Relationships are supposed to be fun and exciting, but it can often feel the opposite if you suffer from dating anxiety.
So you’re out on a great first date or thinking about asking someone out. You may be excited, but there is also an element of fear or anxiety.
If that describes you, you’re not alone. Many people experience dating anxiety in one form or another at some point during their romantic encounters. Let’s look at what it is and how you can overcome it so that your next date can turn into your next love story.
What is Social Dating Anxiety?
Social Dating Anxiety is characterized by fear, nervousness, or feelings of being embarrassed or judged in social situations.
It’s common to experience some level of social anxiety when dating. Still, if your social anxiety becomes debilitating and interferes with your ability to meet potential partners, there are steps you can take to overcome it.
In this article, we’ll examine what causes social anxiety, how it manifests itself in everyday life, and how you can treat the condition with the help of a therapist and coping techniques.
Some researchers believe that dating anxiety stems from two sources: evolutionary factors and social conditioning.
The former suggests that humans have developed a fear of rejection as a way to protect themselves from harm; by staying away from potential partners who might reject them, they avoid heartbreak, embarrassment, and even physical danger.
In modern society, however, where marriages are more about commitment than necessity (i.e., ensuring paternity), these fears often no longer serve any purpose. Social conditioning plays a role as well.
As children, we learn what relationships should look like through our parents and other adults around us—and if we don’t see healthy examples growing up, we may develop unhealthy relationship habits later on.
For example, suppose your parents always fought when you were young. In that case, the chances are good that you will either avoid conflict altogether or try to resolve conflicts quickly—even if doing so means compromising yourself in some way. Both approaches can lead to dating anxiety.
Let’s check 12 tips on how to overcome social anxiety dating
12 outstanding tips on how to overcome social anxiety when dating
Focus on the present
Because social anxiety disorder often manifests as a fear of negative judgment, many with social anxiety become obsessed with what other people think of them.
As a result, they tend to be hyper-conscious of their appearance and actions, making it harder to focus on interactions that genuinely interest them.
One way to overcome social anxiety is by shifting your focus from worrying about how you appear or performing well and simply focusing on maintaining an open, present state of mind in any given interaction. If you’re too worried about doing something right, there’s no room to do anything.
The more time you spend thinking about yourself and others judging you negatively, the less time there is for enjoying positive connections with others.
If social anxiety has gotten so bad that it prevents meaningful connections altogether, then getting out of your head can help bring some joy back into your life—even if just for a moment.
2. Don’t Get Angry
Anger is often a symptom of deep-seated insecurities. If you’re trying to get over social anxiety, you must recognize when your anger stems from feelings of inadequacy and avoid blaming other people.
Also, accept that getting angry won’t solve anything; rather than trying to pick fights with others, express yourself through healthy outlets such as writing or exercise.
Talking about what bothers you with trusted friends and family can also help put things into perspective. Just make sure not to hold back—your emotions will build up inside if you don’t talk about them!
Feelings of insecurity also lead to fear. Fear makes it difficult for you to meet new people because you worry they might reject you.
As time passes, your fear only worsens—the more time passes without meeting anyone new, the harder it becomes for us to get out there and start dating again.
Even if we muster up some courage to try online dating or take an interest in someone at work, our fears are waiting for us to fall flat on our faces!
3. Be Honest with Yourself
An important first step in overcoming social anxiety is being honest with yourself. You have social anxiety because there are parts of interacting with other people that you either don’t know how to do or find challenging.
Honesty is key here because if you don’t acknowledge these facts, then there’s no way for you to work on improving your skills and behaviors.
So think about what makes you uncomfortable when meeting new people, whether talking to them one-on-one or standing in a group.
Then identify what it is about those situations that make you anxious—is it their unpredictable nature? The fact that they involve public speaking? Do they make you feel like everyone else has something going on in their lives while yours is boring? Try to be as specific as possible so you can pinpoint exactly where your problems lie.
4. Stay Calm and Smile
It may sound cheesy, but you need to learn how to smile. Your whole body language changes when you smile.
Smiling relaxes your facial muscles and releases endorphins, which help put you in a more positive mindset.
Next time you’re out on a date, try smiling instead of nervously fidgeting with your hands or avoiding eye contact by staring at your plate.
You’ll be surprised how much better you feel! And that goes for any social situation where you might feel anxious. A simple smile can go a long way.
5. Eat Before the Date
Going out on a date is a fun and exciting experience, but it can be nerve-wracking too. To ensure you’re in peak form during your date, eat something before going out.
Dinner at home beforehand can help relax you and prevent indigestion later on. If you know you’ll be meeting with friends for dinner or drinks after your date, don’t overdo it on your first encounter. Otherwise, you might find yourself falling asleep mid-conversation.
Instead, go easy on the wine and order an appetizer or two—you want to save room for dessert! Ensure you leave some food behind so you aren’t famished when dinner rolls around.
Even if your stomach is rumbling by then, it will sound much less intimidating if you haven’t been stuffing yourself all night. And who knows? Maybe dessert will be served soon enough…
6. Use Positive Affirmations
Whenever you have a situation with social anxiety, before and during, use positive affirmations to help you combat your anxiety; instead of I’m going to mess up again, try. I’m confident and can do anything I put my mind to.
