First date jitters – we all get them. Even beyond that first date, and even when our dates are virtual right now instead of in-person, it’s totally normal to experience pre-date anxiety. In fact, according to Plenty of Fish’s most recent pressure points study, almost ⅓ of US singles report having their mind race before a date, and 26% have lost sleep thinking about an upcoming date.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone! Anxiety is running high right now, and chances are your date is feeling those jitters right along with you. If you’re feeling all the feels before your next date, try these five tips to ease your mind and set yourself up for success!
1. Find Your Pre-Date Routine
Finding a pre-date routine that works for you is so important in helping alleviate feelings of anxiety before a date. Sitting around waiting and watching the time pass leaves a lot of room to overthink, and this is often when our brains can spiral and anxiety can arise. 69% of singles feel anxious about how their date will perceive them, and 64% feel anxious about what they look like. While we can’t control what our date thinks of us, we can give ourselves some extra self-care before the date so we feel as amazing as we are.
Give yourself some extra time to get ready (the upside of virtual dates is you only have to travel to your couch!) and do whatever you need to do to feel your best. Curl your hair or give your face a fresh shave even if you’re not leaving the house, blast some music while you’re in the shower and have a dance party, or even do some yoga or exercise before you get ready to get some positive endorphins flowing. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as it’s something that keeps you busy and makes you happy. Feeling good about yourself will give you an extra confidence boost, and taking that extra time to give yourself what you need will help you feel a lot less anxious.
2. Think On the Bright Side
When it comes to pre-date jitters, 21% of singles feel most anxious when they don’t hear from their date the day of, and 58% of singles are anxious about not liking their date once they get to talking. Both of these anxieties, while completely valid, are things we can’t control the outcome of. We can, however, control how we think about these fears. You may have heard it a million times, but one of my favourite quotes for when anxiety arises is, “stop thinking about what could go wrong and start thinking about what could go right.”
If this seems a lot easier said than done, try this: If you haven’t heard from your date, and your first thought is something like “they’re definitely going to blow me off,” force yourself to name one positive scenario as well, like “they’ve had a crazy day at work and are probably just trying to finish things up so they’re not distracted on our date.” If you can’t stop thinking about what might happen if you don’t like your date, make yourself envision a world where your date ends up being incredible. The simple act of just telling yourself to think more positively isn’t always effective, but allowing the negative feelings to come up, and then countering them with a positive ‘what if’ can be really helpful in combatting these anxieties.
3. It’s Okay to Prep Some Conversation Topics
64% of singles feel anxious about keeping the conversation going on a date, and I don’t blame them! Worrying about what to talk about to your date, especially if you don’t know each other very well, can be completely overwhelming – but it doesn’t need to be!
As much as you might feel like it’s dorky or lame, prepping some conversation topics in advance is totally okay and encouraged. You don’t have to write them down, but think about what you want to know about your date, what’s important to you in an ideal partner, or even just a few ideas for small talk and keep those questions or topics in your back pocket. Chances are, once you get chatting and the conversation starts flowing, you’ll forget you even prepped anything, but having something just in case can alleviate the pressure and anxiety of having a good conversation.
4. Flip the Script
Whenever I’m feeling anxious before an important event, I tell myself that the anxiety is just excitement in disguise. Think about it – when you’re nervous or anxious, your heart beats faster, your thoughts race, and you usually can’t sit still, but guess what? We typically experience the same sensations when we’re excited, it’s all about how you label it. Flipping the script and labeling your anxious thoughts as exciting ones instead can often trick your brain into easing up a little and can keep the fear at bay.
Leading up to a date, 30% of singles feel most anxious when they’re waiting for their date to arrive, and it’s completely warranted. The build-up before any event can evoke all types of nervousness because at the end of the day, we’re excited and we don’t want things to go badly. Instead of focusing on that nervousness, keep leaning into the excitement of what might happen if it goes well, and hopefully that video chat ring or first sound of your date’s voice will bring you more joy than fear.
5. Embrace the Awkward, and Don’t Forget to Breathe
55% of singles are anxious about not enjoying themselves on their date, and to those people all I have to say is I feel you! There’s nothing worse than a date that isn’t fun or enjoyable, and it’s especially easy to feel worried when dates these days consist of virtual activities instead of in-person ones. That being said, virtual dates can 100% be just as fun as in-person ones, the trick is to just embrace the awkwardness and lean into the strange situation we’re all in.
It becomes really difficult to let go and have fun when we’re in our heads worrying about what to do next, or if the other person is having a good time. The best thing you can do for yourself and your date is to laugh through any technical difficulties, put as much enthusiasm into your virtual date as you would an in-person one, and most of all – don’t forget to breathe! When all else fails, and you can’t get out of your head, a good, long, deep breath can work wonders.