By Melanie Mar

Butterflies in your stomach, questions running through your mind, and nervous energy are all natural reactions before heading out on any first date. The first date is an icebreaker, not a marriage interview, so sit back and enjoy! The beauty of a first date is that, if it goes poorly, you will most likely get over it quickly. Remind yourself that your best self is relaxed and confident. Follow the tips below to reduce your first date anxiety and set yourself up for fun.

1. Keep it short and sweet: The focus of your first meet-up is getting a feel for the other person, so stick with the basics. A first date is like an appetizer, not a main course. Don’t go into every detail of your past relationships, be too flirty, or reveal too much about yourself.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your date to a maximum of two hours; a lot can be covered in this short amount of time. An hour at the local coffee shop with a short walk afterwards, a shared dessert at a fun new spot, or an early dinner are all simple ways to keep things light. Always leave the other person wanting to know more about you!

Related Link: Five Tips for Falling in Love in 2014

2. Have fun: Lighthearted conversation is key. Just enjoy the time as you would with a new friend. You certainly don’t need a super extravagant or creative plan for your first meeting. Try to look at the person across from you from a place of playfulness. Laughter is very attractive! This is a new, exciting stage in your life, so focus your intentions on having fun.

3. Just breathe: Your mind is naturally going to be overactive with pre-date jitters. Listen to some upbeat music, go shopping, or even exercise beforehand. This activity will help get rid of all your restless energy. Getting your body and mind centered is a big part of feeling mentally prepared for your date. Plus, people are their most authentic selves when they’re relaxed. Go with the flow, breathe, and take it slow. By learning to have a nice, stress-free time, you will allow the true you to come out naturally, making you even more beautiful and attractive.

4. Be the natural you: When you’re concerned with finding the right partner or overly-focused on making a good first impression, you often end up being awkward. Trying too hard results in a false sense of self. When you feel comfortable with yourself, others will feel at ease with you too.

One of the biggest reasons people are anxious preparing for first dates is because they are overly concerned about how they will be perceived. You think, “Will this person think I’m funny or attractive enough?” Remind yourself that the someone who is meant to be with you long-term will like you even if you show up a little nervous!

Related Link: Why Looking for Love Is Like a Job Search

5. Be realistic: It’s easy to get carried away by a fantasy you have created in your head. Thinking of this new person as a potential fiancé or even marriage material can set you up for a total letdown. A date that has had too much pre-conceived thought or imagination added to it is almost certain to disappoint you. We’re all human and far less than perfect, so try to keep an open mind and heart.

It can be easy to waste time worrying about going out on a first date, whether it’s with someone you’ve met online, have been talking to over the phone, or have even already met in person. Try practicing some or all of these tips the next time you prepare for a first date, and you’ll feel more confident and relaxed as a result!

Melanie Mar is a celebrity relationship specialist, matchmaker and  life coach.