten the mood, take some stress off and distracts you from the date pressure.
Whether your jam is classic rock, trance, or classical, play tracks that infuse you with energy and confidence. It will pump you up before you get into the zone, and calm you down as well.
11. Have a drink to calm your nerves
One drink before you go on a date isn’t a bad idea to deal with first date nerves. A glass of wine or a small peg of your favorite scotch will certainly bring down the heightened anxiety. 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.
12. Get some vitamin me
The best way to deal with first date nerves is spending some time with yourself. Do things you like. 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 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 self-doubt 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. 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!