Meeting someone new in person for the first time would probably give you jitters. Some will feel extremely nervous, others will have the ability to suppress these feelings and not let them overwhelm them. Which group do you belong to? Does gender play a role in causing the difference? Does age affect your level of anxiousness?

Curiosity got the best of us and we decided to create a survey to answer these questions. So for the past week, we asked our users: Would you feel nervous, anxious or worried on a first date?

Let’s take a look at the results below.

From the results above, indecisiveness seems to be more pronounced amongst women as compared to men. For women aged 18 – 25, 50% of them responded that they are unsure whether they will feel nervous or not with someone compared to the 45% from their fellow counterparts, men aged 18 – 25. As we move on to the older age group (26 – 35 years old), it became more apparent that the respondents are more nervous about their first dates. Almost 30% of women responded that they will be nervous, which is almost twice as much as their younger female counterparts. The percentage of women who are unsure remained high at nearly 50%.

For the 36 – 55 year-old age group, the respondents are generally more confident of themselves, with 31% of women and 40% of men responding with a ‘No’. The percentage of women who are unsure remained high at over 40%.

Why so?

Based on a meta-analysis across 25 studies conducted by Dr Alan Feingold (a research scientist at Oregon Social Learning Centre who wrote a paper on neuroticism), Dr Feingold found that women scored higher in terms of anxiety. This is probably why we can see that in general, more women would respond with a ‘Yes’ and ‘I’m not sure’ when they are asked if they will be nervous on their first dates.

On the other hand, research done by Dr Wiebke Bleidorn,  a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, showed that men have higher self esteem as compared to women. (More on that bit of research here) This is reflected in the survey results, where more men responded with a ‘No’ when asked if they will be nervous on their first dates.

Of course, my inferences and deductions are purely based on the survey results that we’ve gotten from our users and are not representative of the Chinese or Asian community. The point is, both men and women will feel nervous on their first dates, regardless of their gender. Here are the main reasons cited by our respondents:

“I’m afraid that we would run out of things to talk about. That would be extremely awkward!”

“I’m scared that I might not be good enough for the other person.”

“I’m scared that the other person might not be who I thought he/she would be.”

Fret not, we have some tips and tricks for you to overcome this nervousness that you will face for your first dates.

  • Prepare. If you are afraid of running out of things to talk about, why not keep a mental list of topics that will keep the conversation going? Talk about that trip you mentioned to your date while chatting online with him/her. Talking about your past experiences can help boost your confidence because you know the topic in greater detail.
  • Treat the other party as a potential friend. I find this particularly helpful. Treating the other party as a potential friend instead of a potential partner will help reduce the nerves significantly. Set your expectations appropriately, and you will decrease your level of disappointment.
  • Do something you like before your date. Ever have that lingering feeling of happiness after doing something that you enjoy? I always feel exhilarated after a game of basketball (basketball is my favorite sport) and would generally be in a better mood. Being in a better mood will decrease your level of stress and calm your nerves, which can spillover to your date. Just don’t tire yourself out beforehand!
  • Make a post-date plan. Set a time constraint for your date. It will be easier for you to face the prospect of a first date if you know that no matter what, you will need to leave to do something else by a certain time. If the date goes well, you will look forward to your next date even more. If not, well, at least you have plans after that!

Do you guys have any other tips to overcome first date jitters? Leave them in the comments section below.

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