It’s a classically nerve-wracking scenario, but with the right preparation you can cultivate a sense of confidence for your budding romance
Every love story has to start somewhere, but the first steps into a new relationship aren’t always easy to navigate. With a hundred and one things running through your mind, you can quickly become overwhelmed, and lose your cool.
Here, with the help of life coach, body language expert, and psychodynamic specialist Nas Brown, we’ve gathered together six powerful tips to help you feel confident on a first date.
1. Be prepared
“Have a plan,” Nas says. “It’s not enough to be confident in yourself and your abilities; you need to be able to articulate them as well.”
What do you want them to know about you? What are the key things that make you who you are, and how might you be able to express that to them? Nas also suggests thinking about exactly what you want out of this date. For example, if this is the first time you’re meeting, do you want to get to know this person better? Perhaps you want to establish whether you have common ground, and share the same values. Maybe you are looking to figure out whether this is someone you would like to pursue a long-term connection with. Whatever it is, spend some time before the date thinking about what questions you might want to ask in order to get the most out of your time together.
2. Make a good first impression
Studies have found time and again just how important that first impression is for the success of any kind of relationship. That said, don’t go overthinking it. As Nas suggests, start with the absolute basics: wear clean clothes, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and make sure that you look neat. Once that’s sorted, make sure you’re polite to everyone you encounter – that means your date, but also any service workers or anyone else you interact with throughout.
“Smile!” Nas says. “Smiles go a long way towards making people feel comfortable around us, which helps us feel better about ourselves, too.
“You don’t have to be someone else or pretend to be something that you’re not. Be yourself. Don’t try too hard to impress your date, it will come across as contrived, which can make them feel uncomfortable around you.”
3. Wear something that makes you feel fantastic
“First dates are a time to show your best self and make a good impression. This means that you should dress appropriately for the occasion and be yourself – it’s not about impressing anyone else but yourself!” Nas explains.
She recommends wearing something that makes you feel attractive, as well as what you’re most comfortable in. If style is important to you, this may be the time to experiment with expressing yourself. If not, stick to some key rules: choose something that fits well, feels comfortable, is neat, and suits the setting.
4. Be mindful of alcohol
“Alcohol is a depressant. It can make you act differently, say things that are not true to yourself, and do things that would normally be out of character for you,” Nas cautions.
For some people, reaching for a drink when the nerves kick in is almost instinctual. And while there’s a healthy way to consume alcohol, if there’s a chance things could go south, it’s a good idea to establish boundaries for yourself.
You may want to set yourself a limit before you’re even on the date and then, once you’ve met this threshold, switch to soft drinks or water. Alcohol-free versions of drinks, as well as delicious mocktails, are also now fairly common, and can be a great option for a date.
5. Be an active listener
“Ask open-ended questions that invite the other person to share more than just yes or no information,” Nas suggests. “For instance: ‘What was your favourite part of growing up?’, ‘What do you want out of life?’, or ‘What makes you happy?’
“Ask follow-up questions, if necessary, so that you can clarify what they’ve said before moving on to another question (and then another). For example, if someone says ‘I was very shy as a kid,’ don’t just take this at face value, ask them how they overcame their shyness once they were older. That way, both parties will have an opportunity for deeper conversation without either one feeling like they need to put on airs when talking about themselves or their past experiences.”
When we’re able to make the other person feel heard and comfortable, it’s a lot easier for us to relax. And the more relaxed you are, the more confident you’ll feel, and the better the date will go. Remember, a first date isn’t about one person coming away feeling impressed, it’s about two people connecting. So, breathe, be present, and let it flow.
For more information about life coaching, visit Life Coach Directory.