Dating-Anxiety
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First Date Anxiety Tips

7 Tips to Help Reduce Anxiety on a First Date

At our agency, we have the opportunity to deal with some of the most successful people in the country. Executives and major business leaders seem to have such a firm grip on life. So I’m always amazed when some of them can experience so much anxiety before something as simple as a first date. But when you think about it, it’s completely natural for uncertainty to evoke fight or flight reactions from foreign social interactions.

First-date anxiety is a real thing and is felt by even the most experienced daters. Some (both men and women) occasionally end up even requiring a counselling session with our in-house psychologist or their dating consultant before they head out on their date. So I’ve put together some simple tips to help anyone out there struggling to reduce their first date jitters.

  • Your first date begins long before the moment you meet in person. A little preparation can help you put yourself in the right state of mind for a fun rendezvous. Put together your own routine to prepare yourself for your date. Choose your outfit, have a bath, pour yourself ONE glass of wine, put on some music, call a supportive friend and have a laugh about the fun ahead. If you are genuinely experiencing anxiety, explore proven techniques to help regulate yourself. Breathing techniques are highly effective, perhaps some meditation. But in my experience, a little music and movement can shift the state of your anxiety into excitement and energy.
  • This leads me into my next tip. In my experience as a matchmaker, energy is probably the biggest contributor to the success or lack thereof on a first date. Chemistry cannot thrive in a flat line of energy. Here’s where your ‘anxiety’ can be slightly shifted and become your ally. Studies have shown that the chemicals released into the blood for anxiety and excitement are identical. Some say the only difference is what we call them. Without discounting anxiety as a real thing, a change in state with a quick jog around the block, some music, a dance, a laugh or a glass of wine can make that same energy be used in a positive way. If you need a little more help then perhaps an activity for your date could be on the cards. A shared sport or just a lovely walk could help transfer the nervousness to positive energy. Energy is exciting, spontaneous and sexy. Shift your nervous energy a little into excitement and make it your superpower.
  • The biggest mistake people make before and during their first date is applying too much pressure to some profound result of the date. Your heart doesn’t need to beat out of your chest. Fireworks do not need to explode over your head. You’re simply meeting someone new whom you find attractive and interesting enough to explore things a little further.
  • Stop treating your date like a relationship interview. The pressure is destroying both of you and any chance of chemistry. You don’t need to know if they’ll love your dog, insist on a vegan lifestyle or want 5 children within the first 10 minutes of your meeting. Dating is its own thing and has little to do with relationships. You’re there to have a little fun, maybe a little flirt and allow someone to be intrigued by you enough to want to see you again. That’s it.
  • Stop deciding what you like and what you insist on before you meet someone. After generating thousands of matches over my career, I can tell you that time and time again people’s guidelines, rules and restrictions can quickly fade away when they truly connect. Both of you don’t really know what you like as much as you think you do. Certain preconceptions can quickly fall away for both of you when you discover how much you like the person opposite you.  
  • Have a plan B if things aren’t going the way you want them. A text code with a friend or a simple ‘escape plan’ can provide some extra certainty that means you can relax a little. It’s like the jacket you take with you on a cool evening. Just knowing it’s there is sometimes enough to keep you warm even if you never put it on. 
  • Finally, take the energy off you and put it into them. Be curious, make eye contact, smile, laugh and breathe. Your goal is to be light, flexible, easy going and a little fun. These characteristics are so much more powerful than the things we tend to focus on like, goals, achievements, status or instant alignment. Take a moment to realise they are probably feeling the same challenges that you are, so why not make the powerful move of making them feel better? Tell them they look good, or you like their smile or laugh or that you’re having fun. When that energy is returned, it can create real momentum that you will later call romance, spark or chemistry.

Anxiety before a first date is very often about loaded expectations. If they’re too high you’re simply setting yourself up for the upset. Simplify the experience with a little routine before your date, enjoy the beautiful energy of uncertainty and use that excitement to excite your potential mate. Smile, play, flirts and just take the pressure off the result, knowing all you are doing is getting to know someone and letting them get to know you. This technique, along with an escape plan up your sleeve, will dramatically reduce the anxiety which could otherwise sabotage your blossoming romance. 

If you experience SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) and normal, healthy self-regulating techniques such as these are not working then please seek professional advice.

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