The path to finding true love doesn’t come without its challenges, but don’t let first-date nerves hold you back from taking that initial step
A racing heart, clammy hands, and a million and one thoughts rushing around your head – first dates are intimidating things. Whether you’ve met the person before, or this will be the first time that you lay eyes on them, that initial date can come with a whole load of pressure.
But you don’t need to let nerves overshadow your time together. With help from Ayesha Giselle, a life and accountability coach dedicated to helping people develop confidence, we share six tips for dispelling first-date jitters, for good.
1. Be prepared
When the day comes around, you don’t want to be held up worrying over the ‘where’ and ‘when’. “Discuss the details of the date, like where you are going to meet – preferably in a public setting so that you both can feel safe,” Ayesha says. “Confirm the location and time again on the day of the date. Give yourself enough time to travel so you can be on time, and have a few conversational questions to hand so that you won’t be lost for words.” With all the admin out the way, you’ll be in a much better mindset to enjoy the experience.
2. Be yourself
We know, it’s easier said than done when you’re feeling under pressure. But everything comes more naturally when we’re being true to ourselves. “Relax, breathe, and try to take the pressure off yourself,” Ayesha suggests. “Avoid focusing on whether your date likes you, instead divert your focus to enjoying the experience and learning about them. Don’t hide your quirks – they make you unique and interesting.” You don’t need to give everything away at once, it takes time to get to know a person, but by presenting your true self from day one, you’ll be much more likely to know whether your date is a good match.
"Remind yourself of all of the things that make you amazing, likeable, loveable, irresistible, interesting, unique, and fun"
3. Silence your inner critic
Does your mind become flooded with negative self-talk when faced with a new and nerve-wracking experience? It’s a natural thing, but that doesn’t mean we should give in to it. “Give yourself a pep talk and a confidence boost before you head out on your date,” says Ayesha. “Remind yourself of all of the things that make you amazing, likeable, loveable, irresistible, interesting, unique, and fun. Your brain cannot hold two conflicting thoughts at the same time – so, by focusing on the positives, you’ll silence your inner critic.”
4. Be curious
“A good way to be interesting is to be interested,” says Ayesha. “People love to talk about themselves – so ask curious questions. What’s your most treasured memory? What’s your favourite place and why? Who inspires you and what about them is inspiring to you? Asking questions and being interested makes the other person feel valued, listened to, and seen.” If you’ve been chatting to the person before the date, you might have picked up on some topics that they are really interested in. By taking the time to listen, you’ll put your date at ease, leading to a more comfortable overall atmosphere.
5. Take the pressure off
Try to let go on some of the expectations that you might be holding onto. Cultivate an attitude of “everything happens for a reason”, so if things don’t go exactly to plan, you don’t internalise any fault.
“A lot of people take dating too seriously in the beginning stages, have unrealistic expectations, and a need to control the outcome,” Ayesha says. “This puts way too much pressure on the dating experience. Release control and let go of expectation. Allow the date to be light, and flow where it needs to flow.”
Of course, if something doesn’t feel right, or you spot some red flags, make sure to pay attention to those feelings – but don’t let unrealistic expectations get in the way of wonderful, new experiences.
6. Set your intention
“Setting intentions is the act of stating what you intend to accomplish through your actions, while letting go of control,” Ayesha explains. “This will allow you to choose how you show up, how you present yourself – allowing you to focus and be mindful of who you are in the moment.”
Your intention might be to have a calm, relaxing evening, or to make a deep connection. “Setting your intentions can help you to relax, feel confident and self-assured,” Ayesha adds. “And it could make your date feel heard, understood, and valued. Your intentions may be to have fun and go with the flow. Or it could be to just simply enjoy the experience of getting to know someone new.” Whatever your intentions and aims may be, do them with confidence.
To connect with a counsellor or learn more about self-confidence, visit counselling-directory.org.uk