Increased heart rate, sweating, and a whirlwind of over thousands of emotions at the same time. Yup, I am talking about the infamous dating jitters! Don’t worry, I am not here to scare you away from your next first date. Quite the opposite, actually. With the help of expert insights, together we’re going to figure out how to not be nervous on a date. But beware, the process of understanding how to not be nervous on a date can be a bit complicated.
In fact, mastering how to not be nervous on a date is something like cutting an onion. It means that you might have to deal with a lot of layers and some tears. Working toward easing up the nervousness you feel when you are trying to meet someone new is going to require a bit of groundwork. I know it isn’t easy to put yourself out there, and therefore, it’s normal to be nervous on a first date. But the important part is that you have to try.
To learn how to not be nervous on a date, you need to dig deeper into your emotions. And after that, you can work on the other things one step at a time. And how do you do that? Psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, shares some insights.
Top 11 Expert Tips To Help You Not Be Nervous On A Date
I cannot emphasize enough the fact that learning how to not be nervous on a date is not a one-day task. There are a lot of things attached to it and it isn’t possible to fix them in a single day. But understanding the root cause of the problem and fixing it by working on it every day can be the answer to all your problems.
Dr. Bhonsle explains, “Some people are perennially anxious by nature. Whatever happens in their life, their natural response is anxiety. Such people are going to feel nervous even on a first date not because they are going on a date but because most situations in their life tend to make them feel inundated. These situations tend to make them feel unusually challenged or uncomfortable – this could be a personality trait, a learned behavior, or a cognitive error.” So, to dig deeper into the source of your anxious feelings and help you figure out how not to be nervous on a date, here are 11 expert-backed tips:
Related Reading: 10 Tips To Date When You Have Social Anxiety
1. Ace the art of listening
Before addressing how to not be nervous on a date, let’s see what nervousness looks like. If a person cannot shut up, even for a moment, then there are high chances that they have no control over their nerves anymore. According to Dr. Bhonsle, verbal diarrhea can be one of the most obvious signs a guy is nervous on a first date or a girl is feeling more than just butterflies in her stomach.
“When you talk too much on a first date and don’t listen in equal parts, it’s a sure shot sign that you are nervous and that extra conversation you are trying to have, is less to build rapport and more to comfort your nerves. When a person talks too much about themselves – their work, family, interests, life, past, exes – and gives out every ounce of information on the first date, it may be too much for their date to fathom or process,” he explains.
This overload of information may lead to a skewed judgment. And to avoid that it is best to keep the conversation flowing from both directions. Talk more about your general interests and stick to some basic conversation starters that can help you
break the ice. This doesn’t mean that you should lie or not share things with your date. Finding the answer to how to not be nervous on a date means understanding how you present yourself to others.
You have to remember that it is not necessary to give out all the details about yourself on the first date. Dr. Bhonsle says, “There is a certain age for certain information to reach you. Similarly, there is a certain age of the relationship you must first reach to start sharing certain information.”
2. Take it one step at a time
How to not be anxious on a first date also begins with accepting that every date is not going to lead to a relationship. Constantly feeling that your life or social reputation is dependent on how quickly you can find ‘the one’ can build up a lot of pressure.
Dr. Bhonsle explains, “Dating is basically trial by fire kind of a thing…Every date does not have to lead to sexual activity, relationship, or marriage. It can be a scintillating conversation and maybe just a meeting of minds. The physical stuff becomes more organic when two people are compatible and kind of reach into each other’s hearts without much effort. That’s when it becomes beautiful. Otherwise, it can be a very clunky exercise.”
But remember, taking it slow does not mean that you don’t try. The way you can’t learn how to swim by watching documentaries, you can’t make headway in finding a partner unless you dip your feet in the dating pool. Ease up your nervousness by understanding that everyone out there is just trying to find the best fit.
3. Keep a check on your joke frenzy
Breaking the ice with some funny ice-breaker questions is great. But not realizing when to apply the brakes on that humor wagon can land you into a lot of trouble. When a person is nervous on a date, more often than not, they try to overcompensate by adding humor to the conversation. This might be because they feel that it is their responsibility to keep the date interesting. But please, before you go on that joke frenzy again, read the room.
While breaking down this expert tip on how to not be nervous on a date, Dr. Bhonsle explains, “Not everything deserves a chuckle. While humor is a great quality, it’s not well cultivated by some people. Some can be just innately funny without too much of an effort but most people have to put up an act and maybe even memorize those funny lines. If you have some astute sardonic observations and you want to bring them out to break the ice, it’s completely fine to do so within limits but know where to draw the line.”
