Dates used to make me nervous AF! Even after being in a relationship, my thoughts ran wild when I was sitting across from someone at a restaurant or trying to bowl without looking awkward (Life hack: bowling will always look awkward. Embrace it!)
But that was before I realized how much control I had over how I felt on a date.
I'm not saying this email will magically cure you of all pre-date nerves.
I am saying that there are a few things you can do before and during a date to help you feel less anxious and more authentic!
Give yourself time before the date.
One of the best things you can do for pre-date nerves is to give yourself time to prepare for your date. Rushing home to get ready and running out the door will only leave you frazzled. If this means planning your dates 30 minutes later, then so be it!
With more time, you can throw in a few activities that bring you joy, like dancing, walking your dog, or calling a friend. In fact, I have a whole day dedicated to what I call Pre-Date Rituals in my dating guide "From Anxious to Secure."
Set an intention.
Think of a feeling you want to bring into your date while driving to it or when you're getting ready. Some good feelings could be ease, calm, or authenticity.
Write that word down in your Notes app on your phone (you can take it a step further and screenshot it as a new phone background). Then, whenever you go to the bathroom, or they leave the table, you can look at the word and remind yourself of the feeling you're trying to bring to the date.
Think of questions to ask before the date.
A tactic I love to combat pre-date nerves is thinking of questions you want to ask your date. I want to challenge you to think of new ones for each person you go on a date with.
Reference their dating profile or how you met them to think of custom questions based on the person.
Make a list of things you love about yourself.
Often, dating anxiety comes from low self-esteem. What better way to give you a boost of confidence than to remember all the reasons you're awesome?
This is your chance to gloat. This is your chance to think big. This list is for you and only you. There's no need to be modest.
Go to the bathroom to ground yourself.
If you feel your heart racing and can't stop stumbling over your words, go to the bathroom. Take deep, calming breaths and try to ground yourself in the present moment.
Something I love to do is look around and name everything I can see, big or small. This helps occupy my mind and allows me to focus on the present.
Challenge your inner critic.
You know that little voice in your head that tells you things like "why would he be into you!?" or "you're not pretty enough!" Yea, that voice has to go!
When you have those thoughts, I want you to challenge them with a neutral statement. I'm not here to try and promote toxic positivity, so I prefer neutral statements since going from negative to neutral feels more attainable.
If you can't think of a more neutral statement, consider what you would say to a friend or younger sibling!
Let your date know you're feeling nervous.
A surefire way to ease your nerves is to talk about them out loud! Chances are, your date is also a bit nervous. So why not lay that on the table so you can both laugh about it a bit?
If you struggle with feeling insecure and overthinking when you date, check out my free dating anxiety journal prompts.
If you want to move towards feeling confident and secure when looking for love, grab your copy of my 30-day dating guide, "From Anxious to Secure."