There’s a lot of pressure around the first date – especially now that we’re coming out of a pandemic and approaching cuffing season.
Seen by many as an exciting opportunity to meet someone new and, hopefully, hit it off, great first dates can also offer the possibility of finding someone to spend the holidays with. Or a person to ring in the new year with. Or, maybe even someone to take home to meet the parents.
But the thing is, first dates also come with a lot of pressure. Some people really just feel uncomfortable around those they don’t know well. Others have had bad experiences in the past (haven’t we all?). And then, some deal with everyday insecurities, believing that they’re not worthy of finding love (which, of course, is absolutely untrue).
So, if you don’t know how to mentally prepare yourself for a first date – or dating in general – here are a few tips. You can start applying these right away to make yourself feel better before meeting with someone new, or setting up an online profile as you enter the world of dating.
Pamper Yourself to Feel Your Absolute Best
The best way to mentally prepare yourself for a first date is to ensure that you feel your absolute best both physically and mentally – because you deserve it!
The physical part is obviously easier to achieve. Along with choosing an outfit you love, taking a relaxing bath before your date, or doing any form of exercise can help release those endorphins that make you feel energized and ready to meet someone new.
You can also do a skincare routine that will mitigate the effects of stress or put on a bit of your favorite perfume. Anything that makes you feel sexy and confident.
Of course, feeling good isn’t just about how you look physically, but more importantly, it’s about your state of mind.
If you tend to be a bit of a worrier around dating, you can always give yourself a pep talk. You can also try doing a bit of meditation to release your tension or even talk to someone who can ease your nerves with some encouraging advice, or a little comic relief
Prioritize Your Comfort When Planning the Date
Another great strategy for mentally preparing yourself for a first date is to plan it the way you want, with
This means choosing a meeting spot you feel good in, like your favorite cafe or restaurant. Going for lunch instead of dinner if that means less pressure for you. You also might want to prep some conversation topics, just in case you feel overwhelmed on the spot.
It’s also not a bad idea to tell your date if you feel anxious or uncomfortable around new people. Chances are, they could be nervous too! Plus, being open about your feelings makes for an excellent way to build trust and understanding, which are at the core of a great relationship anyway.
Give Yourself an Easy Out & Keep Expectations in Check
Some people get stressed on first dates because they feel like they’re not in control. But the thing is, leveling up your first date experience is entirely doable by taking some pressure off yourself.
If you’re worried about hitting it off with the person you’re meeting for the first time, you can always prepare an exit strategy to keep your mind at ease. The good-old “emergency call” usually does the trick. But if you’re feeling creative, you can think up something a bit more unexpected as well. (Or, you know, you could do the “adult” thing and be honest about the match not working out for you).
On the other hand, if you’re too hyped/anxious about the possibility of a new romance, keep your expectations in check. Try telling yourself that you’re going out to meet a potential new friend (not your future boyfriend, partner, spouse, or soulmate). If it ends up being something more, amazing!
A good rule of thumb for mentally preparing for a first date is to approach the entire thing as a casual trial.
Make the decision to give yourself a getting-to-know-them period of a couple of months. Here, your main goal isn’t to enter a new relationship but to find out whether you’ve found a good match for yourself.
If it turns out that you have, then great news. But, if you find that there’s really no spark, you won’t have gotten your hopes up and will be ready to move on to find someone better suited to you.
Listen to Your Gut
Lastly, as you prepare for a first date, make sure to remind yourself that you need to trust your feelings and gut instincts.
Sometimes, people are just too excited about the possibility of romance, so they forget to listen to their gut and ignore the red flags they would otherwise have picked up on right away. I’m sure most of us have been there…
But the thing is, no matter how much you want a new date to be the one, they will never become that person by your sheer force of will. Instead of getting hurt down the line, it’s better to be honest with yourself and face the possibility of spending a few more weeks or months being single. After all, it doesn’t have to be a bad experience. In fact, it can be an adventure of a lifetime. Let’s ax the idea that being single has to be a chore – it’s supposed to be fun!
Dating can be stressful and scary, that’s no secret. But, it can also be an incredible opportunity to meet new people. Plus, it can help you expand your horizons and get to know yourself a little more in the process.
To reap all the benefits though, you have to be in the right place mentally. The tips above are all great starting points for emotionally preparing yourself for a first date. But, as with most things in life, the key to success is trying. Don’t let your fear or anxiety stop you from meeting someone who could make your life richer (in any way). Go ahead and make the leap! Just make sure you feel comfortable doing it.