8 Tips to Work Through Your First Date Nerves

When you’re playing the dating game and meeting new people, the first date nerves are SO real. 

It’s scary having to meet someone, judge them, have them judge you, and then decide if you want to judge each other again over dinner another day??? Nooo thank you. But also, yes plz — because you’d really like to find a partner. The only thing getting in your way is your anxiety about it all! 

If you’ve got new relationship anxiety, we have some awesome and super helpful tips on how to overcome and push past that dating anxiety!

1. Be Kind to Yourself

Guess what? Everyone feels anxious before a date. EVERYONE. Even if your date looks calm, cool, and collected, they’re probably a bundle of nerves, too! And anyone who says they don’t get nervous is probably a liar and you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, thank you very much. 

When you struggle with anxiety when dating someone new, the whole process can fill you with self-doubt. Not only are you seeing if you actually like this person, you’re also saying, Hey…do you like me? Am I good enough? I’m cute, right? It’s a vulnerable situation where you could either be rejected, or there’s no spark and you feel like it was a total waste of time. So yes, it’s normal and completely okay to feel anxious when dating. Give yourself the space to feel all the emotions you’re experiencing. You’re not alone, we promise!

2. Reframe Negative Thoughts

Anxious thoughts tend to pop up outta nowhere at the WORST times. It’s like just when you’re starting to feel confident for this date, looking cute AF, your mind starts listing all of the possibilities that could go wrong. What if I embarrass myself? What if the date is super awkward? What if they’re not attracted to me?

Social anxiety and dating is a not-so-fun mix. Let’s turn those anxious thoughts around and keep in mind the date could go right instead! What if we hit it off? What if we have a ton in common? What if we wanna see each other again? Hey, that’s better! Also, keep in mind that just because dating someone doesn’t work out, it DEFINITELY doesn’t mean you’re an undateable little gremlin. 

3. Journal 

Grab your pens and papers everyone because it’s our favourite time of the day — journaling time! Journaling is a 10/10 practice for exploring your feelings, especially when you’re anxious about dating. You can journal to help determine what is causing you anxiety, follow prompts on how to love yourself, and even learn more about yourself as a person. You might think you know yourself, but trust us, when you journal, you can write down some surprising things! 

To help your dating anxiety, you can journal out your worst-case scenario on a date. Maybe that’s being stood up, having wine thrown on you, or maybe even being kidnapped. Journal it out and walk away, then come back later when you’re less anxious and analyze if that fear is realistic. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. 

Also, take some time to journal about your worth! Instead of asking yourself, “Why is dating so hard?” you should be asking, “What are the many ways I’m super freaking dateable?” You need to recognize all of the amazing things that you have to offer—and if someone doesn’t see them, go back to that list to boost your confidence and know that this person missed out on a BADDIE! 

4. Talk It Out

In the days, hours, minutes leading up to the date, you might still have those nerves. Before you start typing out an elaborate text to your date about how your sister’s three-legged cat ran away and you’re so sorry but you’re gonna have to cancel, pause first. Take a deep breath. Do a mindfulness exercise to slow down all those racing thoughts (we have free ones in the DiveThru app, btw). FaceTime or text your bestie about how you’re so anxious for this date so they can hype you up and reassure you that it’s not as big of a deal as you think.

Make an escape plan with your friend just in case the date ends up being a total disaster. Choose an emoji or code word to text them if you need to get outta the date but have no idea how. This can be their signal to call or text you with an excuse to leave (probs steer clear of the three-legged cat story, though). You probably won’t have to use it, but just knowing your friend is on standby for you will put your mind at ease!

If you’re struggling with your anxiety and you’ve been seeing someone (that you’re comfy with) for a while then don’t be afraid to open up! Ask them if you can lay your anxieties out on the table. And you know what? If they really like you and respect you, they’ll only meet you with tons of love, kindness and understanding. UGH SO CUTE!

5. Use Movement to Work Through Nerves

If you want to know how to stop being nervous, think about how your nerves make you feel. Jittery? Excited? Breathing faster than normal? Heart racing? Can’t stop your leg from bouncing? A little bit of movement can help you work out the energy!

Oh, and just to clarify, this is NOT about you needing to look a certain way to date, because fuck that. We’re not about toxic diet culture at DiveThru. You are hella dateable exactly as you are!!

The reason we recommend a bit of movement, in whatever way makes you happy, is to get rid of some of the excess energy. Your adrenaline is pumping! Your body is kicking into fight or flight mode. Moving around can help your body and brain use that energy and bring you back to a semi-relaxed state. So go for a walk, have a living room dance party, or do a quick yoga flow—whatever you enjoy! 

6. Have a Safety Net

If you think that your dating anxiety is going to get the best of you, plan ahead and have an excuse to leave. Maybe you only want the date to be an hour, so you arrange to meet at a restaurant an hour before they close. Then you can fake not knowing that the place closes so soon, and your date is none the wiser!

