First dates — they can be exciting, awkward, and even nerve-wracking. Maybe you’re stressed about opening up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with someone new. It can be daunting. Or perhaps you’re stressed about the logistics of the date, like where the restaurant is and what you will order.
Don’t let these pre-rendezvous nerves prevent you from having a good first-date experience. Dating can be (should be!) fun — especially if you prepare yourself at home to help calm your jitters.
Before your first date, consider doing these seven things so you can put yourself at ease.
1. Test Yourself for STIs
You never know how the night will end. Whether it concludes with a kiss on the cheek or something more intimate, it’s best to be prepared. Leading up to your date, you should assess your sexual health, and that includes testing yourself for sexually transmitted infections.
According to Nurx, if you’re sexually active, STI testing should become part of your healthcare routine. Not only can testing give you peace of mind, but it allows you to get in tune with your body. The sooner you know your results, the sooner you can begin treatment — if necessary — before an infection harms your health.
STIs and genital herpes are becoming increasingly common. Getting tested and receiving a positive result for an STI is nothing to be embarrassed about. You can perform an STI test right at home, so forget about waiting at a doctor’s office. You can get a discreetly packaged test delivered right to your doorstep without anyone knowing your business.
2. Squeeze in a Workout
If you’re feeling twitchy before your first date, shake it off with a light workout. Of course, there’s no need to train for a marathon during this pre-date workout. Instead, do some easy exercises like a couple of sets of push-ups or squats.
Getting in some brief exercise can help get your blood flowing, calm your nerves, and make you feel more confident. Exercise also releases endorphins, so you’ll be more excited for your date and less anxious.
3. Take Some Time for Yourself
After your pre-date workout, get clean and take some moments for yourself.
Draw yourself a relaxing bath or take a shower with your favorite gel. Lather on a cleansing face mask. Paint your nails with your favorite shade of polish. This is a chance to focus on you.
First impressions are everything, and by taking time and freshening yourself up, you’ll make a great one. Pampering yourself a little extra before your date can also boost your self-esteem. So not only will you look great, but you will feel great, too.
4. Figure Out Logistics
As you’re prepping for your date, take a moment to figure out the logistics. Look up where you’re meeting, how long it takes to get there, and how to get there.
If you’re driving, leave early in case you hit traffic or make a wrong turn (or turns) on the way to your destination. Allow yourself plenty of time to find a good parking spot if you’re meeting somewhere busy. Little details like these can have a big impact on first-date anxiety.
If you’re going to a bar or restaurant, use this time to look up the menu. This is important if you or your date have any food allergies or intolerances. While you’re scanning the menu, identify items to stay away from and others you want to try. If you peruse the menu before arriving at the restaurant, you can keep your focus on your date while you’re there.
This is also when you should confirm the time of your date. You don’t want to show up too early or late because you wrote the time wrong in your organizer.
5. Plan the Perfect Outfit
What we wear can have an impact on how we feel about ourselves. If you love the outfit you’re in, then chances are, you’re going to feel unstoppable. And that’s exactly how you want to feel before a first date.
When you’re selecting your outfit, take the planned activity into consideration. If you’re going on a hike, wear your comfiest boots and garments you don’t mind getting a little dirty. If you’re going to dinner and a movie, you’ll want to take it up a sartorial notch. Still, make sure to choose something you’d feel comfortable in for more than two hours.
Plan your outfit at least 24 hours before your date. The last thing you want is to think up your perfect look and discover your favorite top is buried in the dirty laundry. Whatever ensemble you choose, be sure it’s something that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
6. Charge Your Devices
As you’re getting ready for your outing, make sure your phone (and whatever other gadgets you’re bringing) are charging up.
You never know when a situation will arise where you’ll need your phone or other devices. You might want to have a camera at the ready during a walk. Or you may need to get a hold of your date to tell them about a late bus or a subway delay.
If you’re driving and don’t know the area well, you’ll want to use your phone for navigation. If it’s dead, those wrong turns might be inevitable. The next thing you know, you’ll be lost and unable to tell your date you’ll be late. Or you may not be able to navigate your way home.
Regardless of what the situation may be, having a fully charged device can save you from some unwanted stress.
7. Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Before you leave for your date, look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself that your date probably has just as many butterflies as you do.
Remind yourself that you’re worth getting to know — and give yourself a compliment. As cheesy as it may sound, a quick pep talk can help boost your morale.
As you prepare for a first date, turn on your favorite playlist, shake out the nerves, and treat yourself. First dates can bring on the jitters, but once those have passed, they can be fun and memorable experiences.