How to Work Up the Nerve to Kiss a Boy

Take deep breaths to slow your heart rate when feeling nervous about a kiss.
... Toby Burrows/Photodisc/Getty Images

It's the end of the night, you're standing on your doorstep with the boy you like, the two of you are staring at each other, and -- nothing happens. He looks awkward and doesn't kiss you and you can't work up the nerve to kiss him first. First kisses can be nerve-wracking, but usually all of that anxiety disappears once the kiss starts. You just need to get to that point.

1 You Are Not Alone

Know that you are not alone if you feel nervous about kissing a boy. Research shows that 85 percent of men and 94 percent of women felt anxiety and dread before their first kiss -- but those feelings usually changed when it actually happened, reports psychology professor Pamela Regan, in the "Psychology Today" article "The Very First Kiss: Momentous or Disastrous." Once the kiss starts, you will probably forget your nerves and become lost in the moment.

2 Read His Signals

It will be easier to work up the nerve to kiss a boy if you are sure he is interested. Look for signs that he might be thinking of a kiss too, such as touching your hair, complimenting your appearance, getting close or looking at your lips. If you still can't tell, it might help to share that you feel nervous or unsure about what is happening between the two of you, advises licensed clinical social worker Kristina Randle, in the Psych Central article, "Does He Want to Be More Than Friends?" By talking openly about getting more intimate, you will probably also reduce some of the nervousness you have been feeling.

3 Visualize

Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself having a great kiss with a boy -- and it is more likely to happen in real life. Visualizing yourself completing an action helps you to prepare both mentally and physically, argues psychologist Daniel Kadish, in the "Real Simple" online article, "3 Easy Visualization Techniques." Imagining yourself going through with the kiss without being nervous will also help to calm feelings of nervousness -- by reducing your heart rate and decreasing stress hormones. From a psychological perspective, picturing the kiss ahead of time will also boost your confidence that it will go well.

4 Act Confident

At some point, you will need to push through your nerves and make a move. Instead of waiting until you feel confident and less nervous, choose to act as though you are already sure of yourself, advises clinical psychologist John Malouff, in the University of New England article, "Helping Young Children Overcome Shyness." Choose a time early in the evening so there is less pressure -- such as during the opening credits of a movie or when he picks you up for a date. If you can't push past your nerves to act confident about that first kiss, it could be that you are not ready. Don't pressure yourself; give it time, so that the kiss will be enjoyable for you.

Arlin Cuncic has been writing about mental health since 2007, specializing in social anxiety disorder and depression topics. She served as the managing editor of the "Journal of Attention Disorders" and has worked in a variety of research settings. Cuncic holds an M.A. in clinical psychology.