I was anxious as I waited in the airport to see Mike for the first time in our long-distance relationship.
Nervous. Holy. Cow.
I was anxious to the point of wanting to flee.
Is this something that might function, or am I insanely nervous?
Mike claims he wasn’t anxious at all. He claims he was overcome by worries and uncertainties the night before boarding the plane, but when he awoke the morning of his flight to Brisbane, he felt good. I, on the other side, was great until the day we were supposed to meet, when I freaked out.
Here’s the bottom line on nerves and interacting for the first time… Until meeting for the first time, almost everyone would experience an extreme mix of nervous/scared/excited. However, such nerves will most likely strike you both at various times and in different ways.
Things That People Often Think About Before Their First Meeting
So, before we venture into ways to calm those nerves, let’s glance at some general concerns or feelings people have before meeting for the first time.
Here are six examples:
- Are they going to like me in person?
- Would I like them in real life?
- Can we experience the rumoured fizzy x-factor “chemistry”?
- Would the hugging (and anything else) go well?
- Would we run out of topics to discuss?
- We’re used to talking over long distances, but can get together in person sound uncomfortable and strange?
Any of these questions I had before seeing Mike for the first time. In reality, several of these same kinds of thoughts will resurface once we were reunited after a period of separation. This continued for a long time after we were a couple, and also after we married.
Mike spent almost half of his time commuting to various countries for work during the first three years of our marriage. He was mostly out for months at a time. Perhaps much more. Sometimes, before his return, I’d fear that Mike had changed–that I’d look at him over the dinner table that night and question whether I remembered him. I was concerned that we would run out of topics to discuss on the way home. I worried that after kissing me hello, he’d do a double-take and ask what on earth he was doing with me.
Those concerns were unfounded, but it’s tempting to mock my younger self and dismiss any of my anxiety and nerves as a waste of time. And it was, in certain respects, a waste of resources. But do you realize what this nervousness before reunions did for me? It provided me with a lot of experience in understanding the look and feel of anxiety in my life and how to handle it.
So, let’s talk about what you can do to handle your fear and hold those first-time meeting nerves under check.
10 Clever Techniques for Dealing With Nerves During The First Meeting
1. Recognize The Nerves
Inform them if you are anxious. Sharing your feelings will make you feel more at ease and will let them exactly where you’re at. It would also allow both of you to be more understanding if things seem a little strange at first if you admit your nerves ahead of time.
2. Before You Meet, Talk About how you Expect The First Meeting to Go
Until you get to the supercharged amazing first meeting, chat about what you want it to feel like. This can assist you with managing perceptions and not doing something that should render the other party unhappy in the special moment.
For eg, many people I know who are in long-distance relationships fantasize about walking through the arrivals door, catching this amazing individual they’ve been dying to meet, and instantly having a long, passionate kiss.
However, not everyone desires this! Some individuals are very unfamiliar with public shows of intimacy, and embracing you for the first time in an airport arrival terminal is not something they had in mind. Others would take more time to get used to simply sharing a room with you before they would try to kiss you.
But, before you go, discuss the first encounter. You need to make sure they’re okay with you sweeping them into your arms and kissing them until they see stars, particularly if you plan to sweep them into your arms upon arrival and kiss them until they see stars. In reality, you must ensure that they will be more than happy with this. You’ve invested a lot of time and money in this relationship; you don’t want to get off the plane and make them feel awkward because you were so fast.
3. Remind Yourself That Feeling Anxious is Natural
It’s perfectly natural to feel a mix of nervous/scared/excited before meeting someone you’ve learned to care for for the first time.
Meeting in person for the first time is a huge deal and a watershed point in your relationship. You are not a moron. You are aware of this. And major things in our lives normally elicit big-deal-types-of-emotional reactions. So keep this in mind: you are normal. This is completely natural.
4. Remind Yourself that They are Aware of Your Being
So, most of you aren’t in my case, where you’re talking for the first time before you’ve ever spoken on the call. In reality, by this stage, you’ve most likely spent hours and hours on video chat. Remind yourself that this individual is familiar with you.
They are aware of your appearance. They recognize the tone of your chuckle. They are aware of how you communicate and what topics you like discussing. They know you on a personal basis and adore you. Everything would be fine. The worst-case scenario is that you make a nice mate. The best-case scenario… yeah, the sky’s the roof.
