Dating Anxiety. Is anyone immune? Not me, that’s for sure. Even though I’m a fairly confident person who always goes in with a positive attitude, I always find my heart beating, my hands shaking, and sometimes even forgetting things I’d said to my date online. Okay, maybe you don’t experience these kinds of nervous reactions to first dates, but most of us can name at least one symptom of anxiety that creeps in when we have to meet someone for the first time.
Through my own trial and error and the guidance of several friends who have more years of online dating experience, I’ve come to quash many of these nasty nerves. Here are tips and strategies that helped me.
Whenever I have anything to do that I know will make me anxious (dates, interviews, public speaking) I go to the gym beforehand. It makes me feel good both physically and mentally. If you don’t belong to a gym, try an online video. Any type of physical movement will help – yoga, pilates, aerobics.
This may sound hocus pocus to some, but visualizing how your date will go can help reduce your anxiety. I like to close my eyes and imagine the scenario as positively as possible. Sometimes I even talk aloud some of the imagined conversation.
3. No Expectations
Even with visualization exercises, I try to go in without having any expectations. This strategy is great for many things in life. When you don’t expect anything, even the smallest “wins” will seem gratifying. So maybe you don’t get a second date, but you learned something from the experience.
4. Friendly Talk Down
Often the anxiety of first dates will hit its peak shortly before you need to leave the house. If this happens, call a good friend and tell them you need a talk down. Just hearing a close friend’s voice can help. They will remind you how great you are and that it’s only a first date… no biggie, right?
5. Plan for Familiarity
When you plan the date (most women like men to take this initiative) of course, take her interests into account, but you can also choose something or somewhere that is familiar and comfortable to you (e.g. your favorite park, your bowling hangout, or a restaurant you frequent).
Remember: It’s okay to be anxious because it means you actually care. And it’s okay to tell your first date that you were a little anxious meeting them, just don’t dwell on it.