Dating Anxiety can be a nerve-wracking experience. You might feel excited to finally meet someone, but you also might feel apprehensive about the whole situation. It’s easy to feel nervous and unrealistic about what your date will think of you, your personality and your intentions. This is commonly referred to as dating anxiety.
If you’re new to dating or if your past relationships went south, you might have higher levels of dating anxiety than others. But just remember that not everyone feels this way so don’t give up! Here are some helpful tips on how to deal with and overcome dating anxiety:
Know what causes dating anxiety
There are plenty of reasons why someone might feel anxious about dating. If you’re not sure, ask yourself: Why are you dating? Is it for the thrill of the sexual experience, or is it to find a partner who will make you happy? Is it to fulfil a childhood desire to have a family? Is it because it’s expected of you and society tells you to do it? If you can figure out what you’re really looking for when dating, you’ll feel less anxious about it.
Take a break from online dating
Online dating can be a great way to find a potential partner, but if you keep trying to meet people online, you’re going to end up frustrated. Take a break from online dating and get out there! Go to a coffee shop or a museum. Take a date that you wouldn’t necessarily meet online. You’ll get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.
Set realistic expectations for relationships
If you’re apprehensive about dating because you feel as though you’ll be disappointed by the relationship, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Be realistic about what your expectations are for a relationship. If you want a relationship that is primarily focused on sex, that’s fine. A lot of people want that. What’s not fine is setting yourself up to be hurt if a person you date doesn’t have that goal in mind.
Ask yourself why you’re afraid to date again
Some of the anxiety you might feel when dating comes from the fear of being rejected again. Rejection doesn’t have to happen in dating, but if it’s a fear that’s keeping you from dating, you need to address it. Try to get to the bottom of what it is that’s stopping you from opening your heart to new people. Is it that you’re afraid of being hurt again? Or is it something else? If you can figure out what it is, you’ll be a lot less anxious about dating again.
Talk about your feelings with someone you trust
One of the best ways to address and overcome dating anxiety is to talk to someone you trust about it. You don’t have to tell them everything, just let them know that you’re experiencing anxiety and that you’re trying to get through it. Have a trusted friend or family member listen to you and offer their opinion.
Make sure your friend or family member isn’t someone you’re close with so that you’re not putting your relationship at risk. You also need to be careful that they aren’t using you as a sounding board for their insecurities as well.
Why you’re suffering from dating anxiety
Dating anxiety is the feeling that you might make a fool of yourself when you’re out with someone new. It can be triggered by a number of factors, such as your current relationship status, your past experiences, or a lack of confidence in yourself. It’s likely that you’ve experienced a few of the common dating anxieties below. If so, don’t worry; you’re not alone!
- You’re not confident enough to approach someone you fancy.
- You’ve dated someone before who gave you the ‘run around’.
- You’re afraid of making something awkward if the other person doesn’t feel the same way.
- You’re worried that you’ll say the wrong thing and put yourself in a vulnerable position.
- You’re worried about putting yourself out there and meeting someone who won’t find you attractive.
3 ways to overcome dating anxiety
- Be prepared. Have a plan for the date. Don’t wing it. Be prepared for the conversation. Be prepared for the date to go wrong. Be prepared for it to go well.
- Listen to what your date has to say. Don’t talk too much. Be interested in what your date has to say. Be interested in yourself. Be interested in your date.
- Accept that there will be moments when you might feel anxious, but remind yourself that it’s OK.
Start meeting people
Don’t let your fear of being judged or putting yourself out there restrict your social life. What’s the worst that could happen? You might meet someone new who turns out to be a douchebag. So, how can you start meeting people? Start small.
Meet up with a friend and go out for coffee. If they’re interested in meeting other people, they’ll probably be keen to start a conversation about it. If you’re shy or nervous when meeting new people, talk to a friend about it first. They might be able to help you overcome your insecurities.
Get out there!
Practice makes perfect. The more you get out there, the more confident you’ll be in your own abilities and the more you’ll enjoy it too. So, how can you get out there? Approach a group of people and say something like, “Hey, I was just thinking about meeting a few of you guys for a drink next week, what do you think about that?”
4 exercises to build your confidence
- Pick a topic you’re interested in and tell someone about it. You might not know them or care about what they have to say, but what you do care about is talking to someone and building your confidence.
- Pick a joke and tell it to someone. You might not get it right, but that’s OK. What matters is that you told someone a joke and built your confidence in the process.
- Write down three things you like about yourself. Don’t worry if they’re cheesy; you’re just practising using positive self-talk.
- Practice asking questions and using the conversation wheels on sites like Tinder or Bumble.
Dating anxiety is common, especially among new singles who’ve never felt confident approaching someone they’re attracted to. This dating anxiety can be overwhelming and scary, but there are ways you can overcome it. When you feel anxious, remind yourself that you’re allowed to feel nervous about approaching someone, but you’re allowed to do it too.
It’s OK to feel anxious about meeting new people, but you don’t have to let it stop you from getting out there. Even if you do feel nervous when you meet someone new, don’t let it stop you from talking to them. There’s no rule book for meeting people, so there’s no rule book on how to make a good first impression.
Next time you feel anxious about dating, remind yourself that you’re allowed to feel anxious but you’re not allowed to let it stop you from getting out there.