Dating brings up a lot of nerves for most people! However, learning how to be relaxed on a date can make dating fun for you.
Dating and relaxing could not be more opposite. It sounds weird even using them in the same sentence because they so rarely go hand in hand, but it is possible to learn how to be relaxed on a date. Whenever you head out on a date and feel nervous, it is completely normal. What else is normal? When you text your friends about your date about how nervous you are, and they tell you to relax.
But what isn’t normal is actually relaxing when someone tells you to relax. Feeling relaxed on a date is like feeling relaxed on a job interview. It sounds impossible. Whether you’re dating for fun or to meet your person, you want to be on your best behavior. Being relaxed when you have to be “ON” isn’t easy.
Trying to be relaxed on a date
As I said, feeling relaxed on a date is like feeling relaxed on a job interview. Even when it’s a job you aren’t excited for or a date, you just feel lukewarm and the nerves take over. You’re spending time with someone new, getting to know them, and they’re getting to know you. Even with the least bit of vulnerability, there is always a risk of rejection.
You can go through tons of stuff to feel relaxed on a date, but still, you somehow feel panicky when getting ready to head to the restaurant and tongue-tied when you approach your date.
Trying to be relaxed on a date can include taking a shot at the bar before you meet your date, taking deep breaths in the car, or consistently reminding yourself this is just one evening. Being someone who has been on her fair share of dates and was nervous the entire time, I can tell you that that doesn’t work.
Dating, by nature, doesn’t relax you. Everything about going on a date, whether the first one or not, is nerve-racking. It is normal to feel the opposite of relaxed no matter how hard you try to feel at ease. But, you can be relaxed on a date and feel comfortable in your own skin.
It just takes a bit of confidence, reframing how you think of dates, and a desire to have fun.
How to be relaxed on a date
When I was single, even the prospect of a date would make me anxious. I would overthink every day leading up to it. I would spend hours picking an outfit that was equally as cute as it was comfortable. Then, I would vent to friends about my nerves and regret it because talking to them just made me think about it even more.
I would consider canceling the date multiple times and consider being a spinster just so I wouldn’t have to go on any more dates. But, after years of that, I met my boyfriend on a date and, honestly, never felt more relaxed, even on the very first date. How did I do it?
#1 Stay busy before. If you know you’ll overthink every detail about the date leading up to it, then don’t let yourself. Stay busy from when you plan the date until it happens.
Let a friend know about it, but don’t dwell. Pick out your outfit ahead of time and leave it at that until the day of. Worrying about the date is what makes it feel so much more important than it is.
#2 Change how you think of dates. If you are looking for your one true love through dating, it can be hard to turn off that desire. You don’t want to waste your time with someone you know you won’t like. But you also don’t want to go on a first date worrying about what school you’ll send your future kids to.
Instead of thinking of dating as a means to an end, think about it as an experience. Actually have fun instead of focusing on where things are going. For at least the first three to five dates, don’t worry about the future. Simply enjoy your experience with this person.
#3 Reason with yourself. If you’re all about being rational, this will help you. When you’re nervous, you aren’t yourself. If you go on a date feeling nervous, you’ll likely hold back. That means your fear of rejection is moot because your date wouldn’t be rejecting you but this nervous version of you.
This also means that if you make a connection, they also aren’t getting to know the real you. Remind yourself that you’re at your best when relaxed and want to date someone who enjoys your company when you feel at ease.
#4 Give yourself time. Before the date, give yourself time to unwind. Take your time getting ready and enjoy each step of your routine. Do what makes you feel relaxed. Watch reruns of your favorite sitcom, take a walk, go for a jog *then take a shower*. Create a pre-date routine that helps you release your nerves and enter the date feeling calm.
#5 There is no perfect date. No matter how many rom-coms you’ve seen, there is no such thing as the perfect date. You may have something planned or expected, but even with the best of intentions, sometimes things don’t work out.
If you go in expecting to meet your soulmate or have fireworks go off when you kiss, you will not only likely be disappointed at the end of the night, but you’ll also work yourself up. Building up the date before it even happens will stress you out to no end.
#6 Create a reminder. Once the date starts, some of those jitters will fade. You start some banter or even small talk, and you already feel better. This is wonderful, but sometimes, something happens that reignites that anxiety.
Maybe there is an awkward silence or someone farted; whatever it is, that awkwardness can be hard to handle, especially for introverts or those with social anxiety. These moments may be few and far between, but if they do arise, create a reminder to stay relaxed on a date.
When you start to fall into the fear, pinch the inside of your wrist, take a sip of water, or even excuse yourself to the bathroom to refresh. The water always helped me. I would take a sip and remind myself this is my way back to being relaxed and calm.
#7 Listen. Instead of having a story on hand to fill the silence or keep you from overthinking, actively listen. On dates, especially first dates, we can’t usually relax because we are constantly thinking about ourselves. While the other person is talking, we’re relating to what they say to us.
We even ask them questions to seem interested and not talk too much about ourselves. In learning how to be relaxed on a date, remember to listen and actually pay attention.
I’ve been on numerous dates where I couldn’t remember how many siblings he said he had, where he worked, or really anything he said because I was worried about what I was saying, making me more nervous.
#8 See what happens. If you’re a planner like me, this is hard to do. If you really like your date or even expect to, you might project your wishes onto the date. When that happens, you date a fantasy rather than the actual person.
Dating isn’t about getting another date or meeting your soulmate, it can be fun. See what happens. Maybe you don’t meet your one true love, but you meet a great friend, future coworker, or someone that can introduce you to your one true love. Who knows?
Telling you to leave it up to fate can seem harsh and a little useless when you’re trying to learn how to be relaxed on a date. Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.