Many of us have anxiety when it comes to first dates. After all, you’re expected to make a good impression in front of a total stranger. But what happens if you say the wrong thing, or there’s a pause in the conversation? Or what if you’re not feeling so attractive or desirable? These things can affect the date itself, and how you feel about the person you’re meeting.
You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. But it’s also important to approach it with a sense of humor and non-attachment, so that your anxiety doesn't take over.
Like with job interviews, sometimes first dates just take a little practice. They are a way to see if you have a connection – not if you can impress another person so much that they’ll fall instantly in love with you.
The mistake many of us make is that we think there should be instant chemistry on a first date, so it makes the pressure to create the chemistry even greater. But chemistry can take time to build, and often happens only when we show our vulnerabilities, when we decide to be honest in the moment and share our truth. That allows your date to open up more to you, too.
Following are some tips to help take the pressure off of first dates – and hopefully create an environment for connection:
Pick a location where you can feel comfortable. Instead of going for the latest trendy bar, or an expensive foodie experience, think of where you like to spend time. Is it at a museum, or low-key cafe, or at the brew house down the street? Pick a place that is enjoyable for you – it helps ease an already pressure-filled situation.
Pick an activity instead of a coffee date. Sometimes even the idea of sitting across from a stranger and trying to come up with witty conversation is just too daunting. Instead of putting yourself through that, take the pressure off by engaging in an activity. Go for a hike, or bike ride, or outdoor concert. Whatever you decide, it will provide you with something to talk about and ease the pressure to impress.
Invest some time – don’t date back to back. Some people life to be efficient and schedule dates back to back in blocks of "free" time. But this can create anxiety as well – and you never really enjoy each date because you’re looking at the clock. With a good date, you are totally in the moment. So don’t overschedule – or you set yourself up for failure.
Choose an outfit that makes you happy. Uncomfortable heels aren’t a requirement on a first date. If you love your Converse, dress them up with a flirty summer dress. Don’t be afraid to show off your style, and try to wear something you’ve worn before. If you feel good and comfortable in what you wear (and not constantly pulling up your bra straps, for instance), then you are more relaxed on the date.