14 Date De-Stressing Rituals

Worried you’ll psych yourself out with a case of pre-date jitters? Try one of these no-fail stress-busting moves to banish nerves and pump up your confidence before stepping out for the night.

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

our plans have been made, and the meet-up point’s been confirmed… yep, this date is definitely on. And just like clockwork, that’s then the nerves set in: Will he like me? Will she think I’m dressed right? Will we be able to carry on a conversation?

There’s nothing like a little pre-date anxiety to turn those feelings of excitement for a great night out into something that’s borderline fear. Well, it’s time to nix that. Anyone who’s been on the dating scene for a while knows that you’ll
Before a date, I always practice a few minutes of visualization.
eventually discover a few ways to dismantle (or at least diminish) those panicky thoughts shooting rapidly through your mind. “Getting yourself in a positive state is essential when dating…because your attitude will emanate from you, whether you realize it or not,” says Karin Anderson, Ph.D., author of It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet. “Remember, having a positive attitude won’t assure that you’ll have a perfect date — but having a negative attitude will ensure you’ll have a bad date,” advises Anderson.

With that in mind, we asked other daters for their best ideas to help build up your pre-date stress-busting arsenal. So whether you prefer to primp, pump iron or play, feel free to grab these great ideas from real single men and women just like you — and don’t worry, date happy!

Date de-stressor #1: Visualize a great first outing together
“Before a date, I always practice a few minutes of visualization. I close my eyes and imagine the date going really well. I see myself having a good conversation with the woman, making her laugh, maybe even sharing a really great goodnight kiss (or more). I imagine acting confidently in front of my date, just as an athlete or a businessperson might imagine themselves having a great game or nailing a big presentation. It works in sports and other performance-based activities, and the same principles apply to dating. A date, after all, is also a little bit like a performance — especially the first one. If you want to learn more about visualization, check out a book called 10-Minute Toughness by Jason Selk.”
– Shawn D., Brooklyn, NY

Date de-stressor #2: Dress confidently for the part with a new outfit
“Because I’ve worked in fashion, clothes matter to me. So, I always have a new outfit when I’m going on a date, even if it’s just a shirt or a new pair of jeans or a killer pair of heels. Wearing something fresh for meeting a new guy gives me a little extra shot of confidence. Also, I have one or two friends who find it perfectly acceptable when I show them outfit after outfit after outfit until everything’s perfectly right...thank goodness for iPhones and patient pals!”
– Tina M., Red Bank, NJ

Date de-stressor #3: Practice self-distraction techniques
“Do something totally unrelated. Talking yourself up and anticipating your date too much can actually make you psych yourself out. Take the pressure off by doing something else, like checking out an early music show with a friend, going to an art gallery opening or a book reading. Not only will it take your mind off of obsessing over which shirt to wear, you’ll actually have something unique to talk about later — and it’ll show your date that you like doing interesting things on your own.”
– Alexander Poe, writer/director/star of the film, Ex-Girlfriends

Date de-stressor #4: Play with your pet(s)
“Before a date, I spend some quality time with my dog. I know that sounds funny, but you know what? My dog adores me — no matter what! Getting in a brisk walk or some play time together reminds me of the importance of having unconditional love in one’s life. A little puppy time beforehand means I’ll head into my date knowing that regardless of what happens, I’m still loved.”
Alexandra Vino, actress, New York, NY

Date de-stressor #5: Flip on Comedy Central for a few laughs
“Listening to or watching a comedy video is a great pre-date prep move. Not only do I personally do this, I’d tell the guys that I coach to do it, too! Imitating the comedians puts you in their emotional state — meaning you’re confident, charismatic, and funny. Humor also consistently tops the list of qualities women cite as being attractive, so watching a comedy show will boost your mojo…just as long as you don’t start quoting the film (which is a major faux pas for guys).”
– Jordan Harbinger, co-founder of The Art of Charm

