The thing with anxiety is that we start to view the world from a fear mindset. We think of all the what-if and could-be’s that spiral into thoughts based on assumptions. Anxiety, in general, is no fun to deal with but can be exacerbated in dating. For example, if we think someone isn’t going to like us, we will spend our time with them looking for things that confirm our assumption, making dating mentally taxing with anxiety.
Dating with anxiety
Assumptions are the enemy
Assumptions lead to negative thoughts for those of us with anxiety. So the first step to dating with anxiety is challenging any of your assumptions. Anxiety can manifest in the thoughts that pop into our heads. For example, we can start to think we won’t be good enough for someone after they get to know us or that we will face rejection. But those thoughts are all based on our anxiety and insecurity of not being good enough.
Challenge those thoughts by asking yourself if being rejected is the worst thing or if the date doesn’t go well. Does that make me a bad person? The answer to both of those questions is no. Being rejected isn’t the worst thing that can happen, and you aren’t a bad person if a date doesn’t go well. It just means you were all that compatible.
Communication is key
Communication and anxiety are like oil and vinegar. They don’t mix well. Anxiety makes communication harder than it has to be because you get in your head about little things. As a result, you start to overthink issues and undervalue your feelings. But with anxiety, communication is necessary, but it’s up to you to decide how much you want to communicate about your anxiety when you first start seeing someone.
Letting the person you recently started dating know how you feel is the game changer from feeling comfortable and safe to talk instead of being anxious and neglected.
Positivity is a mindset
Our anxiety can cause us to look for things that validate our assumptions. We go looking for the things that make us think that the person across the table from us doesn’t like us. We project those assumptions, which is how we view ourselves and not necessarily how others view us.
Positivity is a mindset. This is something that I have had to work on myself. I am a glass-half-empty person, so positivity isn’t my first inclination. But if you can reshape the way you think of things at times with a more positive outlook, you can fight off the self-doubt when it starts to creep into your head.
Being prepared helps
Nothing helps alleviate anxiousness more than having a game plan. And while it’s hard to have a game plan for a date, you can still come prepared. Have some go-to questions in your back pocket, ready for when a lull in conversation happens. People love to talk about themselves and their interests, so stay in the moment and be ready with your go-to questions, and you won’t have to worry about getting lost in your thoughts and assumptions if you are too distracted having a good time.
Here are a few tips on keeping the conversation going during a first date because, let’s be real, it can be awkward at times getting to know someone new.
No one can help you manage your anxiety. It’s up to you to find and implement the tools that work for you. Communication will help deal with certain anxiety triggers while dating. It allows you to create, set, and maintain boundaries while still sharing parts of your life and yourself you are comfortable with sharing.
And if you don’t know where to start building your toolbox, try reaching out to a therapist. And yes, therapy can be expensive, but with the help of nonprofits like Rise Above the Disorder, you can find cheap and affordable mental health care. (I used RAD to help find a therapist, telling everyone I meet about them.)