First Date Jitters

One of the most common questions that I get asked by my clients is, “How do I overcome first date jitters?” You’ve probably heard that old saying that you can get comfortable speaking in front of a group by picturing the audience naked. Well, that doesn’t really work in this situation because if the date is a good one, you should both be picturing each other naked either way! However, there are some simple things that you can do to prepare yourself for a great first date!

You don’t want to sound like a robot reading a prepared script, but you will be more comfortable on the date if you come prepared with topics to discuss. Think of three things that you want your date to remember about you after you’ve left. Then find a personal story that demonstrates ones of those points. If you want your date to think that you are kind, come to the date prepared to talk about your volunteer work with inner city kids. If you find the conversation stalling out, ask them a question about the thing that you want to talk about and once they answer, they will likely ask the same question of you. In this example you would say, “Do you volunteer anywhere?” Thereby setting yourself up to answer the same question yourself and tell them what you want them to hear. It’s not romantic, but it’s effective.

2.    LISTEN UP:
Think you have to say interesting things to seem interesting? Not so fast. Many studies in interpersonal communications indicate that people actually tend to like you more if you are a better listener than a talker. Most people like to talk about themselves. When you ask good questions that get them to reveal new things and relive positive emotions, they will actually associate those good feelings with you. When you are listening, try to really listen and respond rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. Your date can feel the difference.

Every person you meet online is a unique opportunity to hear the story of someone you may have never come in contact with before this technology existed. Rather than looking at the first date as drudgery or a waste of time, try to instead see it as story time. No date is simply time lost. Even if you only learn what not to do, or what you do not want in a partner, it is worthwhile. The wife of one of my early clients had been on a mission to meet 100 men online, (he was number 96) so she agreed to meet nearly everyone who wanted to meet her. Her philosophy was that he might not be a potential date, but he could impact her life in some other way. That philosophy ended up netting her thousands of dollars in business referrals – not to mention a husband too. If you put too much pressure on each date to be “The One,” you will bring that pressure to the date, whether or not you actually voice it.

You ideally want to come to a date with a clear mind and a lot of energy. Many people benefit from a trip to the gym or the yoga studio before a date. Many people rush right from work to meet up with a date and that’s the wrong energy to bring to a potential match. Even if you just take 20 minutes to walk and clear your head before you meet up, you’ll be able to stay in the moment rather than with one foot still at the office. Turning off your BlackBerry® will also help with that immensely.

Part of the anxiety of going on a date often comes from a fear that they will not be the person you want them to be and you’ll feel stuck with a deadbeat with no way out. This is why you always want to be coming from somewhere and have somewhere else to go on a date. That way, you have a definitive out at the end and you will appreciate it if the date isn’t going well. If it is going well, it’s still a positive because you will leave them wanting more. Remember, you don’t want to wear out your welcome the first time you meet someone.

A first date doesn’t have to be anxiety-producing. If you come to it with the right preparation, and in the correct state of mind, you can actually enjoy yourself and hopefully meet someone truly special.

Dear Mrs D is an online dating strategist who conducts one-on-one coaching sessions and workshops for singles on how to find success dating online just as she did. She has been seen on Fox, NBC, and CBS and has written an ebook “D is for Dating: A Guide to Successful Online Dating” which is available exclusively through her website
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