One of the most grueling experiences in any relationship is likely the first official date. You’re finally one on one with your romantic interest, and the spotlight is on you. The relationship is full of possibilities, and it can be very easy to get excited about them, or overwhelmed by the idea of making them happen. No matter how many first dates you have experienced, each one is different. The only commonality is probably your first date jitters.
Anxiety is something that everyone experiences as they get ready to take on a new challenge. You can be sure that your date is feeling at least a little anxiety as well. This feeling is often irrational, and brought on by considering all of the ways that things could go wrong, or wondering how things will go right. The good news is that as the duration of your date increases, your anxiety will continue to decrease. You’ll get more comfortable as your spend more time with your date, and those jitters will be a distant memory as you begin to enjoy yourself.
Most people are the most anxious right before they meet their romantic prospect for the date. This is when the mind starts truly racing, and all of the events that you’ve imagined become real. The best thing that you can do is take a few deep breaths, try to empty your mind, and meet your date. If you are still feeling anxious about your date, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
1. What’s the worst that could happen? Sure, your imagination could get the better of you and the worst that could happen could be something along the lines of a gaping hole swallowing you up while you stand embarrassed in front of your date, but be realistic when you think about this. Think back on other first dates and really consider the possibilities. At worst, perhaps your date won’t be that into you, might not have a good time, or you’ll embarrass yourself by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. These are all things that you’ll forget about in time. You might even look back on them and laugh.
2. If all else fails, this isn’t your last first date. Wouldn’t it be great if the night goes off without a hitch and your date turns out to be the love of your life? That’s the best case scenario, and likely the entire reason you’re dating in the first place. But even if the date ends early and you never see each other again, this date isn’t your last chance at love. There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people, and while you might experience first date jitters all over again, you could find someone suitable to your personality and your needs.
3. You can’t plan for everything. Are you thinking about the first kiss before you’ve even met your date at the door? If you’ve planned out the perfect scenario, and the first kiss to best all kisses that came before it-you’ve just added a lot of pressure to yourself and your date. It’s a good idea to know where you’re going to go, and what you’ll do, but don’t sweat the details. You can’t control everything, and trying to do so will only add stress to your situation.
4. The first date doesn’t have to be a major event. Despite what Hollywood movies may have you believe, the first date does not have to be filled with elegant venues, deep conversations, and perfectly-timed shooting stars. It’s OK to keep them casual. Casual dates mean you have to worry less about what you wear. If you’re worried about not having anything to talk about, opt for a movie or a trip to an art gallery; this will give you plenty of material. As for shooting stars, if all goes well, you’ll never notice if they did or didn’t appear.
5. If you’re still that anxious, it is OK to let your date know. If the jitters are really getting to you, chances are that everyone around you can see it-especially your date. Instead of trying to cover it up, tell your date. Try to make your admission sound as positive as possible. “I’m a little jittery tonight because I’m so excited to spend time with you,” is a very flattering statement. Honesty can be endearing. Your date might even admit that they are anxious as well. A couple of laughs later, you can get to your date and try to focus on other things.
Nancy Travers, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializes in all types of relationships; dating, existing relationships, family relationships, and relationships with friends and business relationships. She also helps her clients overcome anxiety and depression through talk therapy as well as through hypnosis. What sets her apart from many other counselors is that she has counseled in the gay/lesbian community for over 10 years. She also has experience counseling families with elder care issues. Nancy has been in practice for over 15 years and can provide you with the tools you need to approach dating and relationships with confidence. Visit her website at http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com.
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