5. Tell Yourself That You are Excited Rather Than Afraid
Did you realize that your body reacts to the excitement, in the same manner, it does to fear–by pumping adrenaline into the bloodstream?
Adrenaline allows your heart to pound harder, your pulse to quicken, your hands to sweat, and so on.
Since the physical responses triggered by anxiety and apprehension are very close, whether we feel exhilarated or frightened is mostly attributable to how we think about our condition and perceive our body’s signals of arousal.
In other terms, it is your brain’s “tape” that has labelled your arousal as “scary” or “awesome fun.”
You’ll feel terrified while you’re stuck in the airport worrying about all the stuff you’re concerned about and all the reasons things might go wrong.
You’ll feel less afraid and more motivated if you stand there reminding yourself about all the stuff you enjoy about this individual and how they make you feel relaxed and alive.
But, when you’re waiting, tell yourself that you’re anxious, not scared.
6. Remind Yourself That You Adore This Guy
We discussed how critical the “tape in our head” is during these moments in the previous point. When you’re trying to decide if you’re afraid or nervous, you’ll (often subconsciously) be “listening” to the signals on the mental tape that’s playing in your head to help you reach the decision.
So… placed any positive notes or soundbites on such recordings to better even away from the fears and uncertainties. Here are a few items you should try:
- Spend some time dreaming through all the stuff you like about him or her.
- Consider what they have said they like about you and how you make them sound.
- Consider the most recent discussion in depth.
- Consider the best-case scenario for the outcome of the first encounter.
7. React to Real Fears
It may also be beneficial to “speak back” to clear concerns that arise in our minds.
For eg, if you’re worried that they’ll get off the plane and unexpectedly alter their mind on how they feel about you, remember that it’s impossible that their feelings about you (or yours about them) would have experienced a sudden and drastic shift throughout their trip, no matter how terrible the flight was!
You are understanding your worried feelings for what they are when you do this. You’re not going to forget them or say you’re not nervous. But you don’t have to let those emotions run wild through your head. Recognize them, agree that they exist, and then react to them by reflecting on reasoning, emotions, and memories that counteract those fears.
8.Take a Deep Breath
Isn’t the sentence “taking a deep breath” so overused that it’s almost a cliché? However, I couldn’t rule it out because having a deep breath would be extremely beneficial in this situation.
Why is this so?
Did you realize that when you are anxious, upset, or too excited, your heart rate increases?
And when your heart rate reaches a certain threshold (about 10% above your resting rate), you are “flooded.” Adrenaline and other stress hormones flood your system. These substances impair one’s ability to think logically or concentrate. The faster your pulse rhythm, the more nervous and worried you are.
Breathing gently and steadily sends a “calm down” message to the body, which aids in the reversal of the stress reaction. So, when you’re waiting for them, concentrate on taking long, deep breaths. Breathe in for four counts, out for four counts, in, and so forth.
9. Recognize That Making Eye Contact and Hearing Their Speech in Person Can Sound Strange at First
After being so accustomed to communicating through the camera, making eye contact in person is likely to feel strange and intense at first. And here’s what you may not guess, but it’s perfectly normal: their speech would likely sound a little different in person.
Although Internet video is better than a telephone line at capturing sounds, it is also not ideal at capturing all of the frequencies in someone’s speech. That ensures that when you meet in person, their speech would more likely sound different than you thought since you are just now discovering all of the frequencies.
If you expect this stuff to sound strange at first, you won’t be as surprised.
10. Plan Ahead of Time
If you’re anxious, work out what’s making you nervous and devise a strategy to fix it.
If you’re worried about not knowing what to talk to each other about getting the, think about any concerns you’d like to pose them or topics you’d like to explore together.
If you’re concerned that it would feel uncomfortable and strange on the first day, schedule something interesting and enjoyable for the two of you to do. Having a strategy in action (even though you don’t follow through with it) can make you feel more in charge and calm.
That’s all I’ve got right now. I hope you can keep your nerves under check and have a successful first meeting! And don’t forget to check out our full guide to getting a fantastic first meeting if you want some great advice on meeting in person for the first time.