A Therapist Teaches You How To Beat Your Second Date Anxiety

Second date anxiety can douse a first date spark. Don’t let it.

By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | October 1, 2022

Many people come to therapy feeling nervous about an upcoming second date. They ask questions like:

  • "We've been texting less frequently. Should I be worried?"
  • "What if I run out of things to talk about?"
  • "What if there's not a third date?"
  • "Are they expecting me to put out?"

These are all valid questions, but ruminating on them can cause you to overlook the big picture.

You're already over the first hurdle – getting past the first date is a clear sign there's some romantic potential. A second date is an amazing opportunity to turn a spark into a flame.

Here are three ways to keep second-date anxiety at bay and put your best foot forward.

#1. Understand that nerves go both ways

You could make the case that a second date is the true first date.

Yes, maybe you've learned their last name and what their favorite food is. But a drink and a couple of hours with a person doesn't mean you know them. You've simply sized them up and see signs of potential.

The stakes are higher on a second date because there's real romantic intent this time. The superficial getting-to-know-you questions have likely run dry. Now, you're trying to determine how they might fit in the framework of your life. You'll want to know things like:

  • Does this person understand and respect my values?
  • Does this person stand by what they said on our first date?
  • Does this person seem like they would fit into my social circle?

Since these are deep, difficult questions, it's likely that the other person is nervous about putting themselves out there too.

The best thing to do is to turn the focus away from your own anxiety and help your date feel comfortable in expressing who they truly are. Hopefully, they'll return the favor.

It's a two birds, one stone situation – keep a check on your own anxiety to create an atmosphere where you can judge romantic potential more accurately.

#2. Choose experiences over expectations

The activity you chose for your first date doesn't necessarily speak volumes about who you are. Most people have their first dates at a neutral location like a local bar or a coffee shop.

Now that you've connected with your date over shared interests, choose an activity for the second date that both of you would feel right at home doing.

You both enjoy being in the great outdoors? Go hiking. Did you bond over your shared passion for dancing? Take a bachata class together.

Sure, a second date is a chance to get serious about pursuing someone romantically. But that doesn't mean you have to go in with a list of deep questions and big expectations for romance. Don't forget to enjoy the little moments and have fun together. Focus on how they make you feel. You learn a lot more about someone from what they do versus what they say.

#3. Know that you are the catch

There's no getting around the fact that romantic rejection hurts. But don't let negative feelings from past rejections overpower the love you have for yourself.

Ultimately, the outcome of the second date (whatever it may be) doesn't define you.

None of your accomplishments, strengths, and experiences will be negated if someone you find attractive fails to follow through. Similarly, a successful second date doesn't imply that you've found 'the one' and can now retire from the dating pool.

If you are feeling anxious before a second date, list all the things you like about yourself. Read it out loud, and understand that no matter what happens after the date, all those things are still going to hold true. This will give you a boost of confidence and drown out any anxiety you may be feeling.

As an added advantage, confidence is a trait your date will find attractive.


You are not alone in feeling nervous before a second date. Most people feel that way, your date included. If you've got a fun activity planned and you understand that your self-worth isn't contingent on the romantic validation you may or may not receive from someone else, you can beat second-date anxiety. Of course, if you are unable to function normally due to second-date anxiety, there may be underlying issues a mental health practitioner can help you work through.