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First Date

Five tips for beating first-date nerves

Time Out's resident dating expert shares her advice for making a brilliant first impression

Written by
Charly Lester

Even the most confident of people can get jitters when it comes to a first date. But the more relaxed you are, the more approachable you appear. So how can you calm some of those first date nerves? 

1) Case the joint

If you’re feeling particularly nervous, why not have a dry run? Visit the bar or restaurant with a friend before the date. Check out the menu, work out where you’d like to sit, and sort out the basics, like where the bathrooms are. They may all sound like trivial concerns, but if you’re prone to worrying, then it’s fewer things to fret over on the date itself.

2) Phone a friend

Or better still, meet up with one beforehand. Meeting a friend for a quick drink before the date will relax you, and a good friend’s company will bring out the best version of you. If you’re worrying about something in particular, talk it through. Nine times out of ten it will feel like a much smaller deal once you’ve said it out loud.

3) Remember your date is just as nervous as you are

No matter how confident they may seem, everyone gets first date nerves. So if you do something silly, or say something you didn’t mean to, just laugh it off. Any date worth his or her salt will understand. And if they don’t? Well then they’re not for you!

4) Make it fun

Remove the traditional trappings of a ‘date’, by choosing a fun activity instead. One of the great things about dating is that it allows you to act like a tourist in your own city, so make the most of the opportunity. Be a big kid at the Science Museum, explore London Zoo, or check out some of London’s biggest tourist spots. The more you focus on the activity, as opposed to the person you’re dating, the more fun a date becomes. And even if you don’t end up fancying them, at least you haven’t wasted your precious spare time.

5) Do it a lot 

Dating is like anything – the more you do it, the more confident you become. So relax your search criteria slightly, and be open to meeting new people. Try out new ways of meeting people – there are heaps of apps, websites and singles events these days. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to meet ‘The One’ immediately. The more fun you have with the dating process, the more fun you will be to go on dates with. 

And if you’re still feeling nervous?

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of adrenaline! Nerves can quickly lead to excitement, and we all need to step outside our comfort zones every now and again. Embrace the sensation, and make the most of the dating game. You won't be playing it forever, after all. 

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