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Tips for Getting Past Those First Date Jitters

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Going on a first date with someone can bring about a case of nervousness and anxiety that can be hard to get a handle on and control. Whether you are new to dating or just heading back into the dating scene after a long hiatus, here are some pointers that you can put in your memory to help you overcome those jitters.

Compliment your date

If you feel tongue-tied or at a loss as to what to say to your date, you can’t go wrong with a compliment. Everyone likes to be complimented. Compliments are a great way to break the ice at the beginning of the date. You can compliment your date on their appearance, their smell, their vehicle, their choice of venue, etc.

Further along on the date, you can compliment him on his manners, his personality, tastes, music preferences and more. Compliments are also great conversation starters. For instance, if you compliment your date on the type of music that is playing in his car, it can open the door to discussing favorite groups, genres, etc.

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Open your ears

Sometimes the first date jitters can inadvertently cause you to tune-out things your date is saying. Give your date your full attention and listen attentively to what he says. Listening to what your date has to say will help put those jitters on the back burner and it will help you learn things about him that is easily overlooked on a first date.

For instance, if you compliment him on his choice of restaurants and he tells you he likes the atmosphere of the place, this can give you an inside peek into his style and tastes. Or, if he makes a comment about the food reminding him of his mother’s cooking, that can open the door to discussing family.

Relax and remember to smile

The first date jitters can cause some people to be tense. While you may be doing a good job of carrying a conversation, make sure your body language is reflecting the right message. If you are wringing your hands, fidgeting or if you don’t smile, you may inadvertently be sending the message to your date that you are not comfortable.

Don’t forget to touch!

If you are on your first date and you find yourself very interested in the guy, reach out and touch him. This should be done casually, like touching his arm when you speak, or reaching out and wiping a non-existent piece of dessert off of his mouth. Small touches like this not only helps to make people feel connected, it sends the signal that you are interested — even if the touch was subtle and seemingly unconsciously done.

Make eye contact

While you shouldn’t stare so intently at your date to give him the creeps, you should make an effort to maintain good eye contact, especially when he is speaking. Making eye contact with your date will let him know that you are tuned-in to him and it will make you appear self-confident – which is something that males very much like. If you don’t gaze at him from time to time, or if when you talk to him you are constantly looking elsewhere due to nervousness, you will come across as disinterested.


Laughter can go a long way in warming people up to each other. Sometimes the first date jitters can make us immune to humor. If your date has a good sense of humor, or you are going somewhere such as to a comedy show or funny movie, don’t be afraid to laugh. Men love women who laugh.

Also, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. While you may be mortified to be walking down the sidewalk with your first date when your heel breaks and you fall, or you bump into something because you weren’t watching where you were going, laugh it off. Of course, it will be mortifying, but laughing at yourself will break the seriousness of the incident and it will put your date at ease, too.

While it is probably impossible to rid yourself completely of first date jitters, going over these pointers in your head prior to a date can help you feel more prepared. So remember, compliment your date, listen to him, smile, lightly touch him, make eye contact, and don’t be afraid to laugh. Feeling prepared when you go into a first date will help you feel more relaxed and a lot less scared. This will come out in your body language and your speech.

Recommended reading on dating

For more information and advice on dating, take a look at the following books:

Mars and Venus on a Date: The 5 Stages of Dating
Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating
It’s Just A F***Ing Date: Some Sort of Book about Dating

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