Show of hands, who has ever felt dating anxiety before?
It’s happened to the best of us and creeps up on you in several different ways. For instance, dating jitters can show up as incoherent babbling when you try to say hello for the first time. Anxiety can show up as butterflies in your stomach right before the first date. Or, nervousness can show up as extreme shyness (when in reality you’re kicking yourself for not speaking up and showing off your wits).
First of all, let’s talk about this term, “dating anxiety.” According to Psychology Today, dating is an undefined relationship between two people, with no official commitment. Anxiety means apprehension or worry in a stressful situation. Put the two together and you see that dating anxiety is when a person is worried or under stress when interacting with someone they are dating or want to date.
If you have anxiety, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. It’s natural to have feelings of shyness, fear, or “approach anxiety” when you’re meeting new people. These feelings are typical, but if they persist beyond the first few encounters with a potential partner, they could impact you more than you know. You could miss out on an incredible opportunity with someone. And worse, you may wonder, “what if…” for the rest of your life.
Fear not, for we are going to talk about tips to minimize your dating anxiety right now.
Dating Anxiety Solutions:
Step 1: Curious dating 101
This new piece of dating advice is all about being, you guessed it, curious. This is a good tip for “getting out of your own head,” according to Psychology Today. Because, at the end of the day, the anxiety and nervousness you feel is in your head. So, you have to take steps to get past it. With a simple shift in perspective, this can be easier than you think.
How do you practice curious dating? Here are a few ideas:
- Open your mind. You never know how your love interest will surprise you, in a good way. Suspend your judgments, open your mind, and learn everything you can about your potential partner.
- Ask about them. The first step of being curious is having a genuine desire to get to know who you’re talking to. Treat your experience as you would treat anything that you’re learning about for the first time. People can tell when you’re truly interested. Shower the other person with your undivided attention (i.e. bye-bye phone)!
- Learn their perspective and share yours. Everyone brings their own unique point of view. Learn about their perspective and share your own, too. You’ll find common ground, learn points of difference, and feel closer in the process.
So the first step in conquering dating anxiety is to stop assuming you know what will happen and just be curious about the future instead.
Step 2: The gift of gab (in a good way)
So, you’ve learned how to be “curious” in dating when first meeting new people. Now, it’s time to talk about initiating conversation and feeling confident while doing so.
The secret to starting a conversation comfortably is having confidence in yourself. Many people feel intimidated initiating conversations due to insecurities regarding others’ perceptions or a fear of being uninteresting.
Trust me, you are interesting! So, take notes on yourself. What makes you unique? What makes you, you? Once you start thinking of these great characteristics, you’ll feel ready.
Step 3: Body language says it all
Before you approach someone to initiate a conversation, let your body do the talking. How you present yourself says a lot before your words ever do. Are you hunched over? Not smiling? Those signals say something.
Are you standing tall, shoulders back, with a smile on your face? That says something else, something positive. Be cognizant of your nonverbal cues.
Dating Anxiety Is Manageable
You’re now armed with simple, but effective tools to kick your dating anxiety to the curb. Practice your curious dating skills, be aware of your unique charms so you can speak without apprehension, and be mindful of your nonverbal actions. These tips will help you achieve the biggest piece of dating advice of all – having confidence in yourself.
Go have some great conversations because practice makes it easier!