First Date Advice to Ease Your Nerves

A woman sitting in front of two champagne glasses who took this first date advice to relax and keep it to one drink.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert serial dater or this is the first date you’ve been on in a while: nearly everyone experiences first date jitters. On top of that, you’re still likely to experience those same jitters regardless of how well you know the other person. You might have been best friends with them for ten years or just happened to match with them on a dating app, and you’re still probably going to look at yourself in the mirror after running through worst-case scenarios and say, “Oh God, I hope this goes well.”

Whatever your situation, these are some easy things you can do to help calm your nerves and focus on what really matters: whether or not you have a true connection with the other person.

Choose a safe public place to have the first date.
No matter how well you know or think you know the other person based on your screening process, it’s always important to select a place to meet that is public, so select a restaurant, coffee shop, or putt-putt course that you’re relatively familiar with and meet them there instead of having them pick you up.

It’s also a great idea to pick a place you know really well, so you aren’t trying to juggle getting to know someone new and a whole new cuisine. Plus strolling into a place you hit up every week can help calm you down considerably.

Embrace the friend zone (at least for this first date).
Half of the anxiety you may feel is half self-induced pressure to find “romance” and the other half not wanting to deal with rejection, so think about approaching the date as if you were going out with a friend, not your super hot coworker. We don’t pressure ourselves or feel anxious and fearful hanging out with our friends. So tell yourself, “I am just going out with a friend.” That can help you focus on being yourself, being in the moment, having fun, and not beating yourself up if it happens to not go well.

Plan things before and after the date.
First dates usually constitute as a meet and greet. You’re not there to delve into each other’s life stories (even if you already know theirs). You’re really there to assess if you have a connection and if you want to see if it’ll go further, so plan accordingly. Do something before your date and plan something after.

If you’re SUPER nervous, your “before” activity could be cleaning your residence or going to the gym.

For the after, make it something fun, but also flexible. In the event you like where things are going and want to extend the date, you want to be able to cancel your after plans, but if things go south, you’ll be glad you already had an exit plan in place.

Keep your alcohol intake to one beverage.
Most of us find that drinking makes things easier, so if you want to drink before your date, keep it to one glass of wine or beer to make sure that you’re not showing up to your date tipsy. On the date, it also helps to stick to a one beverage rule. You don’t want to get obnoxious or do or say something you’d later regret.

Don’t get too attached to the result.
We all have had great, so-so, and downright terrible first dates. If you follow all of the above tips, the worst-case scenario would be that you don’t have a second date with them. You know what? That’s really not that big of a deal. If you’re freaked out about how the date is going to go and worried it’s not going to progress, you’re putting way too much effort into it. Don’t spend too much time thinking about this. Just relax and try to have a good time regardless. Even if the date ends badly, at least you’ll have a great story to tell your friends.

If you’re feeling first date nerves, you’re not the only one. It happens to just about everyone. In fact, you should remember that your date is likely nervous too and hoping that you don’t notice.

Tara Mae Mulroy

Tara Mae Mulroy is a freelance writer and blogger who focuses on relationships. She is also the author of the full-length poetry collection, Swallow, and other writing found at taramaemulroy.com.

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