Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or have taken a long break from the scene, dating can often be an exciting yet stressful endeavour.
From pre-date butterflies, to avoiding awkward silences, bad jokes, and the crushing fear of rejection, there are many reasons to feel nervous when dating somebody new.
The great news, however, is that you don’t need to let your nerves get the better of you. You have the power and the confidence to handle all outcomes – the good, the bad, and the unexpected.
Wherever you are on your dating journey, these confidence tips are sure to get you ready and excited for whatever the dating life may throw at you.
1. Keep an open mind
You might already have a strong idea of what your ‘perfect’ companion would be like. However, when going on a date it’s best to let go of those ideals and expectations – just for the night, at least.
Very often, our idea of ‘perfect’ may not always fit our lifestyle, and conversely, the people we have chemistry with may not have any of the traits on our list. So rather than going out and comparing this person against specific standards, learn to relax and get to know them, just as they are.
Even if you don’t immediately hit it off with this person, the two of you may become good friends, and you never know where that alone might lead.
By keeping your expectations simple (maybe you’ll just have a great night!) you’re more likely to take a calm, laid-back approach to the date, which in turn will help things go smoother (and probably make you seem more attractive).
2. Pick a location you’re both comfortable with
It’s cool to pick the location for your first date together. But if you happen to be able to choose the place, choose somewhere that you (or ideally, both of you) have been before and are comfortable with.
Whether it’s your favourite sushi bar or local watering hole, being in familiar surroundings will likely put you more at ease and enable you to relax and have fun. Plus, you won’t have to wonder whether food is ordered at the bar, or wander round looking for the restroom.
If you’re needing some dinner inspiration, check out these perfect first date restaurants in London recommended by GreyZone Club.
3. Prepare some conversation points
You don’t have to know exactly how the flirting will pan out. But it does help to have some simple conversation points ready beforehand, so the chatter doesn’t dry up.
Think about what things you have in common. Do you both own a dog, or other pet? Maybe they’re into sports or they volunteered in Africa; maybe you went to the same uni, or have the same taste in music. Whatever you can find out about them, use the knowledge to their advantage and try to draw on your own experiences too.
Naturally, you’ll be able to use their dating profile, your chats from Tinder, or quiz the friend that’s setting you up to find out more about your date. But whatever you do, resist the urge to google them or stalk their social profiles. That can lead down a dark rabbit hole that’s difficult to get out of, and can ruin the surprise and magic of the date itself.
4. Work out (or do something physical) beforehand
According to Dr Jess of the Sex with Dr Jess relationship blog, you feel more confident about your body after it has performed for you. So, a few hours before your date, get physical!
Exercise is a great way to improve your self image and self esteem right before a date, as well as pumping you full of those precious endorphins.
And FYI – studies have shown that regular workouts lead people to view their bodies with a more positive lens, even if there hasn’t been any physical change.
5. Dress to impress
It may seem obvious, but dressing in something we know we look good in makes all the difference to our confidence levels.
You want to walk the line between wearing something that makes you feel comfortable, but also reflects the best version of yourself. In other words, you don’t have to completely change your dress sense to please the other person, but you may want to think about choosing the ironed shirt over the crumpled t-shirt.
If you’re not good at choosing outfits, as a good friend or personal shopper to help. And fellas – a little personal grooming goes a long way. Just think about how much effort your female date will likely be going to.
6. Be yourself
You’ll probably cringe at this piece of advice, and with good reason. It’s probably the most overused saying out there.
But the truth is, it’s also the most important!
Being yourself really is the biggest thing you can do to help your confidence. Don’t lie or fabricate things you do, or feign interest in things you don’t care about. If you end up getting a second date with this person, they’ll likely find out.
By the same token, don’t hold back your natural charm, or from talking openly about things that matter to you. This person agreed to go out with you because they want to get to know YOU…and if you’re not a good match, wouldn’t you rather find out early on?
If you do find yourself struggling for things to say, then ask questions, or listen. Most people love to talk about themselves, and they’ll feel flattered that you’re taking such a strong interest in their hobbies and experiences. Ask them what they enjoy about a particular thing, or how it makes them feel. But be relaxed about it – nobody likes an interrogation.
7. Write down any compliments you receive that day/week/month
This tip is for the serious confidence-starved, but can be used by anyone.
Usually we are very quick to focus on our flaws or insecurities, and forget to see the positive qualities about ourselves. Similarly, when somebody pays us a compliment, it can be all too easy to shrug it off, or deny it straight away.
If you’ve got a date coming up, then start taking the time to write down every nice thing somebody says about you. This helps to trigger your brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) which experts say filters out important info.
If you’re reading this and your date is tonight, then try this: stand in front of the mirror and say five things out loud that you like about yourself. Sure, you may feel a little silly at first, but it’ll instantly help to shift your focus which in turn will boost your self esteem.
Whilst out on your date, shelve your insecurities for the night. A little self-deprecating humour can be charming, but mention your insecurities too often and the other person will start to see them too.
8. Expect success
You have every reason to believe that this date will go exactly how you want it to. So, decide how you would like the night to pan out, then visualise it in your head.
There may be laughing, joking, a feeling of ease and comfort with the other person…maybe even a goodnight kiss and a second date. When you’ve visualised what it is you want, squeeze your finger and thumb together to ‘anchor’ that feeling. Then, let your visualisation go.
A few moments before you see your date, squeeze your finger and thumb together again to activate those positive feelings. This is what dating expert James Preece calls the ‘success trigger’, and he reports it having great success with his clients.
9. Remember, you’re both human
However the night turns out, a major comfort comes from knowing the other person is experiencing exactly the same nerves, worries and anxieties as you are.
They too probably agonized over the restaurant, are wondering whether you spotted that food in their teeth or saw them stumble on the top step of the stairs. However obvious you feel your own ‘flaws’ are, your date will likely be too focused on their own selves to notice!
So take it easy, relax and have fun. Remember that being yourself is enough. If someone wants to get to know you, nothing will stop them.