So, you’re anxious about dating? It’s not something that’s easy to overcome, but almost everybody suffers from it in one form or another. Worrying about your first impressions and long-term social skills can be stressful, and it’s understandable that you’d get anxious over something as important as romance.
However, it’s very easy to let it hold you back or ruin your motivation. Whether it’s a fear of rejection, a lack of self-respect or something much more personal, your dating anxiety can make it really hard to actually get a date, leading to a slippery spiral of stress. Thankfully, there are some ways to try and beat it for good:
The best way to deal with anxiety is to let a dating partner know that you’re anxious. If you already have a date, it’s easy to tell them “I’m sorry if I look nervous” or “I was quite anxious about meeting you tonight”. This is much better than trying to hide it, and it can actually lead to you giving the wrong impression when you first meet.
Remember that other people can be anxious, too. Your date might confess that they feel anxious too, but were too worried to tell you. If two people pretend to be confident, neither of them will understand how the other feels, and they’ll both be focused on trying to pretend they’re somebody they’re not.
Acknowledge Your Anxiety
This can also apply to your own perception of the date, as well as the whole of the dating world. Your brain might tell you that being rejected will feel like the end of the world, but that’s your anxiety multiplying something that’s really not a huge deal. The best way to deal with this problem is to remind yourself that you’re anxious.
It’s like knowing that you’re in a bad mood: once you’re aware of the fact that your emotional state is affecting your thoughts, you can try to ignore it. The main reason so many people struggle with dating anxiety is because they don’t fully understand what it’s doing to their brain, in the same way that you can have depression without understanding that you’re depressed.
Emotional Intelligence Matters
An understanding and awareness of emotions plays a huge role in dating. If you can’t recognize when your date is uncomfortable, sad or expressing direct attraction to you, it can be hard to follow up with anything meaningful. On the other hand, the better your emotional intelligence is, the easier it’ll be adjust your own emotions to suit your date.
While some people might claim that it’s slightly manipulative, there’s nothing wrong with doing your best to make other people feel more comfortable. Follow their emotional state and make sure you’re always acting appropriately for the situation: not only will they be much more receptive to the things you’re saying, but you’ll seem less awkward even if you’re still feeling anxious inside.
Don’t Judge Yourself
A lot of dating anxiety comes from theoretical failures, rather than actual ones. It’s true that some people develop this anxiety due to regular rejection, but many people who’ve only been on a handful of dates will vastly overestimate how their partner feels. You might be wearing odd-colored socks or have slightly dry skin on a certain part of your face – but you’re more intimately familiar with your clothes and body than your date is. They might never even notice these things, or won’t see them as a problem, but you’ll feel like they’re analyzing everything about you.
While people have different standards for their dates, the majority probably have flaws of their own too. People don’t judge others in the same way they judge themselves, and any self-loathing or self-judgment you’re experiencing probably isn’t being shared by your date. Just make sure you don’t over-apologize about your appearance or personality – it can get annoying quickly, and ironically, it might actually lead to people not being as interested.
Attraction is Personal
Not every person finds the same things attractive. Maybe you’re slightly on the heavier side or have a relatively pale skin tone: these might be attractive to your date, even if they aren’t to you. You might have a shy, nerdy or awkward personality, and that can sometimes be seen as cute, too. The idea of “everybody having somebody out there” is mostly true, since there’ll always be somebody out there that’s attracted to you.
A large part of getting past anxiety is pushing yourself into doing something. If somebody asks you on a date and you’re attracted to them, say yes before the self-doubt kicks in. It’s a lot harder to get out of a date once you’ve agreed, and you’ll end up forcing yourself to take part. If you respond with “I’m not sure”, you’re much more likely to end up completely ignoring the invitation and you’ll never break out of your anxiety.
When it comes time to actually date, don’t be afraid to talk about yourself. You might not think you’re interesting, but there are two scenarios that can happen here: either you find something that you can bond over, or you both discover something that you’ve had no interest in before. Your weird hobby could also be their weird hobby, but even if it isn’t, they might still find it interesting to hear about.
Switch Off, Have Fun
Anxiety eats away at your motivation to keep doing things, and you’ll find it easy to get drawn back into worrying. The best way to deal with this is to “switch off” – stop thinking about the grander scheme of things and focus on what your date is saying or doing. If you’re going out to eat, have some wine or order some food that you know you’ll like – anything that can make you a bit more comfortable and help you forget that you’re hoping for a romantic connection. Your date is there to see the real you, and the best way to be yourself is to relax and enjoy each moment as it happens.
Dates are meant to be fun. It can also be stressful, especially for introverts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy them. You’re obviously trying to have some kind of emotional link between one another, but even if you both feel that the relationship wouldn’t work, you can still treat it like a good time out with a new friend.
Give Your Date What You Need
A lot of people struggle with their self-image, even if they’re confident. If you want your date to compliment you, don’t try to awkwardly ask them about your hair or clothes – complement them in the same way. You should treat your date in the same way you’d want them to treat you: this gives them a better understanding of your personality, and opens up more opportunities for you to bond.
If your date is the one who isn’t giving you enough attention, don’t act coldly towards them out of spite. Some people put on a very uncaring or professional face to hide anxiety, flaws or unwanted emotions they might be feeling, so it’s a good idea to give them a chance before you ruin your opportunity for a proper date.
Don’t Feel Beaten Down
Rejection is hard, especially if it comes from somebody that you were genuinely interested in, but you’ve got to learn to keep moving on. Unless it’s an especially harsh rejection, there’s not really anything to worry about – you simply weren’t compatible. That didn’t mean you did anything wrong, or made a major mistake, and you can focus on the good points of the date rather than the bad.
Of course, every so often you’ll be rejected in a way that batters your confidence a little bit. This isn’t great for anxious people, but try to avoid letting it get to you. In the grand scheme of things, a rejection means one of two things: either you have room to improve, or you and your date wouldn’t really work as a couple.
Focus On the Positives
The best way to get over anxiety caused by a rejection? Focus on the positive parts of who you are. For a date to work, two people have to be really into one another, so a rejection doesn’t mean that everything about you is awful. In fact, many people get rejected because their date feels like they’re not good enough for them, especially if their date suffers from anxiety too. You’re allowed to have flaws, and somebody you date in the future will probably be able to overlook them if you stay in the dating scene.
Did you know? The girlfriend activation system could help you uncover new ways to talk to women.
If you can’t think of any positives, make some! Start exercising more, or try to put together snappier outfits with the clothes you already have. It might also help to think about what your hobbies actually are, and how you can describe them to somebody. If there’s a way to do everything wrong, then there’s a way to do everything right, and sometimes a little more effort or thought is all it takes to turn something that seems stupid or unattractive into a good talking point for your next date.