Or instead of What if they don’t like me? Try Everyone likes me for who I am. Nothing wrong with me can make someone not like me! Even if it doesn’t feel true initially, repeating these phrases over and over will eventually train your brain to believe them.
Affirmations are one of many ways to overcome social anxiety! Check out our other articles on overcoming social anxiety to learn more.
7. Positive Thoughts About Love
There are ways to overcome your fears, but they take time and effort. As humans, we like things quick and easy, but love is anything but. If you’re serious about dating again, commit yourself to a more positive outlook on love.
Remind yourself that dating will be scary at first, and that’s okay; remind yourself that it won’t always be easy or feel natural. Remind yourself of how much better life is when you have someone special in it with you.
The more positivity you feed into your mind, the easier it will become for you to face these challenges head-on. In turn, facing them head-on will make it easier for you to move past them.
The road isn’t going to be easy, but if you stick with it, you can overcome social anxiety when dating and get back out!
8. Tell The Person What you Think Of Them
One of the biggest reasons we worry about how others perceive us is that we feel something is wrong with us.
No one has ever been insecure and thought, I’m so beautiful/smart/talented/attractive/funny; people should admire me! But at least some part of you believes it. Otherwise, why would you worry?
Everyone feels insecure about something in their lives; what matters most is how we deal with it. If you want to be more confident when dating, then instead of worrying about what someone else thinks of you, tell them exactly what you think of them.
In a few words or a sentence or two (at most), let them know exactly how great they are—and don’t hold back. If they have a great sense of humor, say it. If they have pretty eyes, say it. If they make your heart flutter when they smile at you, say it!
9. On the off chance that Anxiety Hits, Don’t Be Shy About It
Shyness is a typical feeling with social fear, where an individual feels humiliated when they begin to encounter tension during a discussion.
While not every person is open to doing this, many individuals view as it’s useful to tell the other individual what they’re encountering:
“Hello, I needed to tell you that I am somebody that experiences some extreme social uneasiness, so I am encountering much apprehension in this discussion. My expressions of remorse, if it makes me look diverted, as I attempt to conquer it.”
It’s not something many individuals share about themselves. Yet, when you do share it and demonstrate that you’re not humiliated, it can make it more straightforward to “escape your head,” which is a typical issue with most serious tension.
At the point when you make a solid attempt to battle it regardless, hold a discussion, the tension frequently deteriorates.
Feel free and do this on dates as well. The vast majority will regard your genuineness, particularly if you don’t claim to be humiliated about it. Those who don’t regard your trustworthiness are likely not individuals you need to begin a relationship with.
10. Continue onward After Panic
Assuming your social uneasiness is sufficient that it causes fits of anxiety, probably everything you can manage – and one of the hardest is to continue onward at the get-together regardless of whether you get a fit of anxiety.
Ensure you go to the get-together anticipating one, and when you get it, make an honest effort to behave as if it didn’t work out.
As serious as fits of anxiety are, truly leaving a get-together after a fit of anxiety builds up the possibility that a get-together causes uneasiness. You want to attempt to battle the desire to leave and make an honest effort to continue onward.
“Try not to let the fits of anxiety win” is something that defeats them. Anxiety toward the assaults is one of the issues that trigger more assaults. So by not allowing them to influence you so much, you diminish that trepidation on future occasions.
11. Figuring out how to Breathe Better
Breathing helps your body calm down when you’re feeling nervous. People with social anxiety often feel like they’re not getting enough air, so taking slow, deep breaths can help make you feel less short of breath and more relaxed overall.
Try breathing in through your nose for four seconds, then exhaling slowly through your mouth for five seconds or longer. The slower you breathe, the better it will work. If that feels too difficult, start doing it for just one second on each inhale and one second on each exhale.
As time goes on, try increasing those numbers by one every few days until you’re up to four seconds on each inhale and five seconds on each exhale.
You should also practice breathing exercises when you’re not feeling anxious; if you practice them regularly, they’ll be easier to do when you need them most.
12. Get support
No matter what kind of problem you’re dealing with, whether it’s social anxiety or addiction, there are people and resources available to help.
Find someone you trust and feel comfortable opening up to. Don’t let your fear get in your way; getting support can often be a major step toward recovery.
If you have a loved one struggling with social anxiety, don’t wait for them to ask for help—offer your assistance as soon as possible.
You may not know how to approach them about their issue, but it doesn’t hurt to try talking about your own experiences if they seem receptive. Offer to take them out somewhere they won’t feel uncomfortable and practice interacting together.
The more comfortable you become around each other, the easier it will be for both of you when you start dating again.
Remember that everyone gets nervous when meeting new people. Your significant other is probably nervous too! Try to make them feel at ease by making small talk and being friendly. Even just smiling at someone can go a long way!
Be patient with yourself: overcoming social anxiety takes time and dedication, so give yourself room to learn from mistakes. Remember that progress isn’t linear—it may seem like you haven’t improved much after a few weeks, but you might surprise yourself down the road!
remember dating anxiety does not only describe you; you’re not alone. Many people experience dating anxiety in one form or another. Apply the tips mentioned above in overcoming social anxiety when dating and be free