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Dating Anxiety: 7 Stages of First Date Panic & How to Calm Them

The momentum leading up to a first date is exciting and nerve-wracking. If you’ve experienced dating anxiety, these emotions are probably already familiar!

Dating Anxiety

Just because you might be experiencing the panic of first date jitters, does not mean that it is a bad thing. It just means your emotions are running wild and full of anticipation of what is to come. This is what is called dating anxiety. And it’s exciting to date, knowing you might develop a relationship with this person.

It’s great to put yourself out there in the dating pool, to learn what you want and what you definitely don’t want in a relationship. That’s what first dates are about after all. Weeding out the ones you’re not into, in favor of ones you might potentially start a relationship with.

It’s the fact this person you’re going on a date with might be your next significant other that gives you these anxiety-inducing feelings!

Things we feel nervous about on a first date

Are your nerves on edge right before you head to that date? Don’t worry, these feelings are pretty common! [Read: 14 signs you’re ruining your first dates unknowingly]

#1 Deciding on what to wear. You may not have the super chic, awesome closet that Cher does in Clueless to help you pick out a great first date outfit, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to wear something amazing.

We all know deciding what to wear is a huge process. We try on too many outfits to count, constantly analyzing ourselves in the mirror over and over again.

But here’s a trick that helps you along in this process: the next time you try to decide what to wear on a first date, take a picture of yourself in the outfit you’re considering. See how you like it in the photo. If you don’t like it in the photo, don’t wear it! Simple as that. [Read: First dates moves that will guarantee a second date]

#2 Breath check. We’ve all had bad breath at one point or another. It’s safe to say we also know how terrible it feels *and smells*.

If you are going on a first date, you’d probably brush your teeth about 10 times. Of course, once you’re on your date, you’ll constantly find yourself wondering if your breath smells.

A few ways to avoid bad breath by the end of the night *in case you have a first date kiss* is to not order tuna, avoid drinking coffee, and staying away from anything with lots of onions or garlic. If you avoid these things, you’ll probably be okay and avoid the whole bad breath situation! Drinking lots of water helps, too. [Read: 11 signs of a bad kisser and 15 fail proof remedies]

#3 Fear of being stood up. If you’ve ever watched any 80s movies, you are familiar with the panic that comes with being stood up. No one wants to be stood up. It doesn’t matter if your date is supposed to meet you somewhere or pick you up. When you’re waiting for someone to show up and they aren’t exactly on time, a minute feels like an hour.

If your date is worthy of your time, they’ll pick you up or meet you right on time. If something happens to make them late, they definitely call or text you to give you a head’s up.

If the person you’re going on a first date with doesn’t let you know they’re running late and hasn’t shown up after 30 minutes have passed, then get up out of your seat, and walk away with your dignity. They don’t deserve your time, let alone a date with you. [Read: How to avoid getting stood up on a date – Everything you need to know]

#4 Kissing capabilities. One of the biggest panics of a first date includes wondering if there will be an end of the night first kiss, and if so, what it will be like. This takes up a lot of room in your brain during your conversation, but it’s important to remain cool, calm, and collected.

And if your date doesn’t go in for a kiss at the end of the night, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. Maybe they just want to take it slow, or maybe they were too nervous.

If you do happen to kiss at the end of the night, remember it may not be perfect. Don’t quit on someone just because you two parted ways with a partial kiss. [Read: 15 secrets to make your first kiss really memorable]

#5 Embarrassment. No one likes being embarrassed, especially on a first date. Sometimes things happen that we really have no control over. Obviously, you don’t want to be the one who walks out of the restroom with toilet paper stuck to their shoe. And you don’t want spinach stuck between your teeth while animatedly talking to your date.

Just keep in mind that these things happen, no matter how careful you are with what you do. It’s best to just laugh it off when you have a blunder. At least your date knows you have a sense of humor.

#6 Worrying. Worrying is like a rocking chair, it keeps you occupied while getting you nowhere. If you constantly wonder what your date thinks of you—if you chose the right outfit, if they’re going to pay for your meal, or anything else—you won’t be able to really enjoy your date. Remember it’s a first date, and it’s okay to be nervous.

Stop wondering about what your date is thinking. Guess what? You aren’t a mind reader. No one is. Take a deep breath, and order that second glass of wine to calm your nerves if you need to. [Read: 20 ways to perfect your first date conversation]

#7 Nervous nitpicking. First date anxiety leads to bouts of insecurity. One of the worst ways you battle insecurity is by nitpicking your date’s flaws to make you feel better. No one is perfect. If you have a checklist of requirements the person you want to end up with has to meet, you’ll probably not find them. [Read: 13 warning signs to look out for in the first few dates]

If you scrutinize your date from head to toe and find yourself thinking things like, “She’s got a great personality, but I’m not so sure about her weight,” or “He’s nice and all, but he’s a few inches too short for my liking.” Ask yourself if your date is the problem, or if you are.

After all, it’s just the first date. You might end up overlooking their perceived flaws once you get to know them better!

[Read: 15 of the most memorable things to do on a first day]

Remember, dating is fun. First dates are especially fun, and if it ends up going really well, all these emotions will be worth it, even if you don’t end up together. Just like anything in life, if you want something to happen, put yourself out there with confidence!

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Charley Reid
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