"Is this outfit even cute? Do I mention that I found their sister's Insta and I know that she just had twins? Wait, who is going to pay? Do I offer to pay? What if the place is cash only? Should I Google if the place is cash only? If the place is cash only, are heels too much?" If your pre-date inner monologue runs longer than a Shakespearean drama, you may be wondering how to exude confidence on dates. Everybody knows that dating can be totally nerve-racking. And sometimes, you gotta act like you own the place (to make yourself feel comfortable leaving your house for the place).
"Confidence is imperative because it helps you find partners who are good fits for you, not for someone you are pretending to be or they are hoping you are," Trish Blackwell, confidence coach and founder of the College of Confidence tells Elite Daily. "Confidence gives you an attractive edge, which is always helpful in dating because it means that you know who you are and what you want."
1. Give Yourself Time To Get Ready
Pre-date nerves are enough to rock anyone's confidence. But, according to Blackwell, cutting out some time in your day for yourself can help you waltz into your date feelin' fine.
"It's OK to be nervous for a date, that's normal and not a sign that your confidence is shaky," Blackwell says. "Translate your nerves into 'excitement' and you'll give yourself a confidence advantage."
For a pre-date boost, Blackwell suggests making time for self-care and giving yourself plenty of time to get ready. Try listening to your favorite pump-up playlist, or even an inspiring podcast like Blackwell's The Confidence Podcast. "Don't be afraid to spend five minutes stretching, doing some deep, mindful breaths, and speaking out loud affirmations," Blackwell says.
2. Wear Something That Feels Good
There's nothing worse than sitting down on a date and realizing your pants are too tight or your shirt makes you feel weird about your arms. According to Blackwell, wearing something that feels comfortable can help you enter the date feelin' yourself.
"First impressions are often formed based on the expression of confidence, so if you want to exude confidence on a date, carry yourself with a confident posture," Blackwell says. "There are many ways to do this, but a few are to wear clothes that you love and that, most importantly, make you feel good."
I'll be honest and say that sometimes, you have to fake it till' you make it. Whether you have to pretend you're in ballet class to remember to stand up straight as you walk into the bar or you put on some extra highlighter and try to channel Lizzo, outwardly expressing confidence can be the first step towards truly feeling it.
3. Try To Relax Your Body
I get it — dates can totally make you tense. However, if you and your date are both acting like big balls of nerves, you'll probably leave the date with a pinched nerve in your neck. Although it can feel scary, Blackwell suggests trying to relax your body, to keep your body language open.
"Lead with a smile and keep your body language open. An open body — that is, one with good posture and open palms (vs hunched shoulders, and crossed arms and legs) — is inviting and conveys a sense of personal confidence," Blackwell says.
If you are open and inviting (read: If you are appearing as though you are open and inviting), your date will feel totally settled in your company. Smiling and keeping your body calm can make space for your date to do the same.
4. Put The Attention On Them
Confident people aren't afraid to start the conversation. If you're trying to exude confidence, Blackwell suggests asking your date creative questions about where they grew up or what they like to do for fun.
"You can skillfully navigate and lead a confident conversation by engaging your date with your full attention," Blackwell says. "The more you can make someone feel heard and understood, the more they will feel drawn to you and connected to you, which inevitably will make you feel confident."
If you're super shy, asking your date questions can be a great way to put the attention on them, while still looking like a total boss. If you're feeling nervous about what to ask them, try thinking of some questions beforehand or chatting with your friends for some pre-date inspiration.
5. Remember To Be Yourself
If you're eying the bacon and blue cheese burger but are feeling pressured to order a salad, or you're super passionate about being vegan but are worried about telling your date, Blackwell shares that the key to exuding confidence on a date is being yourself.
"Confidence is the state of knowing oneself well and being able to be congruent with that, regardless of the circumstances or people around us," Blackwell says. "In other words, it's knowing how to be yourself in a world that tells you to be anything but that."
Whether you laugh really loudly or love to wear sheer tops (@me), you don't need to change who you are in hopes of impressing someone else. The right person will be totally into you because you're you.
6. Don't Overthink It
Although you may be tempted to lie awake in your bed replaying the moment you pronounced "Parmesan" wrong, Blackwell shares the key to ending a date with confidence is not to overthink it.
"Call a close friend and do a quick recap," Blackwell says. "Then, take your journal or your notepad on your phone, and jot down a few things you learned about yourself from the date and from your conversation." If your date was a raging success, noting that may be a cute reminder down the line.
Even if your date was a total dud, Blackwell shares that you can still see it as a learning moment. "If you are always looking to learn from social interactions, then you'll always be growing," Blackwell says. "And, if you are always growing, you can always feel confident, because confidence is about progress and development, not about perfection."
7. Laugh It Off
If your date really heated up, you may end the night, ahem, a little busy. Of course, if you felt a spark and you're excited to see them again, but you called it an early night, Blackwell shares that ending your evening with something fun and relaxing could do the trick.
"No matter how the date goes, to feel great, pop on your favorite chill Netflix comedy and let yourself finish out the night with some good laughs," Blackwell says.
If your date was during the day, considering going to see a movie or make dinner plans with a friend after. Unwinding in a way that makes you feel good can keep your confidence sky high.
From pumping yourself up to wearing clothes you feel good in, there are tons of ways to exude confidence on a date. Although being yourself is the most important thing, sometimes brainstorming questions or listening to a motivational podcast before grabbing drinks with a new cutie can help you be the best you can be.