Do you ever feel like everybody is a little more chilled out than you when it comes to dating? That by letting yourself get tied up in knots with pre-date nerves, you are somehow unusual? Well, you’re not alone. It’s normal to experience first date nerves – from the gentlest of flutters as you arrive at the venue, to feeling overwhelmed by the idea of making small talk with someone you’ve never met before – the key is not letting it overpower the real you.
Unfortunately, with nerves comes the tendency to clam up and not be yourself. We’ve all heard numerous dating disaster anecdotes about the time somebody tripped/forgot their date’s name/had a tumbleweed moment with a poorly received joke (insert your own nerve-induced calamity here). Which, when you come to think about it, just serves to make you even more nervous as you prepare for your own first date.
Nerves aside though, there is also a danger you may inadvertently adapt your behaviour, subconsciously or not, to act in a way which you believe your date would want you to.
More than half of people surveyed in a recent study said they behave differently and less authentically to fit into perceived gender expectations about how they should act on a date. Women in particular, admitted that they are conscious of behaviours thought to be off-putting to men including appearing too clingy, being too forward or coming across as genuinely interested. The study found more than a third of women effectively dull their own shine to make their male dates feel more comfortable and powerful during the date.
All this pressure can lead to putting on a façade during a first date – but by doing so your date is missing out on discovering your best side. While it can be very tricky to shed the nerves and the pre-conceived ideas of how you should be acting on a date, by relaxing and being yourself you can let the real you shine through. While there is a certain amount of formality which comes with first dates, putting your best foot forward and looking ahead to the future will be so much easier if you are being authentic.
We’ve shared our top tips for making sure your true character takes centre stage when you go on a first date so you can feel confident you are doing yourself justice – and your date gets to know the real, amazing you.
Manage your inner voice
We can all be our harshest critics but it’s important to pay attention to how your inner voice is treating you. Are you being overly critical of how you may be coming across on dates? Becoming hung up on how you look, or getting paranoid your small talk is sub-par? Then it’s time to talk yourself up, reminding yourself how awesome and worthy you really are. If you find this tough, then it can be handy to put little notes around at home reminding you of your positive traits, making sure they counter the negative thoughts you may have been experiencing.
Create an enjoyable pre-date ritual
It always pays to be prepared and it’s no different when it comes to dating. Find something that works for you that soothes your nerves, whether it’s meditation, cranking up your favourite feel-good playlist or just taking the time to visualise how the date might go, preparing yourself for all eventualities. Even making sure you know exactly where you are going and how you’ll get there minimises the risk of you arriving flustered and late. Whether it’s any of the above or simply a quick glass of wine before you leave or chatting with friends for some last-minute good luck vibes – whatever works to help you feel comfortable and relaxed pre-date will follow through into the actual event.
Try to avoid the temptation to act like you’re more into your date’s hobbies and interests than you really are. It’s just trouble waiting to happen if you feign an interest in something you’re just not that into. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself on a second date involving a bungee jump or open water swimming in a freezing lake. Plus, there is the risk dating will turn into a relationship, and you’ll get found out down the line. Be totally upfront about your likes and dislikes to establish if you are compatible – and remember, there’s nothing wrong with having different interests. It can be just as interesting to find out more about their favourite hobby when you know nothing about it.
Try an unusual date to show the real you
There can be a lot of pressure on face-to-face conservation, especially if you find it awkward to keep the small talk going with somebody you’ve never met before. Why not try a date that reflects something you’ll really enjoy? An activity-focused date can help show the real you and hopefully help you relax and enjoy the date. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to dating and when you are in your comfort zone, you’ll be happier. A quirky date also takes a lot of the pressure off keeping the conversation going as well, giving you plenty of other ways to suss each other out.
Work with a matchmaker
When you are nervous and unsure about dating, it can be a real asset to have somebody who’s got your back and offering you tons of support. That’s where our expert matchmakers come in. They are extremely experienced in finding hand-selected matches who’ll perfectly suit your personality and relationship goals, using a combination of Myer-Briggs personality profiling, intuition, and our extensive private network to find the perfect person for you. They’ll be on-hand to support you every step of your dating journey, ensuring a stress-free experience and a journey that will leave you feeling confident, energised and safe that leads to the goal of a committed, long-term relationship.
When it comes to first dates, you’re probably not going to learn everything about each other in the space of one evening. However, if you’ve both been authentic and upfront with each other and had a great time, chances are there’s mutual interest there. You’ve then got plenty of opportunity to enjoy learning more about each other on your second date, and beyond!
If you want to find out more about our award-winning matchmaking service, then get in touch with our friendly team today. Your dedicated matchmaker is ready and waiting to expertly help you embark on a successful search for love.