Dating Anxiety Is More Common Than You Think - Here's How To Overcome It

Mindlessly swiping on dating apps doesn't require much preparation. When you match with someone and begin to chat with them via text, it becomes a bit more involved but still remains pretty simple and straightforward as you get to know your match. Once you agree to actually meet, that may be when the nerves set in.

First dates are always a challenge. In most cases, when you meet up with someone new, you don't know if you'll like your date and don't really know too much about them other than what they have told you. On a date, however, you'll get to experience what the other person is like in real life, if their photos match their current appearance, and if they seem like they are decent and at the very least, sane.

Yet, you may also be nervous about whether they will like you and be interested in the date. In other words, dating is anything but easy and most people have a little anxiety surrounding it, but you can find ways to curb your nerves.

Anxiety in regards to dating is normal

"Dating is an important and possibly life changing event, so know this: some level of anxiety is normal," relationship expert and psychotherapist Neil Wilkie told Marie Claire. "It does have a peak — just before the first meeting — then should dissipate."

Much of the anxiety revolves around what you say and do but it's important to remember that it's better to be authentically you than to try to appear to be someone you're not. "There is the belief that you need to present as being perfect, look beautiful, and [say] all the right things, otherwise you will be rejected," says Wilkie. 

On the other hand, many times it's not only the fear of being rejected but it's fear of not hitting it off and having to reject someone else, shares a 2021 article via The Family Journal. Wilkie advises, "Understand that you will feel nervous and that this is OK." In other words, acknowledging that you may very well feel initial nerves, rather than attempting to shut them down will help you feel less concerned when they arise.  

Ways to combat dating fears

Like with anything else, preparation is key. Therefore, try to follow practical steps to address things that may make you feel on edge. A big concern for some is running out of things to say, as per Cosmopolitan. One way to make sure you don't is to have a list of questions to ask and a few stories to share. For example, simply asking your date about where they would like to travel, their favorite holiday, or how they get along with their family goes a long way in fostering engaging conversation.

Another consideration is how and when the date takes place. The more comfortable you feel in what you're wearing on the date and about your surroundings, the more at ease you'll feel to be yourself which helps keep anxiety at bay. Pick a quiet spot where you can have a good conversation. If you know a place you already like, that's even better.

One of the best ways to counter dating anxiety is to practice mindfulness (via Scientific American). Be fully present in the moment and not jump ahead to what will happen in the future. It also helps to envision positive scenarios before the date about how it will go rather than feeding your brain doomsday scenarios.