It's a date! Whether you mustered up the courage to suggest a get-together with the cutie on your bus route or it was specially arranged by one of our matchmakers at It's Just Lunch, you are probably experiencing a bit of the first date jitters. You know, that butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling. Those feelings can be exacerbated for those of us who have been out of the dating scene for a bit, wrapped in our careers or in another relationship.
The best thing about those feelings -- they're totally normal. We all want to look good and put our best foot forward. It's normal to be nervous about whether or not you kiss on the first date, who pays (hint: if it's through IJL, the check is split) or what to wear. Our minds are programmed to get us worked up by triggering anxiety over "what if" scenarios. It has helped us survive centuries.
But dating has changed, and the key to surviving first dates isn't about living through the night (at least not for the majority of us). It comes down to confidence.
Don't believe me?
Have you ever known men or women who aren't necessarily "10s" on the attraction scale, but they never lack for friends or dates? What makes them so attractive, you may wonder? Confidence. These people are glowing with bright, friendly, fun attitudes and they have a genuine interest in others. They're happy with who they are and know what they have to offer. Think of confidence as a positive energy that pulls others to you.
Self-confidence produces amazing results. Here's why:
- It's sexy
- It allows you to relax and live in the moment (not worrying about what may happen or things that were said)
- It means you take rejection lightly, not personally
- It means you're content with yourself, your looks and life, which adds to your attraction
So, how can you up your confidence for your next big date? Well, us matchmakers at It's Just Lunch Vancouver have a few ideas:
Ease Into the Evening
Many of us are going full steam ahead before rushing out the door for our lunch or dinner dates. Whoa! If you are in a hurry or rushing about, you will bring that same anxiety to the Italian restaurant with you. Slow down. Give yourself about 30 minutes to decompress from the day and shift your focus to what lies ahead. A little bit of separation will gear you up for the date and present you in a better light.
Put a Positive Spin on the Self Talk
Take a few moments before a first date to give yourself a bit of a pep talk. A new study from the University of Illinois, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology says a little bit of self talk may be the best thing to boost your dating success. According to an article on Fast Company.com, "previous studies have found self-talk can boost willpower and help you psych yourself up when you need to calm nerves" before a first date.
The study also found that the pronoun we use to talk to ourselves matters. Using the pronoun "you" when talking to yourself can help elevate your confidence and give you that "can-do" attitude.
Dating is About Enjoying Life
Approach dating as if you are looking to meet a new friend or widen your circle of contacts. By looking beyond the end goal of finding a lifemate, you will experience the joy along the way. Think of it as an experiment or trying on clothes. Not every pair of jeans is a great fit -- but when you find one that is, it lasts a lifetime. Open yourself to the idea that you are just browsing and that it doesn't have to work out. Remember it is just a date. Stay in the moment and enjoy what it offers you.
Accentuate the Positive
It's easy to spot our flaws (yet another survival technique that may be out of date). It is within our nature to notice what is lacking or missing. But not on a date. Share your strengths and unique qualities. Build yourself up rather than working on tearing yourself down. First impressions are everything. Keep the date in a positive light.
Your Date is Human Too
Remember that the person on the other end is a person too. They have emotions just like you and are most likely just as nervous. Relax in this acknowledgment. Treat the other person as you would want to be treated and, most likely, you'll have a successful evening. Even if you don't work out as lovers, perhaps you will meet a new friend. Each person we meet brings to us a new point of view, a new perspective to see the world. Even if you never meet this person again, there is something he can teach you. Try looking at your date from this perspective and you find it much easier to relax and be confident for the experience.
A genuine smile goes a long way. It's friendly, warm, open, and inviting, Try not to focus so much on the end result of the date and just be happy to be having the experience. Greet your date with a smile, smile throughout the date, and say goodbye with a smile.
This post originally appeared on It's Just Lunch Vancouver's blog.