Related Reading: How To Impress A Girl On A First Date
4. Be yourself but don’t be yourself
To be or not to be, that is the question. Out of all the how not to be nervous on a date ideas, I am sure this one definitely rattled your mind. As a woman, if you wonder, “Do guys get nervous around a girl they like?” or “Is it possible that a confident guy is nervous around me?”, then the answer might be hidden somewhere within you. Likewise, if you’re a guy, who’s wondering, “Why was she so nervous on the date? Did I do something wrong?”, the answer can be quite the opposite. Sometimes, when you find someone too attractive and don’t know if they feel the same for you, it might throw you off, physically or mentally. This might lead you to blurt your achievements in order to wade off your insecurities and portray that you are worthy of them.
Sometimes, when you are wondering if your amazing date finds you attractive too, you may start sounding too pompous or self-congratulatory, when in fact you are nervous about the first date. In Dr. Bhonsle’s words, “It can also start feeling like you are there to make a sales pitch rather than to have a nice time.”
To avoid this and not sound like a desperate salesperson, you have to learn to maintain your calm. You are what you are and blurting out your achievements is not going to help your date see it. Dr. Bhonsle adds, “The sales pitch is no doubt being made by your mannerisms, your clothes, and your general demeanor.
“You are initiating a social exchange and are a walking-talking advertisement of what you represent in society. Do you represent softness, calmness or knowledge? Do you represent integrity, loyalty or industriousness? Whatever it may be, these values are best communicated nonverbally.”
5. Don’t confuse, defuse!
Recently, one of my friends, Jessie, went out on a date with a guy. She had been crushing over this ‘gym guy’ for around six months now. And finally, she found the strength to ask him out. However, the date didn’t turn out the way we had expected
it to. After getting back from the date, Jessie could not stop bickering about how uneasy she was the entire evening.
When I asked her what exactly turned her off, she replied that maybe the guy was just not interested in her. She told me that he couldn’t stop fidgeting with his phone, kept on looking in the mirror to fix his hair and shirt, and probably didn’t even take a look at what she was wearing. This was heartbreaking at first but then she got a text from him asking her out on a second date. And that made me wonder, “Do guys get nervous around a girl they like?” Jessie, too, was perplexed by this unexpected turn of events. “I can’t believe a confident guy is nervous around me,” she said. I think that is exactly what happened.
Dr. Bhonsle explains, “If you sweat a lot, fidget or play constantly with your palm or cutlery, for example, or if you continuously touch your hair or straighten your shirt, it is a clear sign of nervousness.” However, it is possible that at times, your date may confuse it with you being too self-absorbed or disinterested.
So, to avoid misunderstandings and get your confidence back, it is best to identify and address these nervous tics as soon as possible. Being aware of your actions and establishing some effective grounding rituals can help you feel a sense of control and be more present in the moment. Journaling, interacting with people or even engaging with nature can help you find the balance and comfort that you are looking for.
Related Reading: 7 Bad Dating Habits You Need To Break Right Now
6. Avoid too much mirroring
I know that some degree of unconscious personality mirroring is inevitable, but if you have gotten into the habit of constantly mimicking others, you may be in deep trouble. To know how to not be nervous on a date, it is important to know what being nervous looks like.
When a guy or a girl is nervous on a date, they may constantly try to mimic what their partner does or speak. This mimicking might go to an extreme where the person may suppress their own personality traits to give the impression that they share many common interests with their date.
To understand what mirroring exactly looks like, take a look at an example Dr. Bhonsle shared with us. “You show up on a date and notice that the girl looks even prettier in real life. As a guy, maybe you can’t imagine that a girl with such beauty has decided to grace your poor soul, one foggy evening. And she says, “I am very particular about what I eat,” and you say “Even I am very particular about what I eat.” She says I” have recently converted to veganism,” you say, “Even I am considering it”.”
This constant mirroring of someone else’s choices and preferences can lead to a false foundation in a relationship. Describing how a false picture of you can create problems, Dr. Bhonsle says, “False advertising creates a false impression and when that illusion shatters, the person is going to feel cheated. He/she is going to ask why you said what you said and that becomes awkward because you cannot come up with a reasonable explanation.”
