Feel scared about an upcoming first date? Struggle to be your authentic self when you turn up? You’re not alone. The anxiety of first dates can make people accidentally abandon their common sense, intuition, and who they are at their core. But why? Because of all those self-sabotaging thoughts you have that can directly create anxiety and self-doubt and sometimes also because of the behaviours that you might indulge.
I recently received an email from a client, whom we’ll call ‘Anna’, stating that she was terrified about a first date she was going on the following night and wondered whether I had any last minute tips for her to revise beforehand on being confident and her authentic self. So I emailed her the 10 tips below. It turns out, Anna had a great date! The responses below are specific to Anna and the coaching conversations we’d had during two sessions, but there are likely some tips here that can help you, too. If you would like the detailed scientific reasons behind them, you’ll find them in my self-help books: Anxiety Free, Resilient Me and Happy Relationships. Further below I have added a little for you.
- Give yourself ample time to get ready and feel/look your best.
- Remind your mind what to focus on with good self-talk before-hand (and during if need be), e.g. ‘I am looking for someone who gets how lovely, fun and kind I am’; ‘I’m happy/confident being me’; ‘I’m a great catch’; ‘People love the real me’; ‘I am comfortable being my real self’; ‘I am confident in who I am’.
- When you feel like you’re not sure how to be, recall how you are with those you are your authentic self with such as close friends.
- Smile, it relaxes you and relaxes the other person.
- Remember that you can only bond when you are being authentic as otherwise people can sense something feels off and this hinders our ability to bond.
- Listen to some feel good music before you meet them, on your way there if you can.
- Remember that you are looking for someone you click with and if you don’t, it just means you need to keep looking for the right person for you.
- Trust your intuition, use your internal bodily sensations to help you.
- Be present – focus on what you’re absorbing through your senses.
- Maybe do some mindfulness meditation before hand (even just 10 mins).
Key things for you to remember:
Love and look after yourself. When we care for ourselves we reinforce a healthy self-worth and boost our self-esteem. At the same time, some self-care activities also help calm our brain and body down neurologically and physiologically, reducing stress and anxiety symptoms, for example, mindfulness meditation, listening to calming steady tempo music, and immersing yourself in sounds and/or scenes of nature.
Choose thoughts that help rather than hinder. Negative self-talk (talking negatively to ourselves) is linked with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as low self-esteem and eating disorders. Positive self-talk on the other hand is linked to a greater ability to achieve our goals. So how you use your thoughts determines how anxious you will feel and how calm and confident you will feel on your date and help it to be a success.
Be your authentic self. When you’re authentic, you attract people into your life who are aligned with who you are at your core, for example, your values and personality. What you’re looking for is whether there is a synergy between you. You either click or you don’t, it doesn’t mean you’re unloveable or they’re unloveable, it simply means you’re not meant to be in each other’s circle.
Remember also that all relationships are a feedback loop, teaching us lessons about who we are, who we want to become, and the sorts of people and relationships that we want and don’t want in our life. So connecting with people is always a good thing, as long as you learn from each interaction and relationship. And being authentic helps this.