15 Ways to Reduce First Date Nerves

You’re not alone when it comes to first date nerves. In fact, nearly everyone feels some nervousness when going on a first date. Whether your anxiety is mild or massive, at least a few butterflies are bound to appear when you’ll be spending time with someone you don’t really know well.

As usual, your friends at eHarmony Canada are here to help. Here are 15 ways you can ease up, relax and enjoy that first date:

1. Take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale—it’s an easy, effective way to reduce stress.

2. Resolve to be yourself. Of course you want to make a good first impression, but throw off all pretense and be who you are.

3. Make a plan. Remove some of the guesswork and uncertainty of a first date by having contingencies in place should the outing not go as planned.

4. Remember, this is only a meet-and-greet. Lower the pressure by keeping your expectations realistic.

5. Focus on the other person. You’ll think less about yourself if you concentrate on what your date is saying.

6. Review your best qualities. There’s no harm in giving yourself a pep talk too. You’ve got assets and abilities—take time to contemplate them.

7. Understand that you have nothing to prove. Your only goal is to be who you are and let the potential relationship unfold as it will.

8. Keep it simple. Don’t go looking for extra stress by making plans that depend heavily on the weather, traffic, other people, and so on.

9. Do a last-minute mirror check. You’ll worry a bit less if you double-check that nothing is on your face, in your teeth, or on your clothes.

10. Choose a time and place that’s comfortable. If Saturday morning lattes at the corner coffeehouse suits you (and your date) better than dinner and theater, go for it.

11. Get a pep talk from a friend. What are friends if not to bolster your courage and boost your self-esteem?

12. Forget the future. A first date is far too fragile to support expectations of a future relationship. Relax and just be here now.

13. Do something active. It can be intimidating to sit across a table from someone you don’t know, so consider a bike ride or a walk.

14. Visualize success. Take a tip from sport psychologists, who instruct athletes to mentally rehearse their optimal performance.

15. Ride out the lulls. If there are gaps in conversation or if the energy wanes, don’t worry. Dates have their own rhythm of highs and lows.

Now tell us, what works best for you?