No matter how old you are, first date jitters never really go away. For most of us, we’re able to shake off the nervousness and find our social groove. However, some people have trouble overcoming those jitters during the date and rarely get a shot at date number two which means they perpetually find themselves on first dates in an uncomfortable cycle of dating insecurity.
If that sounds like you, the Kelleher Matchmaking team has some thoughts on connecting with your confidence and discovering a relaxed mindset when it comes to dating and meeting new people.
Recently Matchmakers Cathy Lewis and Kira Crelly matched a pair of clients where the woman reported not feeling chemistry with the gentleman on the first date but felt more of a connection when he called her after their date to thank her for a wonderful evening. She didn't intend on going out with him again until after that call. He showed up nervous and not his best on the date but redeemed himself with a confident voice and conversation over the phone.
This story is a perfect example of how your energy and presence is the critical factor in feeling initial, mutual attraction. Consider these ideas for shaking the first date jitters and becoming a self-assured dating pro. We know you’ve got it in you!
On the day of your date, fit in a nice walk or workout to get the endorphins flowing and to work off the nervous, anticipatory energy. Exercise offers the opportunity to dive into a meditative mindset. Take advantage by remembering a time when you felt most confident and as you swim, stretch, run, walk, row, or bike and sweat visualize that version of you out on the date knocking it out of the park. Remember that feeling and embody the self-assured version of you on the real date later that day.
Overcoming shyness and dating jitters can be as simple as preparing. If you tend to be indecisive when you’re nervous consider prepping some topics of conversation and checking out the website of the bar, restaurant, or venue where you’ll meet your date. Know where you’re going, how long it will take you to get there and scope out a few of the items on the menu that you’d like to try. It can relieve some of the initial self-induced pressure and set you up for success by arriving on time, knowing what you want, and striking up topical conversations with ease.
Choose your favorite high-energy tunes and listen to music as you get ready for your first date. Dress comfortably in your most confidence-inducing clothes. Once you’re all set, power pose in front of your mirror, take in some deep cleansing breaths, smile, and give yourself a last minute pep talk.
We encourage you to discover personal dating rituals and make time to work them into your pre-date routine. They can make a huge difference in the outcome.
When Feeling Insecure and Anxious During the Date
If your confidence is thwarted mid-date, don’t throw in the towel and fall into your insecurity trap. You can get back on track! Don’t let your nerves rob you of a potential match; instead, try this technique while you’re in the thick of it.
First things first, excuse yourself to the restroom. Be sure to observe how you walk away from the table. Your posture might want to wilt with the nervousness and insecurity, so it’s vital to mindfully hold yourself tall with shoulders back and head up looking ahead with a smile on your face. Anxiousness tends to create a shortness of breath. As you walk, mindfully take slow, deliberate breaths.
When you make it to the restroom, it’s time to release the pressure valve. If you have space to yourself maybe do a quick series of Lion’s Breath. If you don’t know what that is a variation is to take deep breaths in through your nose and then exhale through your mouth making a long ‘haaa’ sound like you’re trying to fog up the mirror. This sort of breathing technique is known to reduce stress and anger and relieves body tension during the active and forceful exhalation. Take a few of these deep, cleansing breaths and find your equilibrium.
If you do have the company of strangers in the restroom and are self-conscious, take a few deep breaths in the mirror regardless. It’s a necessity to calm your mind. If the stranger speaks to you or makes eye contact, admit that you’re trying to pull yourself and a struggling date together. Speaking your truth is empowering, and everyone is empathetic to bad dates. You may even get some words of encouragement. If nothing else, you’ll release the doomed thoughts out of your head and can actively regroup with your confident inner-self.
Remember that your most significant responsibility on this date is to showcase your authentic self, not be someone you think your date will like. The pressure is all in your head because if they don’t want the real you then they aren’t your person. No worries! Remind yourself of that and confidently walk back to the table with a clean slate. Remember to smile and make eye contact with your date upon approach.
It’s time to be you - and you are confident, capable, and engaging. Smile while you’re speaking and you can’t help but give off a bright, warm vibe. Ask genuine, open-ended questions around a playful idea or interesting subject and find a conversational rhythm making sure to listen as much as you share. Don’t choose heavy topics or overcompensate and try to fill every bit of silence. If it helps you relax, talk to your date like you’re getting to know a new friend.
Release any expectation and go with the flow of the evening.
Post-Date Follow Through
Nervous daters can overthink post-date communication to the point of paralysis. From our experience as matchmakers, we think not saying anything is worse than saying what you think might be the wrong thing.
If you had a good time let your date know after you’ve made it home safely or thank them for an enjoyable evening early the next day. Keep it simple and warm. If you’d like to see them again, say as much. One thing that feeds insecurity more than anything is the negative self-talk and storytelling. Don’t wonder and assume. Ask and know.
At Kelleher International, we talk through the dating jitters with our clients and coach them through their actions during our post-date call. This activity gives them the opportunity to unpack their feelings around the connection and how they showed up. We help our clients recognize their patterns and provide them with the confidence and support to get out of their own way on the journey to meet their perfect match.
Do you have any tips or pre-date rituals that help you control your dating jitters and show up charismatic and confident? We’d love to hear from you. Share your advice in the comments section below.