how to cope if you are scared of meeting someone for the first time

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In this blog we will discuss a few steps you can take if you are scared of meeting someone for the first time. 

Tips on how to cope if you are scared of meeting someone for the first time

Meeting someone for the first time can be nerve wrecking. With these feelings of excitement and curiosity, you might also be feeling scared and nervous. 

You might be dealing with thoughts of apprehension, fears of making mistakes or making a fool out of yourself, or even struggling with the question of “will they like me?” “What if they don’t like me?” 

Whatever your fears might be, here are a few things you can do to cope with the anxiety and nervousness of meeting someone for the first time:

Remind yourself that this is normal

First thing is first, remind yourself that it is very very normal for you to feel nervous or scared about meeting someone for the first time. 

Kinda like trying out new things, that comes with some nervousness, fear, and excitement all rolled into one, meeting someone for the first time comes with these same feelings and it is perfectly okay. 

It is most likely that this individual will also be feeling the same exact way as you- they might be more nervous than scared or more excited than nervous. Whatever you might be feeling, you won’t be the only one. 

Communicate with them

If this is in the context of a blind date that your friends have set up or you are meeting your online date for the first time, the first thing you can do is to get in touch with them. 

Get their contact details, introduce yourself and have a little chat about the time, the place etc- just to get a feel of who they are. While it might seem a little weird, choose to give them a call rather than chatting with them. 

Having a direct conversation, even if it is through the call, can help you get familiar with their tone, their energy levels etc- at this point anything that can familiarise yourself to them is a win. 

Admit that you are scared

Let them know that you are nervous in advance. Be open about the way you feel and about how nervous or scared you are about the situation, that meeting people for the first time is something new for you etc. 

Admitting that you are feeling a certain way is a great way to assert control over your situation, by admitting it you are being honest and authentic in the way you are establishing this meeting early on. 

It also allows the other person to set their own ideas and expectations in accordance to your own and it corrects any disparity. For example, you might be a confident individual over text, however, your fears might get in the way during a real life meeting, so letting them know early will only put you at an advantage. 

Admitting these feelings might open up an avenue of open communication with this individual who might also admit that they are feeling similarly. 

Clarify expectations

Talk to them about what you hope the meeting will be like and what you are comfortable with and what you are not comfortable with. 

Let them know that this meeting will include lunch or dinner and take this time to understand what their expectations are as well. 

Discuss your comfort levels related to personal space, touch, time, and what happens after the meal or after the meet up etc. Be open about your expectations and your boundaries while also allowing the space for them to be open as well.

Remind yourself that this is not an exam

Oftentimes we are most scared of being evaluated by other individuals and find ourselves negatively evaluated. We are afraid that they might look at us and realise that we aren’t what they want, that they might reject us, and disapprove of us. 

These thoughts and these fears are what makes us so afraid of meeting new people or making new friends because we often see it as an evaluation and not a chance of meeting people simply to get to know each other. 

So remind yourself that this is a chance for you and the other person to get to know each other, to understand each other and if you both find that what you have gotten to know about the other person is not what either of you wanted, then that is perfectly fine as well. 

Excited not scared

Another thing that you can do is to think differently about the situation that the anxiety that you are feeling is from a positive experience of excitement and not fear. Allow this thought to consume you rather than the feelings of fear. 

Try focusing on the positive possibilities of this meeting, the start of something new and allow yourself to feel an optimistic excitement about it. 

Challenge your thoughts

Those thoughts about not being liked, and those thoughts about being rejected that seem to be feeding your fear are simply that- thoughts. While the feelings of fear are real, the thoughts that cause these feelings are not real. 

They are simply assumptions that you have been making about a scenario that has not happened yet. So when that happens, you have every right to challenge these thoughts.

When you think, “What if they don’t like me?” come along, remind yourself that they don’t even know you yet. If you fear rejection, remind yourself that rejection is simply redirection- if this person doesn’t like you, it does not mean no one else will. 

Relax

Get into some relaxation techniques- deep breathing, meditating- whatever can help you calm down whenever you are flooded with the fear of meeting people for the first time. Engage in these activities instead of worrying and allowing yourself to panic. 

Exercise

Along with feelings of anxiety and fear, comes excess energy that often spills over as more anxieties and more fears- so get yourself moving and engage in activities that can help you expel all these excess energy. You can try running, yoga, going to the gym, dancing, etc. 

Set an intention.

Set a positive intention about meeting this person. Let your intention be something else other than being liked or accepted. Make an intention that allows you to grow as an individual. 

For example, your intention for this meeting can be something like “I am going to allow myself to experience what it is like to meet someone new.” or it could be something like “I am going to enjoy this dinner.” or “I am going with the intent of getting to know them.”

Redirect the spotlight

If you are worried about them negatively evaluating you, what you can do is redirect the spotlight- ask about them, let the conversation start with focus on who they are, what they do, what they like etc. 

Let the conversation start with their side of the story and naturally flow into your side of the story as you open up about your own life, about your own likes and dislikes, your expectations, hopes, and dreams, your careers, and yourself. 

Get support.

If the fear and anxiety of meeting someone for the first time is getting to you, talk to your friends about it, or your family. 

Let them know how you’re feeling and listen to them when they share their own experiences and how they deal with such fears and anxieties.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed a few steps you can take if you are scared of meeting someone for the first time. 

How do you not get nervous when meeting someone for the first time?

Here are a few things you can do to not get nervous when meeting someone new for the first time:

  • Prepare for the meet up, mentally. 
  • Be punctual
  • Offer a friendly space. 
  • Use appropriate eye contact. 
  • Engage in chitchat.
  • Ask questions about who they are, what they like, what they do.
  • Give and take equally when it comes to who is holding the conversation through, who is paying for the meal etc. 
  • Use confident body language- fake it till you make it.
  • Focus on getting to know the person, not getting them to like you.

How long should a first date last?

An hour to one hour and half is a good enough time limit to a first date but this is not a hard and fast rule. 

What are first date rules?

First date rules include:

  • Be on time
  • Put away distractions
  • Be kind to people around you and your date
  • Acknowledge the awkwardness headon
  • Focus on the individual with you
  • Listen actively
  • Come clean about your life, be honest. 
  • Be honest about your own boundaries and what you want in a relationship.
  • Don’t be judgemental
  • Be open to new things, ideas, and experience. 

What should you not do on a first date?

Here are a few things you should avoid on a first date:

  • Being rude or dismissive to your date and others
  • Being distracted 
  • Talking about the past
  • Being crude
  • Being tardy and dishevelled
  • Talking about yourself too much or too little
  • Drinking too much
  • Assuming personal boundaries and touching them

What is a good time to meet for a first date?

Depending on the schedules of both parties when it comes to their work and other responsibilities, time and day of dates can be set up through mutual agreement. 

There is no hard and fast rule as to when to set it up, however weekends are usually preferred. 

What is the 3 day rule?

The three day rule is a dating rule that suggests that people should wait three days after the first date to call them up. 

This rule is set up so that you don’t look so desperate and also gives both parties enough time to think about the first encounter so that one can decide whether to proceed with another date or not. 

References

Brabaw.K. How To Get Through An Intimidating First Date. Refinery29. Retrieved on 15th Feb 2022. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/first-date-tips#slide-9

Mckay.L. 10 Ways To Cope With Nerves Before Meeting In Person For The First Time. Modern Love Long Distance. Retrieved on 15th Feb 2022. https://www.modernlovelongdistance.com/cope-with-nerves-nervous-meeting-long-distance-relationship/

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