Reduce Dating Anxiety

Dating is high on the list of anxiety producing activities for many people. 

You might be self-conscious.  Maybe you have a checkered dating past.  Usually, you don't know the other person well and you want to make a good impression.  This combination of factors can lead to over-thinking which in turn can squelch your true personality when you are out with someone.   
The important thing to realize is that this type of anxiety is perfectly normal and that you can do something to reduce the feeling.  Nearly everyone gets at least a little anxious when meeting someone new.  However, you don't want your nerves to prevent you from dating at all or to make dating a stressful activity.  Dating can be a fun and wonderful thing and a few minor adjustments can make it that way for you.  Try one of more of the following suggestions.
To allay your stress at the thought of having nothing to say, think about topics of conversation beforehand, like books you've read and loved, thought provoking movies, or interesting aspects of your jobs.  Really think about them, though - don't just pick three books and give a report on them.  If they're not, just relax and enjoy the date knowing there's no pressure.  You can even write things down that you want to talk about.  It will solidify things for you and make you more likely to remember them.  
Next, consider what you're really looking for in a partner.  If you know that and you can tell right away that this person won't be a good fit, then you can sit back and relax.  If you think they might be, then try discussing some things that are important to and see how they react. Don't get upset if they share few or none of your views, but do try to learn things about the other if you think they're someone you want to see again.  
In general, be curious and consider the other person - think about what you would like to be asked and ask them.  Really focus on trying to get to know them and really listen to them - don't just think about when you get to talk next.  If you are absorbed in their words, stories, body language, and eye contact, not only are you going to please them and get to know them better, you won't have time to concentrate on your own anxiety. Imagine your perfect date and try to be that for the other person.      
In terms of activities, consider a date that involves more than just looking at the guy over a plate of food or a drink.  Try a physical activity like a paddle boat expedition.  If you are paddling furiously in Lake Washington and going more slowly than the ducks, there is great potential for laughter.  A little sweat and a lot of laughter breaks the ice. Another idea is to do something that invites commentary, such as a museum.  When you are looking at paintings or photos, you are bound to have ideas to share and conversation is likely to flow.  One dating myth is that you shouldn't go to a movie or a show because you can't talk, but these can be perfect if you have coffee or a drink afterward as you will have a ready-made topic of conversation.
Be sure you're doing something you are going to be comfortable with, however.  Yes, you should push yourself a little, but if you're going to have a panic attack because you are indoor skydiving, nix that activity.  If you aren't comfortable in a bathing suit, don't suggest a day on the beach.  The trick is to do something that intrigues you and your date but not to push yourself into a new state of anxiety.  
Choice of clothing can also be important for a date.  You want to be comfortable but also look your best.  For women - don't oversex things.  If you aren't really a three-inch stiletto girl, don't wear them to impress someone.  You will feel awkward and your date will get the wrong impression.  By the same token, show some respect.  No dirty sweatshirts, guys!  Try to strike a balance that makes you feel comfortable and attractive.  
The best thing you can do on a date is learn who the other person is and show them who you are.  Reducing anxiety is going to make this happen.  Do everything you can to get rid of your nerves.  At its best, dating is fun, surprising, and a challenge, not a chore. If you like each other?  Great.  If you don't - you never have to see each other again!



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Posted 05-21-2013 5:10 pm by