How can I get over my first date jitters? I always get so nervous before the first date, and I often find myself running out of things to say. Any pointers?
This post was contributed by dating coach Rishma Petraglia (@rishma_petraglia). She has a podcast called You Are Worthy of Love, which talks about dating, relationships, love, and heartbreak. Listen to it on Spotify here.
As a former matchmaker, something I noticed was that my female clients were always looking for their dates to be interesting or exciting. It’s sad to say, but it’s almost like they wanted to just sit there and be entertained by their date.
They wanted the guy to be interesting and charismatic, which I totally get. Studies have shown that this trait is extremely attractive. However, placing that expectation on your date isn’t going to get you anywhere, my friend.
First and foremost, when you go on a date, YOU need to be interesting. And you have the power to make your dating experience more exciting.
And how do you be more interesting?
By asking interesting questions. When you ask questions that are interesting and genuinely want to find out more about the person you’re sitting across, you automatically become interesting, and likeable.
Why is this?
People love to talk about themselves, so asking great questions will help your date to open up.
Some questions that you can try asking are:
- Do you have any interesting holidays or vacations coming up?
- What’s your favourite country and why?
- Tell me something that no one would guess about you?
My recommendation would be to think of three interesting questions that you can ask your date, that has nothing to do with his age or profession. Think outside the box, and try to make it fun.
Now that we’ve covered how to keep the conversation going on a first date, let’s talk about those first-date jitters.
The first thing you need to do, is to understand why you’re feeling the jitters in the first place. From my experience as a dating coach, here are the two main reasons.
Reason #1 – Expectations
Before we go on a date, we’re in a state of expectation or desire. If you’re dating with the goal of being in a relationship in mind, then you’re going into that date ready, and wanting, to meet the person that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. That can feel daunting or overwhelming! Which will lead your mind to create thoughts like, “Will he like me?”, “Is he the person I’ll marry?”, and “Do I look OK in this outfit?”.
So if this is you, the best thing to do is to let go of any expectations. Go on that date, but go with the intention of getting to know another human being.
You need to see dating as going to the cinemas to catch a movie—you’re going out to have an experience, to learn about another person’s story. Look at life through their lens for a few hours. This change of perspective will help you to take the pressure off, so that you don’t get disappointed if you don’t meet your person.
Reason #2 – Self-doubt
As human beings, self-doubt is a feeling most of us have in common. It’s super normal. It’s the quiet part of us that thinks we’re not enough, or not deserving of love.
So what can you do to help your mind understand that you’re an amazing person, with beautiful qualities who deserves to feel loved?
My suggestion is to practise affirmations before, during, and after a date. Some affirmations that you can try are:
- I am enough
- I’ve got this
- I’m worthy of love
- I love you
Just think of this as self-assurance, to help you feel more calm and relaxed. Now good luck on that first date!
Have a question for dating coach Rishma? Email us at CLEO@sph.com.sg.