Hey Guys, it’s Emyli here, America’s Dating Coach for Men. I’m excited to talk to you on something that affects almost everyone across the board—feeling nervous on a first (or second, or third) date. As normal as it is to feel those first date jitters, it’s important to try and figure out your best coping methods for learning how to not be nervous on a date.
If you’re one of the many that suffers from dating anxiety, the first thing you should know is that you’re not alone! Feeling nervous is completely normal. Unfortunately, anxiety can wreak havoc on your chances that she gets to know the real you, and can leave you feeling inauthentic on your date with her.
Luckily, there are many ways to help ease your anxiety and calm your nerves so that you can be your best self. Read on to learn some helpful strategies designed to help you relax and have a great time getting to know someone new in your life.
Step One: Assess Your Anxiety
What kind of anxiety do you have? Is this normal for you, or something you don’t usually experience in other situations? Does it go away after a few minutes of conversation, or does it linger on and on even after the date is over? Are you hopeful that you can learn how to not be nervous on a date, or does this seem impossible to you? Where is your anxiety coming from?
I know, I know–those are a lot of questions. But it’s worth it to figure out what is really going on, and why you’re anxious in the first place.
First things first, let’s analyze your anxiety. If your anxiety is barely there or even nonexistent, congratulations! You’re one of the lucky few that thrive on human interaction and meeting new people. Let’s be honest here, most of us are not social butterflies—and those of us who are, while they might seem like lucky ducks, might face other challenges when getting to know people.
If your anxiety is more than just a fleeting feeling, and it’s something you struggle with on a daily basis, you might have something more serious to contend with. If you’re constantly battling anxious feelings, having panic attacks or worse, this is something that you will definitely want to look into if you haven’t already.
Everyone has anxiety at some point in their lives, but to be fair, not all of us suffer from it to the same degree. Many people suffer from the crippling kind, and if this is you, you owe it to yourself to see a medical professional or therapist immediately. Undiagnosed anxiety disorders are no joke, and you can enhance the quality of your life dramatically by getting the proper treatment for it.
As I mentioned earlier, way on the other side of the spectrum are the social butterflies, the confident and charismatic types that seem to thrive on human interaction. Clearly, I’m not talking to those people, but we can learn a bit from them and how they interact with others to make things easier for ourselves.
If your social anxiety falls somewhere between those two points, you’re like most people. Going back to feeling anxious, if the nervousness you feel is more intense, but within the “normal” range, I’m talking to you. People with a normal range of date anxiety, whether it’s on the higher or lower end of the spectrum, are dealing with the body’s natural chemical reaction that happens when it’s being challenged, and it’s perfectly normal to feel this way.
Step Two: Understand Why You’re Nervous
It might be helpful to assess where your nervousness is coming from. If you’ve been on many dates recently and suffered rejection each time, your confidence will probably be affected. If you’re feeling nervous because it’s been a long time since you tried dating, you’ll want to acknowledge this as well.
Another common reason for guys to feel heightened anxiety on a first date is after a breakup, especially if they’re not over it completely. And then, there are those of us that are just natural born introverts, that have social anxiety issues in most social situations.
If you’re feeling nervous and wondering how to not be nervous on your next date, I’m glad you’re here. In this article, you’ll be able to discover some very useful tactics to use to your advantage before your date begins.
Feeling uneasy? Don’t worry. Read on to find out how to not feel nervous on a date, so that you can achieve dating success in your love life.
Step Three: Look (and Feel) Your Best
Now that you’ve gotten the why and the how straightened out, it’s time to focus on concrete ways that you can feel more confident.
As shallow and superficial as it may seem, we all want to look our best. Feeling confident about your appearance can do wonders to ease your anxiety. This is perhaps the easiest step on how to not feel nervous on a date, and it’s likely something you’re already doing on your own.
If it’s not, then by all means, do whatever you can to make sure your personal grooming is on point. Shave and get a fresh haircut. Go shopping and find something that feels comfortable and looks great on you, and maybe even look into buying a new cologne, too. Then hit the gym and do as much cardio as you can, or go for a long run. Getting a good workout in will make you feel more fit and attractive than ever, even if it’s your first time exercising in a while.
The key to how to not feel nervous on a date is to boost your confidence. Looking great might not completely ease your anxiety, but it will probably help a lot.
Step Four: Meditate
If you just read the word “meditate” and rolled your eyes—trust me, I know how it sounds. But have you ever tried it?
