First dates can be exciting, overwhelming, and terrifying all at once. Even if you are familiar with the person you are dating, a first date can encourage plenty of jitters and concerns: will you have enough to talk about? Will there be a second date? What if you don't hit it off at all? Should you cancel to rule out anything bad happening?
The minutes and hours following your first date can be similarly alarming; once the date is over, do you keep your distance and wait for a follow-up? If it didn't go well, do you let your date know immediately? The time following a first date can be extremely important for a fledgling relationship and can either create enormous amounts of anxiety for you or set your mind at ease. What exactly should you do following the first date?
Evaluating Your Experience
One of the best things to do following the first date is to evaluate your experience. Although it can be tempting to comb through every single aspect of your conversation during your date and all the cues you think you may have noticed, this can create even more anxiety and might produce an uncomfortable, unfortunate loop. Instead of focusing on the things you cannot know and cannot control, take some time to think about how you felt on your date.
While you were with your date, did you enjoy your time? Did you feel listened to, excited, and at ease? Although spending time with a veritable stranger can initially be awkward, uncomfortable, or unsettling if your date did not make space for you to speak or did not put you at ease with positive body language and a welcoming attitude, these could be indications that the date did not go well.
Your date's experience is extremely important; before deciding on how to proceed, allow yourself to dig deep and determine what it is that you want to do. If you were uncomfortable but feel obligated to contact your date or go on another outing, that is a definite red flag. If you feel pressured in any way, that is also a red flag. Conversely, if you feel excited (though still, perhaps, nervous), and you enjoyed your time, this is a positive sign. Make sure you listen to yourself and your needs.
If you decide that you are not comfortable going on a second date, let your date know as soon as you do after taking the time to evaluate how you feel. Just as it is irresponsible and unkind to intentionally leave someone in the dark about positive emotions, ghosting and similar behaviors are not mature or reasonable ways to let a date know that you are not interested. Instead, direct and simple communication is ideal. You can call your date or even send a quick text that thanking them for taking the time to go out, but lets them know that you will not be going on a second date.
If you felt in any way unsafe or deeply uncomfortable on your date, and you do not feel safe reaching out to your date again, your safety and comfort take precedence. In these cases, simply not reaching out to your date again might be the best course forward.
Suppose you want another date, great! The protocol is extremely similar: communicate! Reach out to your date with a text or a call, thank them for your date, and express your desire to have a second date. This does not have to be particularly effusive or over-the-top; simply saying "thank you" and "I'd like to see you again" will likely suffice.
If your date does not respond after you've reached out, that is okay, too. You can wait for another response, try again in a day or two, or chalk up your date to a lovely experience and move on from the idea of a new relationship.
Gauging Your Date's Reactions
Your date behaved during your time together can offer you a small window into how compatible the two of you are. This can be an important component in making your decision, as you do want to take the likelihood of your partnership working well into account. Although quick flings can be fun, they can also be painful for one or both parties, and making sure that you and your date are both happy, comfortable, and emotionally safe is the best course of action.
If your date was happily engaging you in conversation, asked a lot about your life, and was using language that suggested additional meetings, the odds are that he or she was having just as a great a time as you. If your date seemed sour, uncomfortable, or unusually quiet, that could indicate that your date is not excited at the prospect of another date.
Evaluating your date's behavior-based entirely upon what you observed versus what you imagine is pivotal when trying to glean a sense of whether your date is interested in the possibility of a relationship with you. The human imagination is a wonderful thing, but it can get in the way of happiness and comfort when relationships are involved, as the human imagination can turn the smallest of interactions into a declaration of love or a declaration of hate. Avoid your imagination and focus on observable facts and behaviors.
If you are still unsure about your date and whether you want a second, take a few days to figure it out. You don't have to immediately reach out to your date; instead, wait to reach out until you know what you want. If you are uncertain, you can wind up making a decision you'll regret, and you could wind up hurting the person you're considering. Instead, consider the amount of time it takes you to be yourself in a relationship, and understand that your date might be experiencing a warming-up period, too. People can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to relax and show their colors to the people around them, so if you are unsure (and don't feel a definite "no" regarding your date), give it some time.
