10 Tips To Get Rid Of Nerves Before A First Date So You Don't Freak Out
I don’t care how many first dates you've been on; they still have the potential to make you really nervous. This is especially true if you're super attracted to your date. Before you know it, those pre-date butterflies have morphed into Mothra. Thanks to that anxiety, I've made so many first date mistakes, I practically have a Ph.D. in dating fouls. It was because I hadn't figured out how to get my pre-date anxiety under control. All that changed when I finally had a strategy to get rid of nerves before a first date.
If that sounds familiar, good news: You're not alone. “It is completely normal to feel nervous before a first date, and some degree of nerves is actually a good sign, because that means it's something that matters to you and it's a person you might have the potential to care about and connect with,” Lauren Freier, a Chicago-based psychotherapist, tells Elite Daily. “If the stakes were so low that you have no nerves at all, you probably wouldn't be interested in going on the date in the first place,” she adds. “[However,] if your nerves are getting in the way of putting your best self forward, you can absolutely work through that anxiety with helpful tools and support,” says Freier. Here's how the experts say you can help ditch some of those pre-first date jitters and get in the mood, for a more relaxed romance.
1. Claim The Home-Field Advantage
One of the best ways to keep your cool starts right when you begin planning the date. Don’t be afraid to claim home-field advantage by suggesting you go somewhere you already feel comfortable, like a favorite restaurant or bar. “Uncertainty is highly anxiety-provoking, and when you have no idea what to expect with the person you're about to meet, it can be helpful to establish some control over your surroundings,” says Freier. “I often hear of people going to the location a bit early to get acclimated, or even deciding on a familiar neighborhood.” Seriously, venue and activity are half the battle, and going to one you already know can help you set a calming foundation.
2. Hit The Gym For A Pre-Date Workout
Nervous about your date? Rachel Federoff, celebrity matchmaker at LoveAndMatchmaking.com, says there’s nothing like some good old endorphins to turn jitters into confidence. “Going to the gym before your date can be a great way to work out those nerves [and] sweat out the fear. Just make sure you do it early so you have plenty of time to shower and look your best,” Federoff tells Elite Daily. It also doesn't hurt that after a great workout, you'll probably feel relaxed and powerful, which is exactly how you want to feel on your date.
3. Stay Busy Before The Date
One of the best ways to keep anxiety at bay is to keep your mind occupied, Federoff says. “When we are idle our minds tend to go to dark places, and that’s never good for first date jitters," she says. "Just don’t do too much [activity] that when the date comes, you’re exhausted." Instead of dwelling on your pre-date anxiety, spend time picking something to wear, or better yet, have a friend come by to boost your confidence by pumping you up and helping you get ready.
4. Treat Yourself To One Glass Of Wine
When in doubt, pop that cork — but take it easy. “A glass of wine can be OK, just make sure it’s one glass because there’s bound to be more on the date,” says Federoff. “Drinks are fine, just keep it to a minimum."
5. Play Some Hype Music
Want to feel like supreme bossy lady Lizzo on your date? Play some of her music to hype you up beforehand, says Freier. “I am such a fan of a good pump-up jam to get you in the zone. Choose songs that help you feel energized, confident, empowered, and most you!” she suggests. In other words, whatever music gets you hype and makes you feel like a goddess, diva boss kween. Put that on the speakers and turn it up.
6. Take A Deep Breath
OK, this one may sound like a cliché, but it really works. Don’t believe me? Try it right now. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, then breathe out through your mouth for three seconds. Repeat this three or four times and feel the anxiety you probably didn’t even realize you were feeling drain away. Magic.
Also really effective is some pre-date mediation, as Meredith Futernick, licensed mental health counselor and founder of LGBTQCouplesTherapy.com, tells Elite Daily. “The research being done about meditation has shown how effective meditation can be for reducing anxiety," she says. "Using techniques to bring yourself and your thoughts to the present moment before a date can help you to avoid playing out a storyline about the date — that may or may not even happen!”
7. Don’t Dwell On The Anxiety
I recently heard some amazing, life-changing advice. It was so simple, yet so real, it shook me to my anxiety-prone core. (But, like, in a good way.) It was simply “Don’t take it on.” Just don’t! As it turns out, so much of what we freak out and twist ourselves into knots over is, on some level, something we're choosing to take on, but mantras and positive thinking can actually help you let it go. “Mantras, positive affirmations, compassionate self-talk, you name it! These help challenge some of those pesky anxiety-ridden or self-critical thoughts that creep their way in at the most undesirable moments,” suggests Freier.
8. Think Of Your Date As A New Friend You’re Meeting Up With
That hottie you’re about to meet up with? For tonight, they go in the friend zone. “Cognitive restructuring is a great way to lower anxiety,” Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed clinical psychologist, marriage counselor, and host of the Marriage Steps Podcast, tells Elite Daily. Half of the anxiety you’re feeling is self-induced pressure, and the other half is fear of rejection. When you’re spending time with a friend, there’s none of that nonsense. So, decide this is a friend date and let all that that anxiety, fear, and pressure go.
9. Remind Yourself They're Probably Nervous, Too
I mean, of course they are. They’re going out with you. Being empathetic and remembering you're both in this together can help make the date a heck of a lot less scary. “A first date is a two way street. You are interviewing each other, so perhaps you are both nervous!" Emmy Crouter, a psychotherapist at Emboldened Counseling, tells Elite Daily. “Remind yourself too that you really have no idea what someone else is thinking or feeling unless they honestly report it to you," she suggests. "If you struggle with making assumptions, reframe this as 'mind-reading.' Do you really have that skill? Nope.”
10. Choose Not To Be Invested In The Outcome
Here’s the worst-case scenario: You don’t go out with them again. Gasp! It’s not actually that big of a deal. If you’re freaked out about the outcome of the date and you're worried it’s not going to work out, you might be putting way too much emotional labor into what is really just a meet-and-greet. “Remember, you are seeing if this person is a good fit for you, just as much as they are seeing if you are a good fit for them,” says Crouter. “When you set down your expectations and hopes for the future and are just present, you might find that’s when you're the most receptive to a great person.” In other words, instead of worrying about the “what’s next” of it all, just try and be in the moment and enjoy it for what it is.
This post was originally published on 11/21/17, It was updated on 8/23/19. Additional reporting by Rachel Shatto.