Advice

15 Tips for Easing the First Date Jitters

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I have a little secret, one that I usually try to mask while writing about what to talk about, what to drink, and what to do on a date.

I get really, really, really nervous before first dates. So much so, that I actually dread going on them.

As a dating blogger, this is an awkward thing to admit: I’m obviously very pro-dating, and usually pretty comfortable while I’m on the date itself. But it’s the lead-up that kills me. And it’s something that doesn’t seem to get better.

In the hours before a date, I get restless — I worry about what to wear, I worry about having to be “on,” I worry that he won’t like me, or that I won’t like him (which, in my mind, is somehow worse).

I call my friends and ask them if they think I should cancel. (“Go.” they say.)
I call my mom and ask if maybe I shouldn’t just reschedule for another day. (“Go.” she says.)
I call my friends again and tell them I’m just not feeling well. (“GO!” they scream.)

So I go, and then after the date, when it all went fine, and sometimes even really well, I call them back.

“See? We told you it would be fine,” they say. “Remember that for the next one!”

But I never do.

This is especially weird, because I’ve never actually had a bad date. Sure, I’ve had “eh” dates, and sort of boring dates, but never any real nightmare scenarios. So my pre-date jitters are unexplained.

So!

How do you get over the pre-first date jitters? I sent this question to a bunch of friends, and they had lots of advice:

1. “I passed the pre-date time in my apartment trying on different dresses and sending photos of them to friends to vote on what I should wear, making me feel confident in my outfit.” – Joy Engel

2. “I think it’s best to date three people at once, than you only care 33% if you mess up.” -Carson Griffith

3-5. “If I’m feeling nervous before a first date (which let’s face it, most normal girls ALWAYS do), I’ll do one or all of the following:

Blast feel-good music and dance out the nervous energy in my bedroom. (For me, personally, it’s going to be something along the lines of Joan Jett, the Donnas, or the Dollyrots.)

Drink. Not so much that I’ll smell like booze or be tipsy walking to the date, but a light buzz to take the edge off is advisable for me to blast out some of those nerves.

Have a friend come over while I’m getting ready for the date to pump me full of words of encouragement. If I’m especially nervous, I’d ask the friend to walk with me toward the date location so I don’t have TOO much time alone with my thoughts.”-Madeline Post

6. “I don’t know how brilliant/unique this is, but I always try to tell myself that I’m just meeting a friend, to take all the romantic pressure off. Low expectations! And obvi a glass of wine or a shot before you walk out the door always helps.” -Meredith Ritchie

7. “I recently got involved in a long distance relationship and it seems like every “date” gives me first date jitters since there’s such a gap between them. My trick is to do yoga the morning of the date. Being in the quiet environment relieves stress and being active improves self confidence. It puts me on a positive track and I’m less likely to spend the day worrying that something will go terribly wrong.” -Katherine Garcia

8. “A glass of wine (if I’m not in a rush) or a shot of whiskey (if I am).” -Cary Randolph

9. “Take a nap. If you’re sleeping, you won’t think about being nervous/beauty rest is good. Just don’t do your hair/makeup before you fall asleep because you may wake up with a matted/smudged problem.” -Laura Wasson

10. “Some real talk advice is to go out on a couple of dates you know will be into you, but who you aren’t that into. And then be super nice and relaxed at the date because who cares? It gives you date practice and builds the confidence a bit. I never did this on PURPOSE, per say, but after a string of these I felt super confident about dating. I was like, I AM MAGIC. I justified this to myself by saying that everyone is getting date practice, but probably it just makes me, real talk again, a horrible person. So maybe don’t put this one? Eh, who cares.” -Meredith Haggerty

11. “Schedule a dinner or drinks date for a weeknight, on the later side — say, 8:30 — and go to happy hour with friends or coworkers first. I’m not saying get sloshed, but ONE drink will take the edge off, and your friends will help distract you. Plus, you’ll fool yourself into thinking, “This date can’t be a big deal! I’m not taking it that seriously. I mean, I’m at a BAR first.” -Michelle Dozois

12. “Just suck it up. It’s not the actual date you hate, it’s the idea of going on a first date that probably doesn’t sit well with you. I mean, you like meeting cool people, right? And you like doing cool stuff, right? So there. Once you get there, you have fun.” -Erin Scottberg

13. “Take the time beforehand to think of interesting conversation topics to help eliminate the amount of awkward moments of silence. Also, it helps to talk to the person as if you are just making a new friend instead of thinking of it as a potential romantic interest.” -Caroline Newman

14. “This is what I tell myself sometimes when I hate going on dates: It can’t be more awkward than going on a date with someone you met (made-out with) in a bar. In fact, it’s a lot less awkward.” -Patricia Kiernan

And one from me…

15. Make plans for immediately after the date, thus setting a time cap. It’s easier to face the prospect of a date when you know that no matter what, at x pm, you have to leave and go do something else. If the date goes really well, you’ll look extra forward to the next time. (Remember the Three Hour Rule!)

Helpful, right?

So now we’re putting the question out to you:

How do you guys deal with your first date jitters? Let us know!