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DATING: How to Overcome those First Date Jitters

Updated on May 1, 2011

Why Would I

At some point in time in your life you will encounter that first date. Some people refer to this event as scary as standing up in front hundreds of people and delivering a speech. Their palms get sweaty, their heart rate increases, and they begin to slur their words as if they have just downed an abundance of alcohol. The question that arises is, “why would anyone go through something like this?” It's the same answer as to delivering a speech in front of an audience – because if you can can stand and deliver and overcome your fears the rewards far out measure the costs. The interesting thing about this particular “life event” is it doesn't matter how young or old you are. I've heard adults make comments like, “WOW, I feel like a kid in high school again”. Dating can be a lot of fun, but it can also cause stress, depression, and anxiety. This article will focus on some basic techniques an individual can use to overcome those first date jitters.

5 Basic Techniques

Number 1: One of the biggest mistakes people make when they prepare for that first date is they assume that everything must be perfect. The problem with perfect is, not everyone is perfect. The truth is, most dates never turn out perfect, in fact, if they do turn out perfect chances are it was all an act or staged which displays doom for any relationship. The other thing to keep in mind is, by stressing over the concept of trying to make everything perfect that's going to leave you stressed and not yourself, which is who the other person wants to see and get to know. The whole key to having a perfect date is allowing things to happen as they happen.

Number 2: Another reason people are uncomfortable or nervous, about that first date, is due to the activity planned. Be sure to plan something you are comfortable with. For example, if you're not comfortable with long conversations and don't like to talk a lot, then plan for a movie because guess what happens in the movies....exactly, you have to be quiet! Perfect. Perhaps you would like to get to know them and are comfortable with long conversations, then plan for a destination where you can talk without many disruptions. Most people think first dates should consist of a dinner. In my opinion, I would never go out for a meal...why?...because I was always terrified of spilling something on myself or having food debris get caught in my embarrassing! Then there are activities that can accommodate both – small amounts of talking but entertainment as well. These activities could include, sporting events, tours in museums or actual participation i.e. ice skating.

Number 3: Now the biggest decision of all – what do I wear? Of course the dress code could all depend on the activity planned for the date. But for purposes of this article let's just say it's a date that requires normal attire. First and foremost, select something you know you look good in. Something that increases your confidence, something that makes you feel good, and (call me crazy) that lucky shirt or dress. Lucky clothing can also raise your confidence and place positive thoughts in your head that nothing wrong can happen on this date because I have my lucky clothes on. The next step is to ask your friends, siblings, etc on how you look. Please only ask people that will be honest with you so you can get an accurate opinion. Be careful not to dress up for a casual occasion as well as dressing down for something extravagant. My ideal dress code would be a polo shirt and jeans, seems like I've never went wrong with this attire.

Number 4:It's all in the mind. The next technique is to be confident. Most people like confident people, but please don't confuse confidence with arrogance. It's possible that people struggle with what the difference is and some may not even know they are being arrogant instead of confident. Below are some common characteristics of each – you decide which one you are...

  • A person who is confident understands they have certain areas of strength. A person who is arrogant also believes that have certain areas of strength. A person with confidence will also understand others maybe stronger, and that each person is a complete package of strengths and weaknesses so will remain humble in both. An arrogant person will often neglect to acknowledge weaknesses in light of playing up their strengths.

  • An arrogant person may seem to ignore any areas of weakness and only play up areas of strength, but they often do so because of an inability to come to terms with weakness. A confident person finds the root of their confidence in self acceptance - a key confidence vs arrogance difference.

  • An arrogant person tends to brag and can put others down in an attempt to be the best or come out the coolest. A confident person is above such antics. They recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and allow that other people will have strengths and weaknesses. A confident person need not make life a competition, so a confident person is often much easier to be around.

There are more characteristics of both, but the whole key is being confident. Believe in yourself and stay positive.

Number 5: Be yourself. jitters occur when you are trying to be someone you're not. Think about it, acting requires a person to pretend to be something they are not. Whenever you have to pretend or act different it causes some levels of stress and anxiety. This all leads back to a false sense of who you truly are. The biggest mistakes people make on those first dates is pretending to be somebody they are not. It's very easy to fool that person into believing you because they don't know you. How many times have you heard couples say, “that's not the person I fell in love with”. Or “you didn't act like that when I first met you”. People want the other person to like them so much that they lie and act in a complete different manner than who they really are. For example, I love football - everything about it, the watching, playing, coaching, strategies, etc., let's say I go out on a date and the girl I date says, “oh I love football” and come to find out months later, she really hates it! Two things, one, we won't get along because what I thought we had in common we really don't. Two, I'm upset with her because she lied about liking the sport of football.

So please be yourself and keep in mind that if the person you date doesn't like the real you, then it's better the relationship didn't start, it will save you time and energy. First date jitters are very common. Hopefully the above techniques will allow you to ease your stress levels a little and allow you to have a great time. Sixty-six percent of people who are divorced, or going through one, admit that their relationship started with a lie! Don't be a statistic!


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