If you’re afraid that you won’t have anything to talk about, choose to have a date in a public setting. That way you can people-watch your little hearts out and always have something to talk about!

If you’re worried about your physical safety, meet in a public place that makes you feel secure. Text your friends updates about where you are and when, just so someone knows your whereabouts. You can even invite your friends to be on a “fake date” near you to make you feel more comfortable meeting a total stranger. 

And, text or call a friend if you’re really nervous when you get to the date spot! There is absolutely zero shame in asking to be hyped up a lil’ bit. Having a reassuring call with your bestie might be just the thing that you need! 

7. Be Yourself

PSA: You don’t need someone to “complete” you. Let’s say that again louder for the people in the back. YOU DON’T NEED ANYONE TO COMPLETE YOU!! You, just as you are, are worthy of love, respect, and happiness — with or without a partner. To be yourself is to know yourself AND know how great you are.

Also, being yourself means knowing your morals, values, and what you want in a partner. If your date doesn’t have those things, it’s okay to say that you don’t want to see them again. What you want and need in a partner are totally valid and you shouldn’t have to settle!

If someone doesn’t like you when you’re being yourself, it doesn’t mean that you’re undesirable. Think about a movie you saw that you weren’t big on that everyone else raved about. Does that mean the movie is bad? Nope! It just means that it’s not for everyone. You’re not gonna be for everyone, but you’re gonna be loooved by some people, and that’s all that matters! 

8. Enjoy the Process

Dating can be scary… but it can also be sooo fun! There’s the excitement of meeting someone new, the butterflies when making plans AND getting to spend time with this person that you really like!

If you’ve been with this person for a little while, enjoy spending some quality time with them. Enjoy this time dedicated to just the two of you! The beginning of a relationship is so sweet and exciting, and you’ll look back at it years later with fondness.

But if it’s all a bit too overwhelming, know that you can always cancel. You don’t have to totally CANCEL cancel, but you can reschedule or offer up a more anxiety-friendly suggestion. Listen to what your body and mind need, and if it’s not right for you to go on this date, it’s not right for you! And that’s okay!

In the words of Lady Gaga, you’re “talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before…” and honestly, SHE SPEAKS THE TRUTH! We 100% believe that you are all of these things and we hope that you see it too! You deserve happiness, healthy love, exciting dates, and maaaagical romance.


7 Ways Empaths Can Take Care of Their Mental Health

Empaths are a misunderstood bunch. Pretty much everyone can feel empathetic toward their fellow humans. But what about a level of empathy where you mirror other people’s emotions, have a hard time in crowded places, and need a lot of time and space to calm yourself down?? If you find yourself overwhelmed by your surroundings when other people seem fine, you might be an empath. 

Being an empath can take a toll on your mental health. You’re processing everything, all at once, at every angle, more than the average person. Sooo, how do you take care of yourself? 

We’ll break down what an “empath” is, the traits of an empath, and some coping strategies for empaths, so you can take care of yourself and continue to be your nurturing, caring, amazing selves. 

What Is an Empath?

What exactly is an “empath,” besides a solid gold TikTok trend?

The word actually originated in science fiction! It was first seen in a 1956 novel called The Empath by J.T. McIntosh. In the novel, empaths are people who can read emotions in the same way a “telepath” can read thoughts. If you’re a Trekkie, you’ll know that empaths exist in Star Trek too, with characters like Deanne of Troy. 

The word has transitioned from sci-fi to real life. The science isn’t conclusive on whether or not “true empaths” exist, referring to people who can accurately pick up on other people’s feelings and take them on. For those who believe in spirituality, being an empath can take on a whole other meaning with psychic awareness and connections to people. For many psychologists, “empath” is a label for someone who is highly empathetic, or more empathetic than average. For this article, we’ll stick with psychology.

Origins and definitions aside, what are the traits of an empath?

Traits of an Empath

For those who consider themselves empaths, the traits are more than just crying at the first ten minutes of Up, or knowing that your partner is upset when they show clear signs of anger. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, author of An Empath’s Survival Guide, some of the signs of an empath include:

  • Getting overwhelmed by other people’s emotions
  • Being able to pick up on others’ emotions very easily
  • Mirroring other people’s emotions or movements
  • Feeling overwhelmed by loud and crowded places
  • Needing space and time for yourself to calm down

It’s like regular empathy turned up to 11. While this can make your interpersonal relationships really great, it can also be hard to deal with. So how do you take care of your mental health when your empathy is off the charts?? 

7 Coping Strategies for Empaths

So how do you take care of your mental health when your empathy is off the charts?? 

1. Have Some “Me Time”

When you’re a highly sensitive person, it can be suuuper exhausting to feel everyone else’s emotions, plus dealing with construction noise, your neighbour’s dog barking, your roommate chewing at the volume of a jet engine taking off… it’s all too freaking much!

