Dating is supposed to be fun, right? So why is it a word that usually sends our bodies into a frenzy of stress and anxiety?
First date nerves are so common, in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t experience some kind of nervousness before a date. But when that nervous excitement spirals out of control, a first date becomes an unnecessarily stressful occasion.
Don’t get us wrong, we don’t want to get rid of the first date butterflies altogether as they represent excitement and hope, everything a first date should be! But to properly allow yourself to open up and get to know the person sitting across from you, we’re here to help you out with some relaxation tips and tricks to calm first date nerves so you can jump head-first into everything dating has to offer.
Why do we get first date nerves?
No matter how many first dates you’ve been on, they never get any easier. Whenever we put ourselves in an unknown situation it can trigger feelings of anxiety or adrenaline leaving those well-known first date jitters in our tummies.
Unfamiliar social interactions have been shown to invoke feelings of anxiety and curiosity, and this is actually a good thing! That nervous energy is an innate survival mechanism, designed to keep us wary around unknown people or in unprecedented situations. So, whilst they can be really annoying, first date nerves are there to keep you safe!
However, when these feelings start to get out of hand, they have the potential to railroad your evening and the negative thought patterns can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. In situations like these, the ‘what-ifs’ start to run rampage and feelings of self-doubt will begin creeping in.
‘What if they don’t find me attractive?’
‘What if there’s nothing to talk about?’
‘What if I spill something on my outfit?’
You know the drill. When we place ourselves in unknown and vulnerable positions it triggers the negative self-critic to rear their ugly head. The more we allow ourselves to fixate on this narrative in our heads, the stronger it gets and the more nervous you will become to meet someone for the first time.
Just remember, as long as you’re safe, the worst that can happen is the date goes a little pear-shaped. Chances are you’ll never have to see them again and you’ve got a cracking story to tell the next time you meet up with your friends!
How to overcome first date nerves
There are a few tricks when it comes to first date planning to help alleviate some of those pesky nerves and help you relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t forget, this is supposed to be fun! With a few of these tools in your belt, you should be ready to take the world of dating by storm.
Plan the date to your advantage
Avoid worrying about a lack of conversation, or perhaps talking too much, by planning an active date. Engaging in an activity will help to prevent your mind from fixating on saying the right thing or asking good questions. Participating in something relaxed and fun, like mini golf, will take the pressure off the awkward conversations and create a light-hearted atmosphere where the conversation takes care of itself.
Another tip to overcome some of the first date nervousness is to avoid planning the date on an already busy day. The last thing you want to be doing before you meet someone for the first time is rushing. Try and pick a quiet day when you’ve got plenty of time to choose an outfit, get yourself ready, and relax a bit before it’s time to head out.
Use endorphins to calm first date nerves
When the jitters kick in, endorphins are going to be your BEST friend. Not only do endorphins release chemicals that are scientifically proven to make you happier, but a good workout is 100% going to give you that much-needed confidence boost.
Hitting the gym prior to your date is a fantastic way to take your mind off what’s coming up, get those endorphins flowing, and make sure you’re feeling your best self. If you enjoy lifting weights, then this is a great way to reduce anxiety, and you’ll be leaving the gym feeling relaxed and powerful ready to tackle your first date. And with all the blood rushing to your muscles, you’re going to look just as good as you feel! If you can’t make it to the gym, put some upbeat tunes on and have a dance at home. Pick songs that make you feel energised and empowered, turn them up, and start moving.
Just remember to leave enough time to take a shower and freshen up, so you’re not meeting your date all sweaty and red!
It’s unsurprising that a lot of the ‘what if’ scenarios floating around your head making you nervous stems from your image and confidence. When you have low self-esteem it’s only natural to worry about how you will come across to the other person, or if they will like what they see. However, studies have shown that confidence is a highly attractive trait in potential partners, so the more confident you are then the more appealing you automatically become.
Using affirmations like “I am worthy of love” or “I am enough as I am” can help to turn your mindset around and raise your self-esteem. Affirmations are a fantastic tool that, if practiced regularly, can chemically rewire your neurological pathways to leave you feeling more confident and optimistic. Once you truly believe you deserve to find love and happiness, you will feel more relaxed in the knowledge that there is a special someone out there for you and you can take your time to find them. It will also prevent you for settling for undesirable characteristics or people who don’t fit what you’re looking for in a partner.
Accept that first date nerves are normal
As we mentioned before, first date nerves are SO common, and even just embracing them for what they are can help you relax. Dating is exciting so try and settle into it and see it as an opportunity to challenge yourself.
Try to keep yourself in the present, and not let the feelings of hope and excitement run away with you. We’ve all been there, you meet someone new, there’s a spark… and suddenly you’re imagining what your names will sound like together. Whilst this can be a lot of fun, it can add extra pressure to an already stressful situation so try to keep yourself grounded in the present and take it one step at a time.
Mindfulness is a really great tool to help you acknowledge your emotions, ground yourself, and then release those unhelpful feelings from your body. It’s a fantastic way to quiet the mental chatter and teach you to be sympathetic with yourself. It’s important to treat yourself with as much kindness as you would someone else, so take 10 minutes to check in with your body and understand what you’re feeling. Over time, this will lead to fewer negative emotions cropping up in first date situations.
And at the end of the day, the other person is probably feeling just as nervous as you are! First dates are a two-way street, so you’re both in this together. Keep this in mind and meeting them becomes a whole lot less scary.
With Morale on your side, dating can be fun again! Using these tools, get rid of that little voice in your head making you doubt yourself and allow you to throw yourself wholeheartedly into the experience. Even if they’re not the one, you’ll learn something from every date and prove to yourself that you’re more than capable of holding your own in unknown situations.
Powered by the theory of self-affirmation, you can anonymously send anyone in your network a few kind words to boost their self-esteem and help them feel as confident as you now do! It’s easier than you think… just download the app from Google Play or Apple’s App Store and you’re ready to go. Send affirmations to whomever you want, from wherever you are, with just the tap of a button.
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