EDITOR'S NOTEHe Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: It’s been a while since I’ve been on a “first date” with someone. I have one coming up, and I’m freaking out. Help! How can I calm down and act naturally? This is so crazy. I feel like a teenager again.

HE SAID: One thing you need to realize about a “first date” is you’ve already accomplished the hardest part of dating—getting a date in the first place. That means the other person is already interested enough to want to spend time with you.

Don’t put additional pressure on yourself by allowing your mind to wander off into the wedding planning stage. This is only a first date which means it is just a time for each of you to get to know one another, leave the best impression possible (without embellishing) and to see if both of you would want to go on a second date. That’s it.

To help with the anxiety, why don’t you try “practicing” for the date by talking to strangers? You’d be amazed at the confidence you can build by doing it.  

Begin with sales people, grocery clerks, ticket agents, bus riders, or whoever you meet. Most of them are not there to have a conversation or to get to know you, so if you can succeed with getting to know something about them or making them smile, the better prepared you will be.

On your date, try to quickly find some commonality between the two of you by asking questions. Discovering interests, activities or dreams you share will put you both at ease, and it’s always best to discuss something you know and are passionate about.

Make an effort to not set the bar or your expectations too high for this one date. It won’t mean you don’t care nor want the relationship to develop into something more; it will just allow you to give and accept grace for the awkwardness that is associated with being with someone for the first time in this kind of situation.

In the end, be yourself and don’t let the other person determine who you are.

SHE SAID: Ah yes. The first date. It can either paralyze you, be an experience that will help you gather information about someone else, or just provide you with a free meal (and believe me, I’ve had plenty of dates like the latter!).

I know it sounds like it should be easy-breezy, but sometimes it’s just not. I’ve fretted before many a first date and become consumed with what I needed to do or not to do to make a guy like me. But sometime in my later dating years, it dawned on me that whatever person God has in store for me . . . well I can make just about any social foible or say the wrong thing and this person will still be interested in me, because God is sovereign and in control of it all.

Once I started thinking like that and realizing that that’s what I truly believed, I was able to exhale and just be myself. Yes, please just be yourself. After all, it’s important to be who you are and to see the other person’s true self if the two of you are making some important assessments about one another. If you’re tall, be tall . . . if you’re smart, be smart . . . if you’re goofy, be goofy. And then go from there.