7. Dress well
Signs a guy is nervous on a first date or a girl is anxious about meeting a new guy are easy to identify. When a guy is nervous on a date or a girl is experiencing the dating jitters, even the most exquisite suit or dress in the world would not be able to work its charm. Because dressing well is not just about fancy or expensive clothing. It is more of a statement that spells out the personality of the person wearing it. It is best to adorn the clothes that flatter your body type and make you feel comfortable at the same time.
Related Reading: Casual Dating – 13 Rules To Swear By
As Dr. Bhonsle says, “If you dress well, you send across a message that you’re looking forward to an interesting evening and you take this date seriously. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to show that you took efforts.” He further explains that sometimes you have to fake it until you make it.
“When you appear confident, even when you don’t feel confident, half your job is done as you are presenting an image of confidence to the world,” he adds. Making an effort and finding out the right balance of what success looks like to you can help you appear more confident.
8. Working out
I hope you are enjoying these how to not be nervous on a date tips because this one requires you to work out a bit harder. Hitting the gym before your big first date can be the answer to how to not be anxious on a first date. No matter if it is your first date after meeting online, or the kind where you already know him or her. By working out, you can boost your mood and your overall self-esteem. It can also help you clear your mind and put you in a better state, mentally. It may also reduce your anxious behaviors and help you regulate your appetite.
As Dr. Bhonsle advises, “Try working out in the evening (for an evening date) because the endorphins make you naturally happy and put you on a high. These endorphins are anxiety killers. So, if your date is at 8, squeeze in a workout at around 5:30. This will put you in a go-go mood, physically as well as mentally. It will boost your energy levels and you will be more confident as you are already in a grind mode.”
9. Good sleep
One of the easiest how to not be nervous on a date tips is to tackle those first date nerves by calming your brain before the big event. If a guy is nervous about a first date with a girl or if a girl cannot keep calm about her date the next day, then there are chances that their thoughts might keep them awake throughout the night. Racing thoughts about what may happen and all the possible situations that can come your way may steal your precious sleep.
It’s absolutely normal to be excited about an event, especially a date you have been looking forward to. But at the same time, your brain needs to relax to function at its best. So, Dr. Bhonsle suggests at least 8 hours of sleep the night before your date. He also warns that if you are unable to put your brain at ease, then it might reflect on your eyes and face.
However, at times like these, the more you try to relax, the more wound up you may end up feeling. So, to achieve a meaningful good night’s sleep, try to avoid caffeine after noon, have a light dinner, and if possible, try some light exercises. A warm shower or some light music can also be helpful. And at last, not forcing yourself to sleep might do the trick.
10. Be involved in the planning
If you are not that fond of online dating, I am sure your dating life has come crashing down during the lockdown. And even though things seem a lot better now for the world, feeling apprehensive about getting back to offline dating is completely
normal. The fear of putting yourself out there after a long time is comprehensible. But don’t let this fear get to you.
Stop being a passive participant in your date. If you are nervous about a first date with a girl or a boy, try to be more involved in the planning. This way you can choose a place and a time that works best for you. Also, if you feel that you are still not ready for the physical dating experience yet, you can suggest a virtual date to get a bit more comfortable around them.
Actively participating in plans will help you avoid any elements of surprise and will make you seem more interested. Also, it might help you build a rapport even before you have started dating them. You may come to know their likes and dislikes beforehand, which can ease your nervousness.
11. Be aware of your food habits
Some people are too nervous to eat on a date. And others just can’t stop eating. Remember knowing how to not be nervous on a date directly correlates to knowing what nervousness looks like for you. No matter if it is your first date or you are undergoing new relationship anxiety, your food habits can say a lot about you. As Dr. Bhonsle points out, “Some people will not eat when they are nervous. Some people will eat excessively. Some people may eat everything that they have never eaten before just to match the choices of their date.”
So, to avoid all food-related stress, it’s always better to be aware of your food habits. Stick to food that will not affect your health. Go with the food that you like so that it can make you feel comfortable. This way you won’t have to worry about eating something else to look classier or healthier. Because the classiest and the healthiest thing is the ability to feel comfortable in your skin.
Here, I would like to conclude these 11 expert tips on how not to be nervous on a first date. Hope you found your answers to all your questions like “How not to be nervous on a date?” “How not to be anxious on a first date?” and “How not to be nervous on a first date with a girl or a boy?” Keep visiting us at bonobology.com for more informative and fun content.