First dates can be excruciating to your nerves. You want to make a good impression – no, a great impression, so that this person will see everything that is fabulous about you and call you the next day for a second date.
This could be “the one” after all, and too many times our nerves get to us and cause us to do some, well, less than attractive things.
I’ve listed the top 4, in no particular order, and some solutions that can help you overcome the nerves and just be you… calm & confident.
Nervous Habit #1: Eating.
Believe it or not, this is one of the most common signs of nervousness. Picture it: you’re sitting there with a fantastic person across from you… it gets quiet for a moment… nothing brilliant comes to mind to break the silence with, so you reach for a roll and comment on the restaurant’s atmosphere.
Reaching for a roll isn’t the problem… but if you’re not careful, you’ll find that your mouth is constantly full of food.
Just take a deep breath, and be okay with silence. Look at what’s on the table in front of you and make a quick decision to eat only what is appropriate. Then pace yourself. The key is to not allow yourself to get so uncomfortable that you reach out for food.
Some people tend to eat because they are uncomfortable with attention, and they focus on the food in an attempt to draw attention away from themselves. In this case, just relax and enjoy the attention. If it’s creepy, just end the date earlier than normal and you won’t have to see that person again. There’s no sense going home with a disappointing date AND a few extra pounds of food!
Nervous Habit #2: Talking - or NOT talking.
This is perhaps the most damaging sign of nervousness, because it can really affect the way a new person thinks about your personality.
If you are someone who seems to go quiet and blank when you are nervous, then you might want to rehearse your date. You might feel silly doing it, but if you visualize over and over again asking specific and interesting questions, or bringing up unique conversations that fit your personality and interests, it won’t be very difficult at all to get those conversations started. And soon enough, you’ll be comfortable with this person and will not have to visualize the conversations in advance.
If you’re someone who seems to talk fast and incessantly when you’re nervous, you’re going to have to also do some prep work. Wear a piece of jewelry that will remind you to listen to yourself speak. Anything that is slightly intrusive on your awareness level will work great.
Throughout the evening, as you notice that piece of jewelry, notice how long you’ve been talking. If you’ve been rambling for a while, smoothly close your thought out before asking a question.
So, for example, if you are going on and on about your friends and how you met them, you might catch yourself and then say something like, “so as you can see, my friends are a big part of my life. Tell me a little about your friends.”
This gives your date the opportunity to speak, and once they begin speaking, remind yourself to just listen. When you hear a phrase that triggers a response, force yourself to only smile and nod for a little while, to give them a chance to speak.
And laugh. A lot! Laughter is key to easing nerves.
Nervous Habit #3: Fidgeting and body movements.
We’ve all done it, and we’ve definitely all seen it. You know, that whole bopping of the leg thing, or drumming of fingers on the table top, or my personal favorite, the knee shake.
There is nothing more distracting than a body part moving compulsively when you’re trying to have a good conversation to get to know someone better. And this one is perhaps the most difficult to avoid, usually because we do these body movements so subconsciously.
So my best advice here is just to be aware of your body. Be aware of your legs, your feet, your hands, your face. If you feel yourself starting to compensate for nerves by moving or fidgeting, just force yourself to stop and focus on the conversation.
Nervous Habit #4: Drinking.
Do you hear that? It’s an obnoxious laugh from across the room – probably someone who had a few too many drinks. Do NOT let yourself become that person on the first date. Please, I beg you.
Have a drink or two, and enjoy them. But the worst thing you can do to calm yourself down when you’re nervous is to drink too much too fast. The next thing you know, you’ll be laughing at every statement the other person makes, bragging about your past love life, getting topless or vomiting. Yikes.
If you’re going to get topless on the first date, you want to do so with a controlled mind and a true desire to connect physically… not because you had five tequila shots and are now dancing on the bar.
The bottom line throughout this list has been confidence. Know who you are, love who you are, and don’t get hung up on whether or not the person you’re sitting across from approves of you or wants to see you again.
If it’s right, it’s going to be amazing and you’ll love to see each other again. If it’s not a good fit, it’s okay. You’re fabulous, and the more you reinforce that to yourself the less you’ll have to deal with nerves on a first date.