Many people swear by meditation. They say it’s the fastest and most effective way to reach into the core of your soul and eliminate (or at least drastically reduce) anxiety and enhance your general sense of well-being. Best of all, with the internet and online streaming services, it’s easier than ever to find a good guided meditation that will help you how to not be nervous on a date.
Best of all, you don’t have to be a yogi master to do it. All you need to do is turn off your phone, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, grab a pair of headphones, and get on YouTube. Search for “guided meditations for anxiety” and click on a video you like.
There are guided meditations for just about everything under the sun—anxiety, nervousness, getting over a relationship, improving your confidence, and so much more. They can last anywhere from a quick five minutes to over an hour, and are surprisingly effective.
Try to find a guided meditation for anxiety between fifteen minutes and forty-five minutes long, with plenty of views and upvotes, and make sure you’re using headphones for the best outcome possible. Relax and lay down on your bed, close your eyes, and just listen. You might even fall asleep. Don’t worry, your brain is still processing the messages that you’re listening to, even if you’re not aware of it—or so they say. Then, take note of how you feel. You should finish the session feeling refreshed, confident, and eager for your date to start, and who would say no to that?
Or, you’ll feel it was a giant waste of time. But honestly, what do you have to lose? Guided meditations work for many people suffering from anxiety, even the crippling kind. Why not see if they’ll work for you, too?
Step Five: Plan Topics of Conversation Ahead of Time
Silence is golden, except when it comes to first dates. Everyone is afraid of those long, awkward pauses where nobody can think of what to say, and these moments can lead to some pretty uncomfortable moments and terrible anxiety.
A great way to avoid this and how to not feel nervous on a date is to plan. Just like with anything else, a little preparation goes a long way. Get out a notebook and jot down conversation starters—they could be questions that you want to ask her, stories you want to share that reveal a bit about you, or anecdotes about things you both share in common.
For example, if you both love football, tell her about your favorite team and why you’re a fan. Then ask her about her team, and focus on follow-up questions to that. When did you become a fan? Did you play a sport in high school? Pay attention to tags in the conversation—by this, I mean important comments that could lead to other, deeper topics—and make sure to “pull” on them to get a really good conversation going.
While it’s good to share things about yourself, try to keep the focus on her for at least half of the conversation. You don’t want to come across as narcissistic or self-absorbed, and sharing too much about you could backfire—even if they’re just carefully planned talking points you came up with to avoid anxiety.
For more great tips on how to make conversation with her on your first dates, take a look at this article on how to make conversation on a first date. For helpful ideas on what to talk about and how to break the ice on a first date, go here and here.
Step Six: Talk to a Good Friend or a Dating Coach
If you’re still feeling nervous about your upcoming date, communication will help you get rid of the tension and relax. If you have a good friend you can confide in, someone that gives great advice and is there for you when you need a shoulder to lean on, don’t hesitate to call him or her up and tell them how you’re feeling. Chances are, your friend will be able to give you some insight into your personality and habits that are causing you to feel anxious.
If the idea of talking to your buddies about your love life makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re not alone. A lot of guys feel strange talking to other people they know about their relationship issues, or don’t count with trustworthy friends for decent advice. A good relationship or dating coach, whether in person or over Skype or FaceTime can help you overcome your anxiety and enhance your confidence.
Many men rely on professional dating coaches to deal with their anxiety and learn how to not be nervous on a date. They can help you figure out what’s holding you back from feeling confident, discover your bad habits or relationship patterns, and come up with a personalized dating strategy that will enable you to achieve your dating goals, whatever they may be.
Step Seven: Plan the Date at a Familiar Place
There’s truth to the idea of comfort zones, especially on first dates.
During my 100-date experiment, I realized how much location mattered to the guys I was with. In general, men seemed to be much more at-ease and confident in places that they were familiar with. When our date was somewhere they’d never been before, it was more likely for the guy to feel nervous and anxious around me. In those cases, the date was a lot harder to have fun on, and I often left feeling like I didn’t really get to know him as much as I could have.
While I would love to urge guys to step out of their tried and true comfort zones and the same old places that they always hang out in, I understand why they’re comfortable, and I respect that. Although it would be great, theoretically, to explore new places with someone you’re into, such first-date bravery might have to wait until the second or third rendezvous. Knowing your territory can be incredibly beneficial for most guys, and probably goes back to our more primitive days as cave people.
