You’ve got a date tonight and you’re freaking out. It’s normal. In fact, the person who you have been virtually online dating with the past month, who is going to meet you for the first time too,…is also freaking out. Everyone is freaking out! After all, the two of you met on one of the best free dating sites around and now everything is about to become very, very,…real! You start to get so nervous that you think about backing out. You consider totally canceling. By now, you are totally dreading this date -the date that you eagerly made and were so excited about just yesterday- which now feels like some sort of obligatory chore. So, there you are, a big ball of nerves in shiny shoes. Great. Now that we know what we’re working with- stop. Stop what you’re doing and ask yourself one question: Why do I want to go on this date? If the answer is to be miserable and hate your life – then you might as well get back into bed. If the answer is to live a life that you love with people that make you happy and experiences that challenge you – then keep reading. To clear the cloud of fear and make this whole thing worth it, we are going to give you some tips, tricks, and advice on how to calm down before and during your date so that you can make the most out of your life. Everything is going to be ok. Let’s do this!
How To Calm Your Nerves BEFORE Your Date
1. Get your Heart Racing
Exercise? At a time like this? YES. It’s critical. You’ve got this anxious energy flowing through your body and you have two options for channeling that energy:
Go ahead. Sit on your phone scrolling through Facebook in order to kill time before you need to leave for your date. Overdoing this repetitive, mindless motion is going to trigger stress hormones in your bloodstream, tension in your shoulders, and insecurity in your head.
Go to the gym, take your dog for a walk, or do a relaxing 15 minutes of yoga or stretching. This psychical mindfulness pulls you out of your head and places you back into your body. Moving your body will dissolve the energy that feeds stress while releasing happy chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin. In other words, you’ll be too tired to stress and full of positive vibes.
2. Stand in ‘Power Pose’
At first, it feels silly. Then, it feels amazing. Studies showed that when participants stood in a power pose for just 2 minutes, they reduced stress and anxiety, and their confidence skyrocketed.
- Confidence-Boosting Power Pose: Arms out wide (like Rose on Titanic) with wrists exposed, wide stance of the feet, chin up high, and a smile on your face.
- Anxiety-ridden Insecurity Pose: Arms crossed with wrists hidden, possibly one hand on your neck, back hunched, and head down.
The idea is along the lines of ‘fake it till you make it’ in terms of confidence. You feel confident when you act confident and you feel insecure when you act insecure. Take a quick 20 minutes and listen to this TED talk by Amy Cuddy– it will improve how you handle social situations, dating especially!
3. Pamper Yourself to Look & Feel Good
On a 1st date (or any date for that matter), your self-perception rules your brain. Self-perception feeds self-esteem and self-esteem dictates whether or not you can walk into that date cool as a cucumber or absolutely pissing yourself. The quickest way to boost your self-perception is to do something nice for yourself:
- Get a fresh hair cut or blowout
- Get your nails done
- Buy a new shirt
- Have your friend do your makeup
- Run into the department store and steal a spritz of cologne
Doing something out of your usual grooming routine will leave you feeling like the best version of yourself the whole night through!
4. Watch an Episode of ‘First Dates’
While you’re getting ready for your date, whether doing your makeup, hair, or are slowly getting dressed, watch an episode of ‘First Dates’ on YouTube. Everyone – no matter their appearance, background, or personality – gets nervous. Yet somehow, we think we’re the only ones. By watching a total group of strangers muster up enough courage to go on totally blind dates (on TV, for that matter) gives you a feeling of solidarity and reminds you that you don’t have to be perfect to have a great time and possibly make a great connection.
How to Calm your Nerves DURING Your Date
You might recall in our previous article, ‘First Date Survival Guide’ that we discussed how the first 10 minutes of the date are always the most nerve-wracking. Pre-date anxiety surges right before you walk through the bar or restaurant door and suddenly, you’re face-to-face with the person you’ve been chatting to online. You wonder if you look okay, if they like you, or if you like them…second-guessing and nerves are everywhere. All you have to remember though is just to get through the first 10 minutes and all of that will pass. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t get a bit nervous or lost for words throughout the date. In case you do, here are a few tips to help you along the way:
1. Check your Body Language
We’re back to the power pose – well, sort of. Scan your body and see what it is that you’re hiding. Are your wrists covered, your neck protected, your lips closed tightly? These are all anxiety-producing body stances. When you start to get nervous, follow this confidence-boosting body language checklist:
- Wrists pointed toward the sky
- Feet flat on the ground
- Shoulders back so your chest can open
- Gentle smile on your face and in your eyes
This pose will literally signal to your body, “Hey dude, everything is okay. We are safe.” The stress, fear, and anxiety melt away.
2. Repeat Positive Mantras
Mantras are phrases that we say to ourselves over and over that help us shift from a negative thought-process to a positive thought process. Sometimes, on a date, all we need is a little reassurance from within. Think of some mantras that make you feel at ease and whenever you start to second-guess yourself, slowly repeat the mantras in your head. Need some ideas? Try these out:
- “I’m so happy to be here”
- “People like me”
- “I am friendly and I like people”
- “I’m having a great time”
- “I have enough, I do enough, I am enough”
- “He’d/She’d be lucky to have me”
- And in the rare case of a total panic attack: “Ride the wave”
When it comes to dating, practice makes perfect. We don’t mean, “go out on 5 dates per week”. Rather, we simply mean that with each date and with each opportunity you have to practice these social anxiety calming methods, the easier it will get. Soon, you’ll know what to expect. Soon, you’ll start to really love the ‘date version’ of yourself- that person who is charismatic, charming, and attracts the right kind of people. But, for now – just go on this date. Best-case scenario: you’ll get a second date. Worse-case scenario: you’ll survive!