In the grand scheme of a typical man’s life, job interviews, wedding speeches and lingerie shopping are perhaps the only things more likely to trigger an attack of nerves than a first date. Indeed, even the most assertive and assured of men can expect to experience a slightly unsettling crisis of confidence in the hours leading up to an initial amorous encounter.
The good news is, this sensation is not only normal, it can actually be quite enjoyable - if you can learn to work with your fluttering butterflies rather than against them. “But how can I do that?”, you ask. Well, give the following confidence-boosting tips a go and chances are you’ll view pre-date jitters in a whole new way.
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Embrace the fear
There’s a very simple reason why you tend to feel nervous before a first date - you’re quite deliberately placing yourself outside your comfort zone. That’s right, you’re choosing to put yourself in a situation where your ego and self-esteem could - in the worst-case scenario, at least - take a right royal battering.
The body prepares itself for this potential disaster by releasing hormones that generate the ‘fight or flight’ sensation so often described as ‘butterflies in the stomach’.
Whilst you may not enjoy this sensation at first, there’s no doubting its potency. Your eyes widen, your senses fizz and your brain goes into overdrive. In short, you feel completely alive!
Far more exhilarating than yet another evening in front of the telly, wouldn’t you say?
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Look good, feel good
Though they’d be loath to admit it, many men can be every bit as fussy over their appearance as women when it comes to getting ready for a date. It’s also not uncommon for men to feel an overwhelming urge to try out a ‘new look’ just hours before an amorous encounter.
Needless to say, this can be something of a gamble; wearing attire that makes you feel self-conscious or physically uncomfortable will nag at your confidence rather than inflate it. Remember too that women are blessed with esoteric instincts when it comes to appearance: your date WILL know if you’re trying to be something you’re not in a matter of seconds!
The best rule of thumb to adhere to in this respect is to wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident in equal measure. Buy something new by all means if you think it will help, but just make sure it will be a good fit - in every sense.
They’re already a little bit keen
Regardless of whether you met your date online or in real life, it’s probably the case that you and your date both saw aspects about one another you each found initially attractive.
So, when you arrive for your meetup, there really is no need to mull over the old ‘will they/won’t they be into me?’ question as they’ll have seen something in your profile that was attractive enough to make them reach out/respond to you in the first place. If your date was a Grand Prix race then you’d invariably be in pole position.
Have a pre-date chat with pals
There are three great confidence-boosting reasons why you should chew the fat with your pals before heading off on a date. The first is quite simply that there’s no better way to warm up your social skills than engaging in a little bit of banter with people you feel entirely relaxed with.
The second reason is that friends (good friends, at least) will make you feel good about yourself, reminding you of why your match is lucky to be going out with such a dashing and debonair gent as yourself.
The third and final reason for having a pre-date chat with your pals is that it will distract you from worrying about what’s to come. Even if your friends don’t go in for jokey chats on the phone, or struggle to make you feel good about yourself, you can pretty sure being in their company will help keep any concerns you may have about your upcoming date at bay.
Plus, if they’re hard to chat to on the phone, consider it a trial by fire that could limber you up if your date also struggles to make small talk.
As a side note - if, during your pre-date phone call, you suddenly realise that your friends don't make you feel good at all, odds are they're lousy friends! This will make the prospect of spending time with someone decent seem like a very real treat - and if you'd like to find some different friends, Saga Dating isn't just for romance - it's also for finding friends and companionship.
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Do your research
One of the most common fears men dwell on before a date is: “What if the conversation dries up?” This fear is well founded; few things bring on a feeling of awkwardness more swiftly than a prolonged pause in chit-chat.
Happily, you don’t need to have ‘the gift of the gab’ to nip this concern in the bud. All you need to have, in fact, are some simple yet pertinent details about your date stored away in the ‘just in case’ part of your memory.
As well as being easy to remember, essential tidbits like occupation, hometown and children can provide immediate ‘ins’ if called upon: - just be sure not to use said info in a Yes or No question!
Taking a little time to familiarise yourself with any photos your date may have uploaded can also prove beneficial. Knowing you have silence-busting beauties like “I see you went on holiday to…” or “I noticed you enjoy....” in reserve will help keep your patter on track as well.
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Que Sera, Sera
Naturally, it would be great if your date turns out to be a roaring success. However, it’s important to remember that, even if everything that could go wrong, does; you won’t have lost anything at all. You can chalk it up as a learning experience and give yourself a pat on the back for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Truly, don’t lose heart. There are plenty more fish in the sea. And let’s face it, going fishing can be very fun and rewarding endeavour once you get the hang of things...