How To Handle First Date Nerves

First dates eh. Those pesky jitters can hit you all at once or build up in the days leading up to the big date, either way, you want to squash them pronto.

I’m no expert (10 first dates done and dusted) but I have a few tips to help settle those butterflies!

Choose the right location.

Or at the very least, ask your date for the details. Being even slightly aware of where you’re going sets the tone for your date.

Generally, most of my first dates have started in a bar/pub – dutch courage and all that jazz. I find that a casual environment serves as a convenient space to have an engaging conversation without the pressure of dressing fancy or buying an expensive meal. If it feels uncomfortable, you can leave after the first drink. Or better, you hit it off and decide to grab a bite to eat.

Don’t set expectations.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone into everything with expectations – often met with the cruel mistress that is disappointment.

At the very start of this year, I worried about whether each first date would be my last. When it wasn’t, I’d feel deflated. Come summer, I had gotten used to the idea of not finding a romantic spark, and in many ways, it made it easier to meet new guys.

You can’t control chemistry, compatibility, or attraction, but if it does happen, then it’s a bonus.

Remember they’re nervous too.

And sometimes just knowing that is enough to make you feel less so. Check how un-nervous I am, Nervo! *Trips over stool. Falls onto floor*.

Plan for small talk.

If you’re quiet or have social anxiety, the most nerve-wracking part of going on a first date is trying to have an engaging conversation with someone you barely know. So, keep it light and upbeat. Always open the conversation by asking how their day went, it lets you internally regroup, while they natter about themself.

If you’re really struggling to get it flowing, you can download The And, an app that generates questions for first dates, friends, couples etc. Some of the questions aren’t for the faint of heart, so I find it works best after a few drinks!

Don’t give yourself a hard time.

Whatever happens and however badly it goes, cut yourself some slack. People are self-obsessed, so there’s a good chance he didn’t notice the food you coughed up mid-laugh (welcome to my life). And even if he has – what’s the worst that can happen? Not much. Turn it into pub story gold – at least your mates get a giggle at your expense. 

Us women read into everything, holding onto every comment, touch, look and text thereafter. We often talk about dating as a game, but the best piece of dating advice I was ever given was this: If they like you, you’ll know. If they don’t you’ll be confused. And that’s all I ever needed to know.


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