I'm typically a confident guy, but every once in a while I experience first date anxiety. Any constructive tips to help deal? — Alex
First dates are nerve-wracking, but being visibly nervous can make it more difficult to make a connection. Once your date senses your nerves, she (or he) will likely also have trouble feeling comfortable. Of course, it’s understandable to be somewhat timid on a first date, but you’ll have an easier time getting to know your date if you both put nerves aside.
Finding the confidence to open-up in this way may be tricky, but with just a few easy steps, you’ll be on your way to feeling self-assured. Here are some tips to keep in mind before heading out for your next first date.
- Check-out the place ahead of time
Nervousness is the natural byproduct of not feeling in-control. But that's OK! Why? Because preparation is the one element of the dating process you can control.
Before arriving for your date, get more familiar with the venue. Visit their website and social media to feel out the vibe of the place ahead of time. Once you know the atmosphere of the location, you’ll be better equipped (not just logistically but also mentally). You'll know how to get there, whether to dress casually or formally, and you'll have more knowledge about the menu, seating, etc.
Side-note on dress-code: If you’re unsure, go overdressed rather than underdressed. Showing up to a date in basketball shorts and an old college T-shirt is uncouth, man!
- Upgrade your self-care
If you’re used to simply brushing your teeth, throwing on some jeans, and splashing water on your face every morning, this is for you.
Men need self-care too! There’s nothing wrong with a quick routine when getting ready for a normal work day, but if you want to leave an impression, incorporate some simple extra steps to look (and feel) your best.
I recommend a fresh shave, exfoliating, moisturizing and whitening your teeth. If you’re planning on dating more in the months to come, consider finally tackling longer-term cosmetic needs, like acne treatments or hair loss products. Invest that extra time in yourself and you will feel more confident on your next date.
- Have conversation topics ready
Preparation, guys! If you've found that you are actually more nervous about the social aspect of the date, prepare yourself ahead of time.
Consider what you know about your date and think of topics the two of you can chat about. Many of us dread those unfortunate awkward silences, so if you already have ideas for subjects to talk about, you’ll be able to smoothly transition from one conversation to another.
Heartalytics notation: For more help on this, don't miss:
Matchmaker Says: Let's Give Em' Something to Talk About
Matchmaker Says: Just Don't Ask
Crash Course On Crush Talk
- Check-in with your date that morning
Being stood-up is a confidence-crusher; so, this small step is an important one to take. Checking-in with your date the morning-of smooths nerves and reduces the risk of first date flakes. Text your date in the AM to confirm the day and time still work. This way, if they forgot, you’ll remind them and if they need to reschedule, you’ll be able to take care of it right away.
- Brainy body language
Believe it or not, nonverbal cues say more about us than our words. This includes the tone of your voice, facial expressions, posture, and much more. In order to feel confident it’s not only necessary to say the right things, you should physically appear and sound confident as well.
Before and during your date, pay attention to the cues you give off. Are you slouching or avoiding eye contact? These are two obvious body language cues of insecurity. Work towards using a more positive, confident body language to show your date you are happy and excited to be there.
Implement these five strategies and see how you feel, Alex!
Parting thoughts — perhaps the most important thing to remember on a date is to be yourself. Although you’re likely to feel those nerves heading into a date, remind yourself that if it doesn’t go smoothly, it’s just not meant to be.
We put so much pressure on ourselves that we don't enjoy the journey. That's a mistake.
Finding your confidence while dating might be difficult to get the hang of, but after a while, these tips will help you find the confidence that was always there.
You've got this,
Welcome to Ask Jack! An advice column where our male friends and colleagues tackle selected reader questions submitted via the ask page. Not every 'Jack' will do it in the same way — so don't miss a single episode!
Today's 'Jack' is an industry leader who owns his own well-known men's product company. He's been helping men feel and look confident for decades. Thanks for answering Alex's question, Jack!