Date de-stressor #6: Meditate on positive experiences from your romantic past
“I like to meditate before a date. When I started dating again after breaking up with an ex of mine, meditating on earlier times in my life when past
Music is huge for me... I listen right up to the minute the date begins!
boyfriends had fallen for me and we had shared a strong, positive connection was really helpful. When approaching a new date, you might have a tendency to focus on the negative aspects of relationships you’ve had or times that you’ve been disappointed or hurt in the past. But if you instead choose to meditate on the aspects of prior relationships that have been beautiful, you’ll go into the new date with a reminder of the positive characteristics of those partners and relationships that you wish to experience again.”
– Sherri T., Harlem, NY

Date de-stressor #7: Tackle your to-do list
“Personally, I remind myself that dates and relationships in general are an opportunity to give rather than get, so to speak. So what I do is make sure that I’ve taken care of everything on my ‘to do’ lists — errands, projects, calls, etc. — for that day so I don’t have any personal distractions. Then my mind can be taken off of worrying about my responsibilities and stay totally focused on the woman I’m seeing instead. One of the sweetest gifts you can give someone on a date is your undivided attention!”
– Dr. Ish Major, Miami, FL

Date de-stressor #8: Pump yourself up with an empowering pre-date playlist
“I’m in the music industry, so you know that I think it totally helps set the mood while getting ready for a date. I love listening to female-empowering songs like Alicia Keys’ single, ‘Girl on Fire,’ before I go out. It reminds me that I’m hot stuff and deserve a great guy. Music is huge for me... I listen right up to the minute the date begins!”
– Ali M., New York, NY

Date de-stressor #9: Always be a man with a date-night plan
“Men need to be prepared on dates. What are you going to do, where will you go, what about after, etc.? You can’t be the guy who doesn’t have a plan for the evening.”
– Aaron, New Haven, CT

“Men tell us that preparation is king in successful dates, and it shows. Having a plan takes some of the pressure off. The man of today isn’t without his flaws on dates, but it’s typically more on the personality side and less about going into it without a thought on how things should go.”
Christopher Brya, co-author of WTF Are Men Thinking?

Date de-stressor #10: Snap some sexy photos after dolling up for your date
“I like to take photos of myself before I go on a date after I’ve done my hair and makeup. It helps me feel sexy and confident if I take a few snaps on my iPhone looking all dolled up before I go. It allows me to see what my date will be seeing (and we know men are visual creatures), which helps me realize: Hey, I look really alluring right now! We’re going to have a great night, and not only will I be a fun date, but I’m arm candy too — he’s a lucky guy. It gives me a little extra boost of confidence and makes me feel excited for my date!”
– Britt P., Allentown, PA

Date de-stressor #11: Do some social sleuthing online
“For blind dates, I do a little Facebook and search engine-based research on the woman beforehand. Can’t hurt to do a little homework first, right?”
– Josh, Pasadena, CA

“The modern man of today is bringing more social media into his life, and this includes dating,” says Brya. “Men tell us that background ‘checking’ on their dates is growing in popularity and helps them have the kind of dating ‘intelligence’ and confidence that previously was not available — both in looks and personality factors, like which interests they share in common with the women they date.”

Date de-stressor #12: Hit the gym to sweat the stress out
“I like to go to the gym before a date. That way, I get the nerves out of my system. I do either yoga to relax or spin class to revive myself with energy.”
– Sara O., New York, NY

Date de-stressor #13: Soak your cares away in the tub
“I definitely feel my best when I’m really clean, so I would take a long bubble bath before a date. I also feel really good and relaxed after soaking in the tub…which helps me go into the date feeling less stressed about the whole thing!”
– Lynn S., New York, NY

Date de-stressor #14: Make it an event by getting properly groomed first
“I like to treat big dates in a big way. You have to be sure you’re dressed right, get your hair cut, and sometimes I’ll even get a manicure. I know it sounds bad, but women notice that stuff.”
– Brad, Dallas, TX

Kimberly Dawn Neumann ( is a popular New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Redbook, Maxim and frequently online. A certified dating/relationship coach, she’s published two books: The Real Reasons Men Commit and Sex Comes First and is the founder of She preps for dates by dancing around her apartment…in high heels!
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