Dating Anxiety? Here's How To Cope
The modern world of dating is a scary place. It is full of new and unfamiliar technology, and trending terms that you sometimes need Urban Dictionary to define. Though modern dating seems like an overwhelming venture to dive into (and risk drowning in), there is a lot of good that can come out of it.
Dating anxiety is real and should not be overlooked or scoffed at. If you’re an anxious person by nature, then you understand how nervous energy can creep up on you unexpectedly. But those who are usually calm and collected can also experience dating anxiety.
Dating can feel uncomfortable because of its uncertainty. Even if you are confident in yourself, there is a chance that the other person will not be into you, will think you were cuter in your photos, or simply won’t take the time to listen to you talk. Seriously, you really don’t know what’s going to happen!
That’s why it’s important to overcome your dating anxiety BEFORE you even walk out of your house for your date. By following these tips on how to cope, you will feel more prepared, more relaxed, and much more like yourself. Then, if your date does end up being a total trainwreck, you’ll be able to easily accept it and move on to the next one.
Plan the Date Together
Planning a date together is great for a number of reasons. First, it gives you a clear idea of what will go down. For instance, you don’t want to wear a short skirt to a bowling alley — that is not optimal bend-over-and-bowl attire. It'll also help you get in the mindset of what you’re going to do. You'll feel mentally prepared to go to a loud concert instead of dinner, or vice-versa.
Co-planning also helps you get to know the other person before you actually meet. It will be clear what type of person your date is by what they suggest as date options and how they go about making plans. It’s like starting the learning process before you even shake hands.
Be Gentle With Yourself
One of the most important things to remember when facing dating anxiety is to be gentle with yourself. For real, adopt this motto. Tattoo it onto your forehead if you have to — it’s that important!
Before you even leave your house, give yourself a kind affirmation. Then, when you’re on the date, keep that affirmation in the back of your mind. This will help you easily forgive yourself if you say the wrong thing, forget to open the door for your date, talk too much, etc.
Dating causes people to be unnecessarily hard on themselves because they feel intimidated or not good enough. However, this only makes dating more of a nightmare than a daydream. We all deserve kindness and should try to forgive ourselves.
It sounds silly, but breathing really works. Sometimes when we are anxious, we have a hard time taking proper breaths during our sentences. This can result in an embarrassing let-me-catch-my-breath gasp. Not to mention, our hearts race and our bodies shake. Basically, if we are overloaded with dating anxiety, we can come off like a sweaty spinning-top who can’t stop talking, which is not ideal mating material.
By consciously taking the time to talk slowly, practice deep breaths between sentences, and relax your shoulders, you will help your mind calm. Or in other words, if you focus on combatting the physical side effects of dating anxiety, then your brain will follow suit. Seriously, it works!
A huge factor to dating anxiety is self-acceptance. When you do not accept who you are and where you are on your journey, it is hard to feel completely comfortable showcasing your essence to someone new. It’s like the whole, “You have to love yourself first before you can love someone else” thing.
Practicing self-acceptance is not an easy 1-2-3 step process. Actually, for most people, it takes many years of heartbreak and self-reflection. However, when it comes to dating, what is important is being comfortable with yourself. It’s totally ok if you don’t have everything figured out. Most people don’t, and the right person will understand that.
Think: What’s The Worse That Could Happen?
Oftentimes, we think of the absolute worst scenarios that could happen on a date, such as spilling ketchup all over his suit, or finding out she dated your brother. Our minds love to take us on a wild ride of possibilities, but before you tune them out, ask the question, ‘so what?’
It’s important to put everything into perspective. Just silencing the ideas won’t work (trust us, they’ll come back). However, if you ask yourself, ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ then ask yourself, ‘so what?’ you’ll probably start to realize that ‘the worst date ever’ isn’t world-ending, heartbreaking, or disastrous. It’s probably just a mild case of embarrassment or a night wasted.