Going on a first date is stressful. Whether you’ve known your date since you were five years old swimming in the pop-up pool in your backyard or you have never met them before, simply the idea of a first date is enough to queue the butterflies in our stomachs.
But, there is an entire spectrum of dating anxiety that ranges from clammy hands to panic-attack level dating anxiety that can actually prevent you from showing up at the date at all. Wherever your dating anxieties fall on this spectrum, know you are not alone and there are ways to help ease that anxiety.
So, without further ado, here are some ideas to help cope with those “first date nerves,” and get ready for your next first date.
1. Plan It Out
One way to help ease some of that first-date nervous energy is to go through this planning process. Maybe plan to meet at a coffee shop or restaurant you are familiar with so that you don’t have to worry about navigating to a new place. Maybe for you, that means having a good friend in the know who can be easily contacted if you are feeling uncomfortable.
Or maybe for you, this process of planning it out consists of planning out everything — from the location to the outfit you’re wearing — just so that when the time comes for the date you don’t have to worry about making those decisions at the moment and you can focus on the activity and the other person.
2. Try a Short Meditation Session
Trying to engage in mindfulness practices can help us to get out of our heads and focus on our bodies instead — which can help to alleviate some of our nervous energy.
So if you are feeling nervous about your date, try doing a body scan. This exercise has you mentally scan each part of your body from head to toe and allow yourself to be aware of any sensations that you are experiencing. Doing this is a great way to acknowledge what you are feeling and allow yourself to move past it.
3. Opt for Comfort
Rather than choosing a restaurant or location that may be new to you or an activity that you aren’t comfortable with, opt for something in your comfort zone for your first date. Maybe for you, that means grabbing a cup of coffee or going for a walk in a park you like to go to rather than going on a dinner date or trying rollerblading for the first time.
Picking a familiar location or activity can not only help to ease some of your nerves by making you feel more comfortable, but it can also help your date to get a better sense of who you are and what you like.
4. Go for a Walk
We’re all familiar with the feeling of needing to get some fresh air, and what better way to get some air than go for a short walk? Research shows that something as easy as a 10-minute brisk walk can work wonders in improving your mood.
So, if you’re feeling anxious about your upcoming date, put on your shoes, grab your keys, and head out for a little stroll for a few minutes.
5. Write Down Your Thoughts
Taking just a few minutes to write down your thoughts and feelings can not only help you to release some of the anxious energy in your body but also help you to understand your feelings more clearly.
Whether you want to keep a journal that you can write your thoughts in or you just want to use the notes app on your phone, the important thing is to just take the time to write out the thoughts that are swirling around in your mind. This can help you to acknowledge these thoughts and move on from them as you get ready for your date.
6. Be Honest
There is nothing wrong with telling your date that you are feeling nervous — chances are, your date is just as nervous as you are. This simple statement can help both you and your date relax and even clear the air for a more honest and authentic conversation.
7. Remember, You Are Not Alone
Sure, there are probably some people who love first dates, but for many of us, they can bring more feelings of nervousness than excitement.
Sometimes even the knowledge that you are not alone in feeling nervous can help to alleviate some of that uncomfortable energy. Maybe for you that means simply reminding yourself mentally that you are not alone or, as we mentioned above, letting your date know that you’re feeling a little nervous. However you do it, taking a moment to acknowledge your feelings and understand that it is natural to feel some anxiety about a first date can help to ease the nerves.
8. Try Talking to a Therapist
First dates can be incredibly intimidating — especially if you haven’t been on one in a while (or it is your first date). While some lower levels of anxiety, like sweaty hands or stomach butterflies, can be dramatically helped by the other points mentioned above, people who experience extreme dating anxiety may need to consider seeing a professional for more personal guidance.
If you are experiencing panic attack levels of anxiety about going on a date, it would be a good idea to begin considering going to a therapist. No first date is worth putting yourself through a panic attack, and speaking to a therapist can help you to address the underlying concerns that may be causing this reaction to dating. So, if you find yourself becoming extremely anxious at even the mention of a first date or you’d simply like some additional and personal guidance through your dating anxieties, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow. We are here to help and happy to hear from you, whether that is to schedule an appointment or simply ask a question or two!