You’ve taken the plunge and got yourself a first date, congratulations! You may have used a dating website or agreed to a blind date, or plucked up the courage to ask someone out, whichever way you did it, this is fantastic. Don’t underestimate how much energy you may have expended to get this far, nor how your anxiety levels will rise the nearer you get to the date time!
How do you ensure you are prepared for that date and get through it? What would be even better, is if you began to enjoy it as well! How do you control your natural dating anxiety to ensure you make a good first impression?
6 Ways Men Can Deal with Dating Anxiety
1. Refer to your Hobbies
Remember what you said in your dating profile if you used one – go over any examples you gave of hobbies you like or things you have done, and ensure they are fresh in your mind, as these are going to crop up in the conversation, and you need to be able to talk easily about them. What else would you like your date to know about you? Prepare in your mind, examples of who are you and what you enjoy doing, and use them to answer questions, or as a conversation starter to get to know the other person better. Being prepared will make you feel confident when talking and when you are confident, dating anxiety recedes just a little bit. Lets face it, non-one knows you better than yourself!
2. Be Prepared
Similarly, be prepared and look again at what the other person said on their dating profile. This information is going to keep the conversation flowing, in any awkward moments. Otherwise, what do you want to know about the other person? Keep it light-hearted, and ensure you use questions to encourage your date to talk, rather than you giving a nervous monologue throughout.
3. You’re not Alone
EVERYONE WILL BE ANXIOUS AT THIS FIRST MEETING, so don’t worry! However, there is a big difference in the way people handle these feelings. Ensure you recognise how your anxiety manifests itself. Is it through perspiration, nervous hand gestures or fiddling, gabbling, or silence and shyness. You need to understand your ‘poker tell’ in order to be able to disguise it! Ask your friends and family what you do when you become nervous, and think of ways around it, i.e. if you are a compulsive fiddler when nervous, could you plan to hold something in your hand like the drinks menu, as this will be your security, plus an object with a purpose to it.
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4. Boost your Self-Confidence with a Pep Talk
#Give yourself a pep talk when getting ready. You need to think you’re worth meeting, otherwise why would the other person want to! Self-confidence is the key to most awkward and unnerving situations. What has the other person thought about you so far, did they like your photo? Do you have anything in common? What has your friend told your blind date, to make him or her want to meet you? Think about other areas of your life, where you are successful and liked. If you have a positive self-image, this will help overcome these first date anxieties. If you don’t perhaps you need some coaching first to figure out the real you!
5. Take Deep Breaths
On the way to the venue, take deep breaths to calm yourself down and relax your shoulders and neck. This can be done unobtrusively, but will help release some of the tension held in your body. Also use this during the date, when you go to the toilet, or when your date does. Most of us carry tension in our neck and shoulders and it can be seen in our body language, and by the tremor in our voices. By taking steps to relax our posture, and calm our heart rate down, we will appear more at ease. Similarly, smile rather than grimace and be aware of tension in your jaw, as this can give our face a closed or negative look, which others pick up on.
6. Be On Time
Be on time or within 5-10 minutes of the agreed meeting time. Both parties feel anxious already, without being made to wait longer. There is nothing worse than wondering if your date will turn up at all. Be clear who you are meeting and how you will recognize them, and if possible, whereabouts in the venue they will be. Anxiety levels rise when entering a new place anyway, let alone not knowing if your date is there or not, as you don’t know what she looks like! This is when the warm smile and relaxed body language is needed, as your date may be watching you enter the room, and will gain confidence themselves if you appear relaxed and pleased to see them.
Meeting new people, whether dating or through friends or the workplace is daunting for most people. A large percentage of us will go through the “How do I look?”, “What shall I talk about?”, “Have I got anything interesting to say?” etc, but manage to mask our unease through using confident body language and other skills and tricks we’ve mastered over the years. Let me know, what you do?