First date jitters.
Makes you feel like a teenager again, doesn’t it? But you may be thinking, “I’m not a teenager any more. Why do I feel nervous? I’m a confident, mature professional! What’s going on?” Believe me, even people with the healthiest feelings of self-confidence feel nervous before a first date.
Chances are you have not been on a date of any kind for a long time. Give yourself a break! And even if you’ve been dating for awhile, I don’t think first date butterflies ever really go away. Part excitement, part nerves, they are a natural human reaction to a first date and all the possibilities implied therein. But remember, this is just a first date. Not a life commitment, not a marriage proposal. You want to have fun, be open, and keep the pressure on yourself—and your date—low.
So why do we feel anxious on first dates? What to wear? Where to go? How to act? What to say? All very normal questions. But be careful that they don’t lead to self-sabotage. To help you to have a wonderful, successful and comfortable first date here are six guidelines:
- Understand. Realizing that your date is nervous too can make all the difference. Think about it—the shoe is on the other foot! You both are nervous about being judged, and, well, you are both right. You will be judged, and you will be judging. Use the golden rule here. Judge gently as you would be gently judged. Set the tone based on a true understanding of the situation and how nervous it is making you both. Realize that neither of you will be at your very best if you are freaking out, so put your date at ease. Also understand that most dates won’t turn into relationships. Grasping that simple fact can alleviate a lot of pressure you put on yourself and your date to make it perfect.
- Plan. When you are deciding where to go on a first date, think it through. Select someplace mutually convenient and low-key. Being careful about when to meet is as important as where. You want to be able to focus your best efforts on an enjoyable first date experience. After a grueling day at work or before an urgent appointment are probably not the best times for a date.
- Be authentic. Let your date see who you really are. Whatever you do, do not try to figure out what or who your date wants and try to be that person. How will you know he or she likes you if you have not really been yourself? Tell the truth, though you should avoid telling your whole life story on a first date. Also, give both of you a break. Don’t try to figure out what the end result will be. Live in the moment and enjoy the unfolding. Even if you get a feeling that this date might not go anywhere (and most first dates don’t), try to enjoy it. You can always think of it as great practice for the next first date. And who knows? If you really relax, you may find it turns out better than you thought! Make good eye contact, use your date’s name (doing so is very validating and shows you are attentive), and never, ever look at your phone!
- Dress for success. It is natural to be a little worried about how to dress. Dressing for date success is not the same as dressing for that important job interview. There is no uniform for this event. Know where you are going so that you can dress appropriately. Also, realize that you wear says a great deal about you. I don’t want to make you more nervous by reminding you of that, but to get you to pause and think. You want to be genuine and convey your true self. Designer labels aren’t necessary to dress in good taste, but you don’t want to adopt the grunge look, either, in order to seem relaxed! Avoid extremes in style and avoid making a fashion statement. First impressions should be about you, not your outfit. If you are unsure about what to wear, a formal-casual to casual attire is a safe bet. While underdressing might not impress, overdressing can make your date truly uncomfortable about his or her appearance. And you can always ask….
- Look natural. Gals don’t overdo your hair and make-up. Fellows don’t overdo the cologne. As with dressing for success and being authentic—the point is, you want to be seen for you. After all it was you, not all the trimmings, your date wanted to go out with.
- Have fun. Even though this may seem like an interview, it isn’t. It’s a date! Enjoy it! Simply have fun meeting new people and experiencing new activities, new ideas, new cuisine, new films, and new music. Being flexible, open minded and excited about meeting new people will ensure a satisfying dating experience.
And the very best way to avoid first date jitters is to keep everything in perspective. This is a first to see if there will be a second, third and more. It is not a life or death situation! First dates should be casual and non-urgent—a meeting to determine whether you want to invest energy in future dates.
As always I’m available to help you find your true love and build a relationship that lasts. Here is my Personal Online Scheduler to get your 30 minute Free strategy session. Let’s get started today!