Be True To Yourself
Rather than combing through Cosmopolitan archives to figure out what to do, be honest with yourself and honest with your date. If you believe that men and women are equal partners in a relationship deciding to buck gender roles, it would be disingenuous to behave as though you are a damsel waiting to be rescued. If you prefer a confident and take-charge woman in her approach, allow your date to pursue you first.
There are bound to be communication hiccups in any relationship, but do your best to be honest and straightforward about who you are and what you want. You do not have to tell your date that you want to be married within the next two years, and want between 3 and 6 children on your first date, as this type of information can be overwhelming. Still, you will both go into the relationship better equipped if you are honest about your wants and needs. If you are looking for an actual relationship, let your date know. If you are hoping for something laid back and low key, without a formal definition, this is great information to communicate, too.
Although a first date can feel something like an interview or an audition, treating it this way can mean playing a dangerous game, by creating unrealistic expectations for both of you; your date might anticipate certain behaviors and ideas that you do not actually possess or indulge, and you might expect certain reactions from him or her that are based on false perceptions.
Most people experience at least a little bit of first date anxiety. Whether you've known your date for years, or you are going out with a practical stranger, there is bound to be some amount of anxiety involved. A first date can feel as intense and overwhelming as an audition or an interview and is something of both: you are testing the waters to determine whether you and someone else are initially compatible, presumably to be followed up with additional compatibility tests. Despite the pressure often associated with first dates, they do not have to be the be-all, end-all of a relationship. More than the date itself, your feelings and opinions about your date and time together matter in pursuing a relationship.
If you find that your anxiety is overwhelming or seems to be progressing past the point of typical anxious behavior, you may be able to benefit from a meeting or session with a therapist or counselor. While some amount of anxiety is expected in this kind of situation, overwhelming fear, terror, feelings of doom, or feeling paralyzed due to anxiety are reactions that might warrant further investigation and additional outside help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Did A First Date Go Well?
Before, during, and after a first date, date nerves or date jitters are widespread. If your date nerves have you overanalyzing or worrying about the details of your first date after the fact, you’re not alone!
The first date went well if you and your date enjoyed yourselves and got to know each other better. Even if you decide not to go out again, a nice first date story or experience can be great for your own mental health and self-esteem.
When it comes to sex relationships dating, and otherwise communicating with others, we have more options than ever before (online dating, long-distance dating, etc.). One person’s first date story likely won’t be the same as anyone else’s, so it’s not necessarily healthy to compare your experiences to those of others.
A good piece of dating advice is to go on a date with a positive attitude and a sense of confidence. You can do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel more confident - fashion beauty or dressing up, wearing a nice outfit, shaving, etc. - so long as it works for you. It’s important to remember that, even though you’re likely nervous, the other person wants to be on the date with you (and is likely nervous too!)
Rather than over-analyzing your date and thinking yourself in circles, try to stay in the present and enjoy this fun, new romance with unlimited potential.
Do Guys Feel Nervous On First Dates?
Date jitters and date nerves are basically a universal experience! Anyone can experience date nerves, and you’ll likely deal with them at least a little. It’s perfectly natural to be nervous; you’re meeting someone you like potentially for the first time, and you likely want to impress them.
If you’re wondering if men feel nervous before dates, or to what degree, it can help realize that the way we think about men in relationships is often slightly skewed. For example, when it comes to sex relationships and dating, many men are taught that they should be the ones to make the first move - these sorts of stereotypes can make us think that male partners are much more confident than we are, but that’s not necessarily the case. Men, just like any other group of people, are not a monolith. They don’t all think and act the same way; they are complex and nuanced people- just like everyone else. And that’s part of what makes dating so fun. You can get to know an entirely different, unique person in an intimate way.
Different people express their confidence in different ways. For instance, fashion beauty and dressing up might help one person feel more self-assured, but for others, fashion beauty and dressing up might feel like something out of character and make them more uneasy. A good piece of dating advice is to do what makes you feel happy and confident, even if it seems unconventional.