Some “me time” where you take care of yourself, by yourself, is much needed. You can go on a nature walk to enjoy the quiet, book a spa day, or take a bath when you have the place to yourself. Get rid of all those chaotic and disruptive distractions for a while and just breathe. 

2. Avoid Overstimulating Situations

Not every overstimulating situation is avoidable. If they’re doing road work outside of your home, you can’t exactly march outside and tell them to stop. It’d be a great story if you tried, though. 

Overstimulating, loud, and crowded places can be triggers for empaths. If you know that a certain event or crowded area won’t mesh with you, let your friends know that you’ll skip it this time, or that you’ll head home early. It’s healthy to know your limits and stick with it! Being hesitant to be in a loud and crowded place is 100% understandable. Tell your bestie that you’ll catch them for a chill brunch tomorrow. Plus, you save yourself some money and avoid the hangover. It’s a win-win! 

3. Look Out for People Taking Advantage of Your Empathy

If you’re an empath, make sure you check in with yourself after you spend time with certain people. How do you feel? Exhausted? Insecure? Guilty? If you have a bunch of negative feelings when you spend time with someone but can’t really put your finger on why, it might be a sign of emotional manipulation (or just a shitty friendship). Empaths can attract people who will take allllll the support, encouragement, and reinforcement, and give nothing in return. 

We know you wanna be there for them but you’ve also got to think about you! No matter what the other person is dealing with, make sure you’re checking in with yourself and your feelings, and setting any boundary you need. Speaking of—

4. Set and Enforce Your Boundaries

If you’re an empath, you might find boundary-setting to be super challenging. If your friend is going through a tough time and venting for hours on end, you want to be there for them, even if you don’t really have the emotional bandwidth to handle it that day. 

Let’s make one thing very clear: setting boundaries does not make you a bad friend, family member, partner, or loved one. In fact, setting boundaries can improve your relationships because you feel good about your interactions, never put yourself out when you don’t have the capacity for it, and have a clear, mutual respect going on. 

If you don’t have the emotional capacity to listen to a stressed friend rant about their day, you can say, “I care about you, and want you to feel better, but I’m not able to take this in today. Can we talk another day?” Simple, clear, respectful of them, and it shows that you care. We love to see it. 

Like we said before, it’s gonna feel hella uncomfortable at first, but trust us when we say that setting boundaries will reeeeally help you and your relationships in the long run. 

5. Communication Is Key

This goes hand-in-hand with boundaries. You can’t set a boundary without communicating, right? Unless you build a literal fence, or cover your ears when someone starts talking… but let’s avoid those methods if we can. Communication is important in our relationships with others, like resolving fights and standing up for yourself.

People with a lot of empathy can pick up on what other people are feeling, and may find themselves in a people-pleasing mode because they want other people to be okay. But are you okay?? 

If you’re exhausted, overstimulated, or frustrated by someone else’s behaviour, you gotta communicate! Even if you think it will elicit a negative reaction. You can always communicate in a way that’s as constructive and reasonable as possible. Just like your boundaries, you are totally justified in speaking your mind and letting people know how you really feel. 

6. Practice Mindfulness

Absorbing everything around you at a couple notches higher than average can become too much at times. One of the best things you can do as an empath is to practice mindfulness!

Mindfulness is all about bringing your attention to how you feel in that very moment. No one else’s emotions or worries, none of the stress of your work or school, and all your focus on you. It can help ground any anxiety or stress you feel and build calm. As an empath, that’s suuuper helpful when you take on so much from everything and everyone.

It seems like it’s a big, intimidating practice to get into, but you just gotta start small! You can do our (free) Daily Dive in the DiveThru app to fit mindfulness into your day, in anywhere from 1 minute, 3 minute, or 10 minute lengths. Or you can take a mindful walk in nature, leaving your AirPods at home, and noticing the sights and sounds around you as you bring your attention to your body and your breath. Practice makes perfect! If you start small and stay consistent, you’ll be able to get into a calm mindset easier with time.

7. Go to Therapy

Mindfulness, communication, and setting boundaries is all well and good, but what if you struggle with those things? It doesn’t come easy to most empaths—especially if you’re dealing with someone in your life who won’t take boundaries, or any perceived criticism, very well. If you’re having a hard time handling your highly empathetic personality, going to a therapist can have major benefits for you.

A therapist is there to help you learn how to manage your empathy, self-regulate, and feel okay with setting boundaries and communicating. They’ll help you stay empathetic while taking care of yourself! The best of both worlds, Hannah Montana-style (sorry if we just got that song stuck your head, but at least it’s still a banger).

Being an empath can be powerful and positive, but it can also have drawbacks. So remember to take care of your mental health while you navigate your highly empathetic life!