A first date can be a nerve-wracking experience for many people. After all, you could be meeting your future partner. You might be feeling very vulnerable. The point of dating is usually to get to know someone else on an intimate level, or at least to begin the process. Normally we want to make a good first impression or at the very least, to avoid rejection. Whatever your reason for going on the date you might find yourself rejected and this can be difficult to deal with. Self-doubt comes in many forms, from questioning one’s intelligence to one’s looks to one’s ability to tell a good joke. Dating puts it all out there.
How can you increase your confidence when it comes to dating? There are things you can do, and some suggestions follow. Just remember that different approaches will suit different people.
A date is just a date. It is not the rest of your life. Yes, you might meet your future partner, but this is far beyond the scope of the date. At this point, no matter how desperate you might be feeling to meet the right person and settle down, focus on the date itself, not where it might or might not lead. Putting more pressure on the occasion makes it harder for both of you. The other person is likely to sense your tension, and you end up putting far too much pressure on yourself. Try to enjoy the time together, or, if you don’t, try to avoid blaming yourself and moving into that frame of mind where you believe that you’re not worth dating, you’ll never find someone, that you’ll be single for the rest of your life. None of us likes and gets on with everyone we ever meet, and that is as true for your date as it is for you.
Yes, you’ve heard it many times before, and there’s a very good reason. If you do hit it off with the other person and you’re “faking it”, you’re then faced with with the choice of coming clean and facing possible humiliation and rejection, or continuing with the act. This takes a lot of effort, it’s dishonest, and you won’t be able to keep it up for very long. So whatever part of you you want to hide, try not to hide it too deep. This doesn’t mean that you lay all your perceived faults on the table on the first date, but it also means that you don’t go to extreme measures trying to hide them or pretending to be something or someone you’re not.
To help deal with your insecurities about yourself, try focusing on the other person. Show a genuine interest in what he or she has to say. Be honest and courteous in your responses. Let the other person have the spotlight. Not only does this help you from focusing on your insecurities, it also helps accomplish what dates are meant to do – getting to know someone better. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and ask more. Talk about common interests when you find them. Above all, try to avoid talking about yourself the whole time or worrying too much about how you look, what you’re saying, and what type of impression you’re making.
If the idea of sitting through a quiet dinner with someone you barely know makes you break out into a sweat, consider dating activities that involve a bit more activity. Take a walk through a garden, go rollerblading or some other activity that keeps you moving. If you have something to do, you can focus less on feeling awkward and more on the conversation. It helps keep the atmosphere lighter as well, which can make you both feel more comfortable and confident. After all, the other person might be feeling just as anxious as you are.