Dating is intimidating. There is no way around it. When you go on a date, you are essentially going on an interview to be someone’s life partner.
While this may sound a little extreme, it is essentially true. The purpose of a date is to assess your compatibility with another person to see whether you are two people who could potentially build a life together.
When you think about it that way, it’s no surprise that most of us get jitters before heading out to meet up with someone we like for a drink, a meal, or a walk around the park.
So, just as with a job interview, the only effective way to reduce the nerves before a date is to make sure you have done everything you can to prepare well.
Here are some key tips for how to prep for a first date.
11 ways to prep for a first date
- Wear something you feel comfortable in
- Give yourself a pep talk (or ask a friend to)
- Have a few topics of conversation ready
- Write a list of the qualities you value most in a partner
- Listen to an empowering podcast
- Dance around in the mirror
- Give yourself enough time to get ready
- Take a cold shower
- Look through pictures of good times you have had
- Let yourself be excited!
Just like athletes preparing for an important game, we all have different ways of getting our bearings before heading out on the town for a date.
Some people prefer to do something active and distracting until the last minute to keep their minds off their upcoming evening plans. This kind of person might prep for a date by going to the gym or answering work emails.
Other people need a bit of chill time to get their mind right before heading out to meet someone new. This type of dater might prefer to have a soak in a warm bath before getting ready, or to do some aromatherapy and meditate.
Preparing for any date can give you jitters, but a first date is particularly intimidating because it is the first time you will be faced with the knowledge that you are being assessed as a potential partner.
If you feel worried that you will feel uncomfortable on your date, follow these eleven tips to not be awkward on a date.
Also, bear in mind that if you are feeling too nervous, you can always cancel a date.
1. Wear something you feel comfortable in
Wearing something that makes you feel at ease and like yourself is such an underrated dating tip.
Most people think they have to get all dolled up and glamorous for a first date. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, don’t do it at the cost of feeling like you can be yourself.
Your date would much prefer you to be feeling confident in a casual dress or shirt and jeans than to spend the evening with someone who looks like a glamour model but who feels too self-conscious to focus on the conversation.
So, make sure that what you’re wearing is not only something you would ordinarily wear but is also something that allows you to move around and sit freely and comfortably.
There is no point in trying to dress like a completely different person the first time you meet someone. The person you’re dating wants to get to know you, not some alternative version of you.
Your chances of having someone ask you on a second date are much higher if the person you’re meeting feels like they are getting to know the real you.
2. Give yourself a pep talk (or ask a friend to)
Prep for a first date by hyping yourself up.
Stand in front of a mirror and say all the nice things you can think of to yourself. Do you think you look good? Do you know that you’re witty? Are you a caring and warm person? Do you have a nice smile? Are you professionally successful? Are you friendly? Are you competent?
Whatever positive attributes you know you have, look yourself in the eye and compliment yourself on them.
Reminding yourself of all the wonderful things you bring to the table will help you feel more confident going into your date.
And everyone knows there is literally nothing more attractive than confidence.
3. Have a few topics of conversation ready
People often talk about feeling tongue-tied or drawing a blank on a first date. It is not uncommon to feel lost for words when we’re nervous.
In order to avoid sitting across the table from someone in awkward silence, come up with a few things you might discuss with your date.
You can tailor your questions to what you already know about your date. Are dating someone who works nights? Ask them how they find time to socialize given their busy schedule.
If you are dating a Leo man, you can ask him questions about whether he finds it tiring to be so outgoing all the time.
Having these questions ready and waiting on the back burner will allow you to go into your date without worrying that you’ll be cringing though minutes of uncomfortable silence.
4. Write a list of the qualities you value most in a partner
While you of course want to make a good impression on your date, don’t forget that a first date is just as much an opportunity for you to assess how much you like the person you are meeting as it is for them to assess how much they like you.
Writing out a list of what you want in the person you plan to spend your time (and maybe your life) with, will help give you clarity about whether you could ever see yourself telling person you’re seeing “I love you” for the first time.
5. Listen to an empowering podcast
There are plenty of great dating and lifestyle podcasts out there that can help hype you up for a first date.
Podcasts are such a great platform for delivering information that even college lecturers are now teaching with podcasts.
So, if there is a podcast you love and whose hosts almost feel like friends to you, turn it on while you put on your make-up or iron your shirt. This will keep your learning brain stimulated and prevent you from focusing on your insecurities.
Podcasts––and especially ones that make you feel in control and empowered––can be a great way to distract yourself intellectually while preparing for an intimidating experience.
6. Check yourself out in the mirror and compliment yourself
There is nothing wrong with blasting a great upbeat song and dancing around to it in the mirror.
Feeling like you’re looking your best will help you approach your date with confidence.
This will make you more engaging, more relaxed, and ultimately more like your authentic self.
If you are prone to anxiety, it may be a good idea to calm yourself down before heading into a potentially nerve-wracking situation.
If dates or social settings in general intimidate you, why not try downloading a meditation app and sitting down for ten or twenty minutes to do a guided meditation before getting ready for a date.
This will calm your nervous system, empty your mind, and make you feel ready to take potentially difficult situations in your stride.
8. Give yourself enough time to get ready
There is nothing worse than rushing around trying to find your car keys, make-up bag, or wallet before a date.
Giving yourself enough time to do all the things you need to do will allow you to begin your date feeling in control and calm.
If you leave everything to the last minute and must run out the door to avoid being late, you may end up feeling like you begin your conversation with the person you’re meeting feeling flustered.
The calmer you are, the more interested you will feel in the person you’re getting to know, which will make you seem more open and friendly––both of which are qualities most people look for in a partner.
9. Take a cold shower
This is a somewhat unusual tip, and it is not one you are likely to find listed on many dating advice sites.
However, many people swear by the power of cold water to put them in the right frame of mind.
If you need to calm yourself down before heading out on a date and just can’t seem to get your mind to settle, try standing under a cold shower for one minute.
The effect of cold showering on health is impressive. Cold showers are also known to help relax people, which is essential if you are heading into an anxiety-inducing situation.
10. Look through pictures of good times you have had
Nothing puts us more at ease than reminiscing on happy times.
Looking through old pictures of good times you’ve had will remind you not only of what a fun, open person you are, but will also make you feel loved and cared for by the people in your life.
Many of us have a bad habit of regularly forgetting that there are people in this world who care deeply about us.
When we go on a first date, it can be easy to draw a total blank about what our normal life looks like and to find ourselves questioning whether we even have anything positive to talk about.
Reminding yourself in advance of a date what good times you have had in the past few years can help you be more outgoing and bubblier.
Knowing that you have a full and happy life will remind you that you do not need the person in front of you to like you.
You might want them to, but how they feel about you is not the be all and end all of your social experience.
11. Let yourself be excited!
Now, this is probably the most important tip of them all. The point of dating is to have fun.
Given how seriously dating is talked about these days, it can start to feel like a chore.
Allow yourself to relax completely, to be excited to meet someone new, and to just see where the evening takes you!
See your date as an opportunity to have an interesting conversation with an exciting person. Whatever happens, you can have a light-hearted and fun-loving time with someone you wouldn’t normally hang out with.
So, take a deep breath and give yourself full permission to have fun.
Hey, it’s me, Steven. Dating and relationships have always fascinated me. On Dategosu, you will find my best tips to make sure your next date is a great success!