Dating anxiety is a real and common feeling that many people around the world experience. You may have seen it in movies, or with your friends, or experienced it yourself. It is the knot-in-the-stomach feeling when you have to step out and meet someone new for a date, especially if that person is a potential life partner.
In the pandemic, as social interactions have become limited with most people working from home, the prospect of meeting someone new in a romantic setup can be nerve-wracking. If you find yourself in a similar situation right now, Mishi Sood and Tania Sondhi, the co-founders of MatchMe offer simple solutions; read on.
1. The right location
Familiarity can give you comfort, so request your date to meet you at a place that you know well. The ambience should be to your liking. Knowing how to dress for the venue, the best food and drinks, can boost your confidence.
You can take the initiative and order the food, which can serve as an interesting conversation starter. If it’s a virtual date, sit in a cosy space. Choose good lighting and keep a few knick-knacks in the background to give your date clues about your personality — like a favorite book, a picture of your pet or a souvenir from your travels.
Nothing releases anxiety better than articulating your feelings. Let your date know you are anxious. They can share words of reassurance or tell you they are equally nervous themselves. It will also ensure they don’t take your nervousness as strange or standoffish behaviour.
3. Come prepared
A little preparation goes a long way. Make a note of the kind of questions you would like to ask and the topics you would like to avoid. Keeping answers handy on topics that might make you feel vulnerable is always a good idea.
4. Stay in the now
Dating anxiety stems from the need to seem perfect and leave a good first impression. It makes people obsess over every little detail like their appearance, posture, throw of words, choice of footwear, etc. Focus on what is being spoken, and shush that little voice in your head that makes you think about all the things that could go wrong.
5. Try and be positive
It is easy to think things are not going well when your date doesn’t laugh at a joke you make, for instance. Hoping for the desired response on everything is unrealistic so when you start feeling negative, look for evidence that the date is going well. If they smiled when you arrived, were asking you questions, shared something personal about their life, etc. These are indicators that they, too, are enjoying the date.