Another good thing to keep in mind is that the way we date has changed a lot within the past few decades. Online dating and long-distance relationships, for instance, are becoming increasingly common. With the presence of online dating and long-distance relationships, first dates can be even more stressful. Overall, there are lots of factors that can affect date nerves for all genders.
Are First Dates That Are Awkward Normal?
Yes, nerves before a first date are completely normal. Date nerves can make a date feel a little tense, awkward, or just uncomfortable, even if you really like the person you’re with. That is completely normal and expected. Dealing with date nerves can be difficult, but it’s a totally normal part of relationships dating and getting to know others.
First dates can be awkward for lots of reasons. For one thing, if it’s the first time you’re meeting someone in person, there’s a lot of pressure and anxiety to be felt about what someone will be like, how they’ll like you, and how you can best impress them.
A good piece of dating advice to keep in mind is that both parties are likely experiencing the same level of nerves on a first date. Try to be patient with yourself; being nervous, saying things that are a little awkward, or anything else that you might perceive as annoying or embarrassing is just a normal part of being a human in this sort of situation.
The pressure can be especially tense when you’re dealing with online dating. Meeting someone you’ve not met in person (and might not have actually talked to much in general) can be a big challenge of transitioning from online dating to in-person dating. These sorts of situations can be extra challenging for those with anxiety.
A good way to help boost your self-confidence before a first date is to practice self-care (in whatever form that might take - fashion beauty or even just taking a hot bath). Setting yourself up to feel your best is a great way to help yourself loosen up, and you’ll project confidence as well.
Remember, if your nerves go beyond nerves, and you worry that you genuinely don’t feel safe meeting up with someone, then feel free to cancel and reach out to a loved one to express how you feel. There is no reason to feel pressured into meeting up with someone who you aren’t comfortable around or worry you don’t know well enough, and sometimes you’ll be very glad that you trusted your gut.
When it comes to sex relationships and dating, it’s important not to compare yourself to others or hold yourself to those standards. Every date story and relationship is different. What matters is that you feel good and are having fun!
How Do You Know If The First Date Went Well?
Date jitters and date nerves can sometimes make us feel less than confident both during and after a date. Try not to overthink things too much; if your first date was enjoyable and you feel like you got to know your date, it’s safe to say that it went well.
Sex relationships and dating can be very confusing and stressful, so it’s easy to analyze everything we say or do in the presence of our love interest. After all, our main goal when around them is usually to make them like us. Focusing too much on this mentality can be toxic, though.
When dealing with a date, whether it be online dating, a long-distance relationship, or something completely new, it’s normal to feel like you’re having a hard time being yourself right away. Still, it can help practice self-care (fashion beauty or dressing up, for example) and try to focus on being your most authentic, honest self.
The best dating advice to give to someone is often to be themselves and focus on getting to know the other person. Whether you’re meeting for the first time because of a long-distance or just going on a date with a former friend, you’ve got this! Try not to think yourself into a hole by over-analyzing the early phases of your relationship. Just enjoy the present moment, and have a good time.
Who Should Text First After A First Date?
There really is no rule for who should text first after a date; a good bit of dating advice is to take the first step if your partner isn’t doing so, even if it feels uncomfortable. Two nervous people who are too afraid to speak up might like each other very much but still, struggle to initiate conversation or even propose another date.
Sex relationships dating, and socializing are scary for many people, and because there is no rule book, knowing what to do can feel unattainable sometimes. No matter what your date nerves tell you, if you’re in a relationship with someone or dating someone, it’s safe to assume they like you too and want to spend time around you.
Sometimes digital communication is very important. Those who use online dating tools, for example, rely on them heavily. Still, you don’t have to be doing online dating to worry about your texts to someone else. You’re certainly not alone!
Remember- your relationship is between you and this other person. The opinions of strangers should not have any serious sway over how you handle your adoration for someone. Learn how to read your partner, listen to them. Test the waters and flirt, then see how they respond. This will keep you from taking a big step and putting pressure on this person before you really know how they feel.