Some things are inevitable. First dates are one of those things. Whether you’re the kind of person who has a go-to first date outfit ready to go, or you’re bombarding your friends with messages asking for advice, we’ve all been through that difficult first stage in getting to know someone new.
With the pressure of trying to act natural while hoping that she likes you and laughs at your jokes, first dates can sometimes feel like an interview. First dates are nerve-wracking, they’re also a great way to meet different people and see what potential you may have with them. In order to stay calm, here are some ways to feel more confident on a first date.
Most of us have an idea of the kind of person that we want to be with. Whether you’re picturing someone who loves foreign movies or someone who likes to spend their weekends outdoors, we feel like we know what our perfect date is like.
This is a great way to recognize your expectations, but it shouldn’t be a determining factor on whether the relationship will work out or not. No matter how sure you are of what your ideal match is like, there’s no guarantee that someone who ticks off everything on your checklist will actually fit with your lifestyle. Go on dates with an open mind, and you might find that traits you’ve never thought about are attractive to you, and be pleasantly surprised by the people you meet.
Prepare For The Conversation
The pressure of maintaining a conversation is probably the main reason that people feel nervous about a first date. This is natural. A big part of the date should (hopefully) be taken up with the conversation. You need to learn about your date and find out about their likes, hobbies, and cares.
No matter how well you feel the date is going, it can be comforting to have some open-ended questions in the back of your mind, ready to go if you hit a dry patch. Don’t memorize a script, but prepare for any silences so you don’t panic if they happen. By doing this, you can make it less likely that conversation will go stale, and increase your confidence.
Be Yourself Without Overthinking It
Whether you’re worried about where you should put your hands, what food you should order, or whether she’s noticed that you didn’t have time to iron your shirt, it can be easy to get caught up in overthinking about things that you’ve never really thought before. Instead of letting yourself spiral and get stressed, take some deep breaths.
Remember that there’s a reason that your date wants to get to know you more, and that has everything to do with who you are and nothing to do with you accidentally knocking your fork off the table when you sat down. Be yourself. Don’t hold back when you talk about things that matter to you. The people who are right for you will appreciate you for who are you.
Be yourself, but the best you. For example, if you’re a funny person, tell jokes, but remember it’s not a stand-up show. If you wear glasses and feel awkward about them, go here for a chic new pair that will make you feel good, but still you.
Don’t Take What Happens Personally
It’s hard to not second-guess yourself during a date when you’re being vulnerable just by showing up for a first date. The thoughts that begin stacking up in your head can range from worrying about whether you’ll get a second date, to worrying about whether you’re going out with the right women.
To explain your date’s actions, or why she doesn’t seem interested after the date, it can be easy to look back at what went wrong and how you could have behaved differently. You fret that make you didn’t laugh at her jokes enough, or that you disagreed with something she said. The more you dwell on things like this, the quicker you’ll fall into blaming yourself.
The trick to avoid falling into these toxic thought patterns, you need to realize that being yourself is enough. You shouldn’t have to change yourself in the hope that your date finds you interesting and attractive. If somebody wants to get to know you, nothing will stop them. If they don’t, nothing you can do differently will make them.
Remember Your Date Is Also Human
While you’re wondering if your date can somehow tell that you were so nervous you had to change your shirt three times, your date is probably worrying about something equally trivial. You’re both nervous and pretending that you aren’t.
When we get so involved in our own thoughts and feelings, it can be easy to forget that other people have very similar experiences. In this case, that’s nerves. By reminding yourself that your date is a human, you can recognize that the date is for both of you to discover if there’s something to explore once the nervousness has passed.
Set Your Intention Before The Date
Rather than thinking only about what you want from the other person, it can help to go into the first date thinking about what you want for yourself. Do you want to have fun getting to know someone new? Do you want a fun night out? Do you want an excuse to try out that new restaurant that just opened? Setting an intention helps to ground you, and gives you something to fall back on if nerves rise. Remember to breathe. What matters is remembering your intention to stay present with yourself.
Write Down Compliments You Receive
Most of us just brush off the compliments we get without giving them a second thought, but by doing this, you’re overlooking a valuable opportunity to boost your confidence and improve your sense of self. The next time someone gives you a compliment, take a moment to absorb it and write it down. By writing down what others say they like about you, you can train yourself to value and remember these thoughts. When you write things down, your brain is triggered to remember them.
Before your date, if you’re having a confidence wobble, look in the mirror and repeat five things that you like about yourself. Use your compliments list for inspiration. Whether you’re proud of your kindness, your nice eyes, or your killer spaghetti carbonara that everyone loves to eat, concentrating on your positive attributes instead of worrying about your insecurities or imperfections will make you feel better instantly.
Confidence is an attractive quality, so find a way that works for you to put your insecurities aside for the evening. If you tell yourself enough times that you’re not funny enough, smart enough, or good-looking enough, then you’re going to believe it, and so will your date. If you need to, think back to a time when you felt powerful and confident, whether at work, at home, or out with friends. Visualize the moment to boost your confidence before a first date.
If Your Get Anxious, Use Your Rational Brain
It can be useful to identify the source of your nerves and look at them from a more distanced perspective. If your nervousness gets intense and starts to get detrimental, for example, if you’re plagued with thoughts about how your date will hate you, or every date you go on ends in disaster, then you need to use rational thought to assess this. Think about dates that didn’t end badly. Take a mental inventory of your positive experiences and interaction that you have had on previous dates so that you can push out the nerves and replace them with more realistic thoughts. This leads to better thoughts, like “It could go well, so I’ll keep and an open mind and enjoy the evening.”
Present Your Best Self
Before a date, you should get the basics rights like choosing a clean, ironed shirt, instead of one crumpled at the back of the closet, even if the crumpled one is more you. In person, it’s worth making the effort to tidy up a bit and choose something nice to wear that flatters you.
You aren’t trying to mislead your date, but you do want to show them the best version of yourself. You shouldn’t go out and buy a whole new outfit based on what you think your date might like, as they might feel a little creeped out if they realize you’ve done this, but it ok to consider their style when you get dressed. A good trick is to take a look at their social media first (if you know it) to get an idea of what they might be like. You can see what they’re into and what kind of style they might go for. You shouldn’t try to change to yourself to be attractive for the other person, but if you notice that they always wear vintage style clothing, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a retro-looking shirt, if you already own one.
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