5 Tips to Reduce First Date Anxiety
Dr. Seth Meyers offers some great options for dealing with pre-date anxiety – one of the most common experiences people encounter as they get back into the dating world! Read his five tips below – I think you will like them.
I can practically hear your frustration through the computer screen: Yes, dating can be stressful! A first date can be stressful because it’s all about the unknown, meaning that you really don’t know what you’re going to get until it’s shaking your hand for the first time. In the days or hours leading up to a first date, your anxiety can eat away at you and put you in the wrong mood to meet someone. After all, the best way to be, as Oprah says, your “best self” is to be relaxed and confident, so check your anxiety before your date. Follow the tips below and you can seriously reduce your first date anxiety and set yourself up to actually enjoy the dating experience.
1. Create a “Needs & Deal Breakers List.”
One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to get organized and to organize your thoughts, in particular. I find there’s no better way to organize your thoughts than to write them down. Focus anxious energy by creating a list that includes the main characteristics or factors you want your future partner to have. Your list may include: “Needs to be employed, needs to ask me questions about myself and show interest in me, needs to have some similar interests.” You should also write a list of your deal breakers, which may include: “No drugs, not into going out a lot to bars, no bad temper.” Everyone’s list will be different, but the important point is to ask yourself what you need in a relationship. When you create a list like the ones included above, you focus more on asking yourself if he is good enough for you, rather than the other way around!
2. Use positive self-talk.
“Self-talk” is a pop psychology term which refers to the running dialogue you have in your head and the things you say to yourself in response to things that happen throughout your day. For example, when something bad happens to you, what do you say to yourself? Is your self-talk positive or negative? You could say to yourself, “You’re such an idiot!” or “You did the best you could.” The goal is to aim for saying positive things to yourself. As you prepare for your date, consciously say nice things to yourself and you’ll find that you feel less anxious about the date ahead. Examples: “I look pretty good” or “I may not be perfect, but I’m a pretty good package overall.” Positive self-talk works, so be disciplined and repeat these kinds of messages to yourself before, during, and after your first date.
3. Focus on the date activity, not who you’re going to meet on the date.
It’s perfectly normal to think about what your new date is going to be like and to hope that the date, if you’re both interested, turns into something solid and long-term. Yet we all know that such happily-ever-after circumstances aren’t always possible. It’s wise to hope that you meet someone you like, but simultaneously prepare yourself for the possibility that the two of you won’t make a good romantic fit. One way to prevent yourself from thinking too much about what he’ll be like when you meet him is to focus more on the activity you’re going to engage in on the date. Think about what kinds of activities you enjoy and what kinds of places you enjoy going, and suggest a couple of them to him as you plan your date. By taking such precautions, you can virtually guarantee that you won’t have a bad time because you’ll be doing something or going somewhere you love.
4. Vent to your best friend.
Friends can act as great supports when you’re vulnerable or anxious. If you’re anxious and feel like your head is spinning, call a friend and say “I need a five-minute pep talk.” Take a few minutes and vent about how you’re feeling, which might include joke-screaming, “I hate dating!” If you give yourself a space to vent your negative feelings, you’re more likely to be able to bounce back a few minutes later, focus, and remind yourself that dating can be fun and enjoyable if you can keep things in perspective and not put too much pressure on yourself to find The One as soon as possible!
5. 10-Minute Workout.
The mind is often overactive with pre-date jitters. By working out beforehand, you get your body activated, too, so that all that restless energy isn’t trapped inside your head. High-impact exercise (running, a dance class) is terrific, but more Zen-like folks can opt for a quick yoga or meditation stint before getting ready for the big date. Getting your body balanced is a big part of feeling mentally balanced on your date. If you can discipline yourself to work out for a half-hour or longer, that’s terrific; if not, shoot for at least ten minutes.
Overall, there are many ways that you can reduce first date anxiety. Containing your anxiety is important because people are most authentic and attractive when they’re relaxed. Try some or all of these tips the next time you prepare for a first date and you’ll feel more confident and relaxed as a result!
Learn more about Dr. Seth and his book, Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Find the Love You Deserve .
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