First dates can be a little terrifying. A certain amount of anxiety is to be expected—it just means you’re excited, and that’s what you want to feel before a date.
But you want the nerves to be manageable, and with the following tools, you’ll be, if not supremely confident, at least feeling pretty good about yourself and in touch with your true strengths!
Crank Up the Music
Put on some music that just makes you feel good. Find songs or bands that make you feel empowered and relaxed.
Why does this work? Music has been shown to be extremely effective in relieving tension. But even more than that, it can sweep you into a different mood. It can get you out of your worrying mind and into your body.
When you’re trying on outfit after outfit, it’s easy to get self-conscious because you’re seeing yourself through the lens of your critical mind. Music, though, seeps into your muscles and has the capacity to get you dancing or moving to the beat. It eases self-consciousness and discomfort by reminding you that you, and you alone, reside in your body.
Dress For You
While we’re on the subject of expressing yourself and feeling good in your body: What you wear is an extension of your body. How you feel is infinitely more powerful than how you look.
Wear something that makes you feel beautiful; wear clothing that’s comfortable (but no sweat pants or yoga pants, please) and lets you express yourself. When you wear something you feel confident in, the attributes that you really want to bring to your date’s attention—your intelligence, your sparkling personality—will shine.
Plan out a few conversation starters or topics beforehand. What do you know about your date that you’re interested in following up on? What subjects do you like discussing?
It can be comforting to know that you’ve got backup plans in your hip pocket in case conversation lags. When you hit an awkward pause, draw on your curiosity—think about gathering information that provides insight into the man in front of you. What is his favorite sports team and why? What goals does he have? How does he spend his weekends?
Whatever you end up talking about, remember that you are in control: Is this guy interesting enough for you? Can he keep up with your quick wit?
Affirm Your Strengths
In the midst of first-date jitters, don’t lose sight of the very real attributes and strengths that make you, you. Maybe you’re insatiably curious; or you will go to any lengths to help a friend in need.
Whatever it is, be proud of it. Practice repeating affirmations to yourself and feel the positive effect they have on your body and mind. Remember to keep repeating those affirmations of yourself when you’re getting ready or driving to your date.
Remember, you are awesome.
Focus on Friendship
Instead of worrying about if this guy is “the one,” think about whether he could be a friend. The best relationships are grounded in friendship, and they are also the ones that last…
We spend a lot of our lives in between activities: getting ready for something, waiting in line, driving back home after a long day out. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a guy who not only knows how to gaze into your eyes over a candlelit dinner table, but also knows how to converse and have fun while waiting an hour for a table? Use your natural curiosity to find out what kind of person your date is in all kinds of situations.
First dates don’t have to be anxiety-ridden and awkward. Remember your tools for keeping yourself calm (say your affirmations, take a few deep breaths, remember what it’s like to be dancing to your favorite song). And relax: It’s not about being the perfect date—it’s about making friends, being yourself, and being curious about your date (What quirks does he have? What does he notice about the people around you while you’re waiting?)
And if it doesn’t work out? Well, at least you spared your best friend the hundredth retelling of how you outran a tiger at the zoo. And you got to try that new cocktail that everyone is talking about.
Most importantly, you are still awesome.