Racing heartbeats, clammy palms…no, we’re not talking about your HIIT workout or Pilates. We’re talking about dates! It’s completely normal to feel nervous before any date, even for super confident people. Meeting a potential love interest for the first time can be scary. You’re nervous and excited at the same time because it is a big deal. It’s an indication that you have certain expectations about the date and that you see this person as potentially being someone you could care about and connect with. So, the stakes are pretty high in that regard. However, if nerves are getting in the way of you having a good time, it’s time to practice some anxiety-reducing strategies to help you relax, laugh more, and worry less. To prepare you for your next date, Linda Prescott shares practical tips on How to Not Be a Nervous Wreck on Dates. Enjoy!
It takes two to tango
Talk to your date about where you would both like to go. As this is a first-time meet, make sure it’s someplace public. According to psychotherapist, Lauren Freier in Elite Daily, picking a location for your first date together takes uncertainty out of the equation and helps to set up a calming foundation from the very beginning. Going to a place you (or the both of you) are familiar with will help you feel more at ease and in control of what happens. It will certainly take away the anxiety of having to find a place you haven’t been to before.
Go into the first date thinking that you’ll walk away with a new friend rather than a romantic partner because it does take the edge off things. As sex therapist, Moushumi Ghose, shared on Men’s Health about having a good time and putting less pressure on a date, “At the very least, you can make a friend out of the deal.” I met my partner through a dating app and though we were both attracted to one another, the timing just wasn’t right. Instead of worrying and feeling gutted, I remember walking away from our first coffee date feeling great because I made a friend and if anything came out of this platonic friendship, it would be a bonus. (The ‘bonus’ came two years into our friendship when we decided to take things to the next level which made our friendly coffee date even sweeter.)
Refrain from overthinking
You know that inner voice dispensing the ‘what ifs’ and analysing everything that’s being said and done? Indulging in it has the potential of sabotaging the relationship before it even begins. Easier said than done but it’s best to try as overanalysing can lead to unnecessary stress. Not overthinking will allow you to live in the moment and avoid incorrect conclusions. So as tempting as it is to find hidden meanings in things (e.g. did that wink mean they like me, will they call me, etc.) – don’t! Just remember that it will be revealed in time without you trying to decipher “clues”.
Hype yourself up
The quickest way you can build confidence and pump yourself up for your date is to listen to your favourite tracks. Not only will listening to songs leave you feeling energized, empowered, and great (thanks dopamine), it’s also a great way to distract yourself from the anxious feelings you’d normally get before a date.
Deep breathing is a fast and easy way to help calm your nerves. The next time you find yourself stressing over a date, take a moment to breathe and meditate. Calm (a sleep and meditation app) has a fantastic technique for de-stressing and all it takes is 2 minutes out of your day. Taking deep breaths and allowing your thoughts and concerns to melt into the background while being mindful of the length of inhaling and exhaling is an effective way to get your mind to feel calm and still. You’ll come out of the mini 2-min medication feeling a lot more relaxed too.