Do yourself a favor and schedule your date in a familiar place, if you can—your morning coffee shop (date 1), your most frequented bar or pub (date 1), your favorite restaurant (date 3). For a second date, and you’re a season ticket holder for a sports team, take her to a game at the home stadium. Your ease and comfort will shine through and translate into confidence, and she’ll be sure to notice.
Step Eight: Pre-Socialize Before the Date
So, the way I see it, you have two choices. You can either sit alone and think about how to not be nervous on a date, or you can distract yourself by doing something else beforehand.
Planning a pre-date socialization session is an awesome anxiety killer. How can you feel nervous about something if you’re not even thinking about it? Go and have a beer with friends (not more than one, by the way—you do not want to show up to your date drunk or smelling like you are), or attend an event in your city that sounds interesting and fun. Grab coffee with your co-workers, or hang out with your buddies from college and play X-Box. Pick something fun to do with people you know (or don’t know) and warm up to your evening out by being social before your dates starts.
For those of you that have trouble finding something social to do, I’ll give you an out. If you can’t possibly find anyone to hang out with, or there’s nothing going on in your city, it’s okay. Just get out of your house. Go run errands, go shopping for groceries, stop by work and straighten your desk. Anything is better than sitting at home staring at the clock—the point is to distract yourself and trick yourself into feeling more social, which is something that is dramatically more difficult to achieve from inside the walls of your house.
Step Nine: Have a Drink (But Only One)
Never underestimate the power of an alcoholic beverage to loosen your nerves and help you unwind. If you’re having major anxiety right before your date starts, try knocking back a drink—but just one, and concentrating on taking deep breaths and easing your anxiety.
They don’t call it liquid courage for nothing, after all. A single beer or whisky on the rocks–whatever your drink is, having just one can have a very calming effect on your body and make you feel much more at ease, and quite possibly take away most of those anxious feelings you’re having. More than one drink, and you run the risk of smelling like alcohol, or worse, being drunk when you meet her–which, trust me, is not a good thing. Most women will not appreciate a guy that shows up drunk on their first date, or even slightly buzzed, so heed my advice and tread carefully here.
Whether you’re taking my earlier advice and hanging out with friends at the bar before your date starts, or sitting at home alone, waiting for the time to leave, or even as you wait for her to show up at the restaurant—go ahead and indulge. The alcohol will help you soothe your mind and calm your body, so that you can feel more authentic and get to know her better.
Once the date starts, you might even want to continue with your second drink. But like I said before, be careful, and take care not to get hammered before or during your date with her. For more tips on how not to wreck your chances on a first date, check out this article in Men’s Health.
Step Ten: Breathe – You’re Not Getting Married!
One of the most important pieces of advice I have when coaching guys on how to not be nervous on a date is quite simple. As important as the evening might feel, and as excited as you may be about hanging out with her, this is just a date. That’s it. No one is getting married, here!
A lot of my clients seem to feel a sense of heightened anxiety when overthinking the date, and blowing it way out of proportion. While it’s good to feel excited about the prospect of meeting your soulmate, or even feeling nervous at the idea of settling down and getting married, those thoughts are completely unnecessary at this point in time. Whether the thought of finding the one excites you or scares you half to death–try not to think about it. Focus on having fun and feeling great about meeting someone new, and releasing any ideas about getting serious with her.
While it may seem like obvious advice, it’s really helpful to stop and let that thought really sink in. During the first few dates, and especially on the first one—all you’re doing is getting to know each other better. And while that might lead into other things down the road, that’s not what the focus is right now. Put yourself back in the here and now, and relax. It’s just a date!
Outlast Anxiety: How to Not Be Nervous on a Date With Her
For most of us, anxiety tends to ease off once the evening gets started. The worst of it begins right before the date starts, and wears off as the conversation starts to flow. Following these helpful steps can do a lot to lessen the tension and create a more genuine environment.
If you need help overcoming your anxiety about your upcoming date, please don’t hesitate to book a new client coaching session with me. While all the tips I gave here are very general, I can give you personalized, professional advice and valuable coaching that will keep you out of the friendzone and get you the girl of your dreams.
And remember, if this date doesn’t work out, it’s okay. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so to speak, and finding another one doesn’t have to be hard. Whether your dating goals are to get rid of dating anxiety, find your soulmate, get married, or leave the pick-up artist scene and create real, lasting relationships with women, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Book your session today and we can start a one-on-one coaching program customized to fulfill your dating needs.