I don't know about you guys, but as a generally nervous person all around, first dates used to seem like the absolute worst for me. What if I fell on my face? What if I farted? God forbid, what if my mom showed up out of nowhere with all of my old dance recital DVDs? But I think the hypothetical that plagued me the most when I'd go on first dates (which should never plague me ever again) was, "What if this person doesn't like me?" Of course, with added age, wisdom, and a general lack of cares left to give about what other people think of me, getting rid of nerves on a date got a little easier to do. (But that doesn't mean they've gone away completely.)
On Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, Elite Daily and Tinder partnered up to host the first of the #TinderSparked dinner series. At the dinner, a group of strong, badass women came together to discuss what it's like to be a woman in the modern dating world. And even though we're all empowered rockstars who have the power to take back control over our dating lives, we all still get nervous sometimes. Come on! We're human! I'm an embarrassing person! I still get nervous around my girlfriend who has seen the actual worst of me! But thankfully, we've all also learned how to combat those nerves in the moment and channel all that energy into making that first date as positive and fun as it can be.
1. Breathe And Give Yourself A Pep Talk
When you're in the throes of extreme nerves, it's so, so easy to retreat back into your mind and fall into a rabbit hole of worrying, which can easily sour what could've been a solid first date. In those situations, it's important to take a minute to "just breathe and be in the moment," according to comedian Sam Jones.
Once you get control of your breathing, if you still feel a little overwhelmed, try giving yourself a quick pep talk in your head. "I do a talk to myself in the mirror to be like, 'You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re funny, you’re kind,'" says Jones. After reminding yourself that your rockin' presence alone is a gift to your date, you'll be able to focus less on the hypothetical embarrassing scenarios running through your head, and more on whether or not you sense date number two on the horizon.
2. Focus Your Energy On The Other Person, Rather Than Yourself
What some people may not realize about grappling with nerves on a first date is that, in those moments, you're focusing solely on yourself. "What am I doing wrong? How am I being embarrassing? What if they don't like me?" So instead of channeling all of your nervous energy into yourself, shift it to your date instead.
"I think you have to realize that every person is a gold mine of stories and advice and experiences, and if you think about everything they have to offer, you think a little bit less about what you have to offer," says drag comedienne and writer Miz Cracker. "It takes the pressure off of you, and really, you’re there to get to know them. So if you focus on them more, you’re worrying about yourself less."
3. At The End Of The Day, Remember, Nothing's On The Line For You
Too often, we treat first dates as the be-all, end-all of a potential relationship (and of our self-esteem). If it doesn't go perfectly, we assume that we have failed in some way, or that all hope is lost for the future of our dating lives. (Yeah, slow your roll there, buddy.)
"You don’t really have anything to lose. You’re just meeting that person," says sex educator Eileen Kelly. "Not everyone’s going like you, and you’re not going to like everyone else... You go and you have your fun time with them, and then, you leave and you never have to see them again if you don’t want to."
You'll get a sense of the vibe between you and your date as the night goes on. If you seem to be connecting, then eventually, your nerves will start to subside. And if things seem more awkward than anything, and you've tried all you can do, then rest assured that this can be the last time you see this person if you want it to be.
The truth is, you, as you are, should be enough for someone. So understand that if your date doesn't end up worshipping the ground you walk on (rude), you haven't lost anything. You're still a badass babe, and when the right person comes along, those stomach-clenching nerves will turn into welcomed butterflies.
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