Struggling with social anxiety but feeling the urge to dip your toe into the dating pool? Know that this path is not closed for you!
Dating is a great way to challenge your social anxiety and challenge your comfort zone a bit. If you do decide to date, it’s important not to be a perfectionist about it. Instead, adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that with time and practice, anyone can achieve anything they want—it’s actually the way things are. indeed work! Casual dating is a great way to build confidence, find support and practice people skills.
Dating gets you out of the house, and going out helps with depression and loneliness. The spontaneity of social interaction also helps put concerns into perspective. It is useful in distracting anxious people from taking over their imaginations and catastrophic thoughts. Even if your date doesn’t go flawlessly (nobody’s perfect) or you’re not a good romantic match, you might just find a friend who accepts you, supports you, and is an ally in your growth.
Keep reading for 6 tips for coping with social anxiety.
Dating Tips To Ease Your Anxiety
When you decide to put yourself out there, here are some helpful mindset tricks you can apply when you start setting dates.
1. Take your time
Dating at your own pace can help you grow. It’s a learning experience. Provides an opportunity to observe and practice social skills. Your new job is to learn how your date initiates conversations and behaves. Focus on them.
Pretend you are a researcher. Use some conversation starters in your meeting and see their reactions. Which of your repertoire of talking points and stories is a hit? Dating offers cooperative lessons. How can you smoothly decide on activities and where to go next? Discover what works for you and what doesn’t. Walking with another person is also a good way to learn to balance thinking only about yourself with thinking about the other person.
2. Test Your Automatic Thoughts
Reality – test your automatic thoughts. If you’ve undergone cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety, be sure to examine and challenge these hidden automatic thoughts and assumptions you’ve entered. Work on overcoming negative thoughts. Some people have irrational, extreme, negative thoughts that appear when they are under stress. Such thoughts! They are not true and should be reality tested and replaced with more rational thinking! Automatic negative thoughts are thoughts like, “I’m stupid,” “No one likes me,” or “I’m going to mess this up,” they need to go!
Attack these thoughts with these three questions:
- What is the evidence for this idea?
- Is this ALWAYS true?
- Am I using old, past experiences to summarize the situation?
While we’re at it, another type of automatic thought you should throw out is the “Should” Get rid of all the “shoulds”. “Should” occurs when we put irrational, unnecessary pressure on ourselves with extreme imperatives such as “I must,” “I have to,” or “I have to.” Who says you have to? Who made these rules? Spoiler, you did and you are too hard on yourself!
An example of this is saying to yourself, “I need to know how to handle this date perfectly and smoothly.” How exactly do you know how to do this? You haven’t been to many meetings, you’re just learning. Be comfortable with yourself. A dogmatic “must” doesn’t need to speak for itself and causes anxiety.
It may be helpful to phrase “what you need” instead of “what you want”. whom Happen.” Framing them this way is less scary and less anxiety-provoking. For example, you might say to yourself, “I’d like to be comfortable, confident, and pleasant on dates.” You’re already getting to know each other more, so you’re practicing and making progress. You you will get there!
3. Share your feelings
Share your feelings. Talk about your concerns about the date. It can be helpful to talk to a friend or therapist about specific things that are bothering you about what happened during your session instead of going over and over in your thoughts. After you’ve verbalized your fears, the two of you can come up with a plan in case you encounter a specific problem you’re worried about.
You may even find that when you put your fearful situation into words, it is much less likely to happen. It sounds real in the real world in your imagination, maybe not so much. You might even consider telling your date briefly that you’re worried. Talking about your feelings can take away their negative power. Many people have experienced uncomfortable moments in their lives, and if your date can empathize, it can be a moment of closure.
Getting ready is not cheating! You know those “life of the party” types? In reading about social skills coaching, I learned that many of them have a secret. They prepare in advance. They carefully consider the people who will be at the party and what they know about their likes and dislikes and whether they have past hobbies and come up with words that will appeal to them. These social butterflies also think about fun facts they’ve discovered, stories to talk about in the news, and fun and interesting things they’ve done lately. They may even use several techniques to tell the story out loud. It seems spontaneous, but they did some homework.
Before your date, you can think about things you can talk about yourself. Some examples are: things you did this summer, viral videos you enjoyed, things you read, hobbies or interests, or anecdotes about work or school. Easy conversation questions you can ask your date include the old standby, “what are you doing this weekend?” If it’s Monday or Tuesday, “Did you do anything fun last weekend?” Ask them about work or school or summer vacation. If you’ve heard of their talents or hobbies, ask about them. Complementing an outfit or accessory always goes well. Follow up by asking them where they got it. Ask them about their future plans, where they want to be in five years, or what’s on their bucket list. If these thoughts seem overwhelming, consider yourself. It can be very helpful to have some ideas in your mind that you can easily call up during a quiet time.
5. Get busy the next day
It is important to be busy the next day. Many people with anxiety will spend their day following a perfectly successful social experiment, “Monday Morning Quarterbacking.” It means picking apart every little detail of history and trying to tear defeat from the jaws of victory. They mull over the history until they find some small detail to wreak havoc on. Finally, if they are not careful, they reframe the whole experience as negative. That’s why it’s so important that you try your best to be as mentally engaged as possible after the meeting. Avoid disasters by talking to people on the phone, hanging out with your best friend, or surrounding yourself with technology and humor (like watching funny videos on your phone). Continue over the next few days. You need to use all your distraction and reality check skills. Your goal is not to automatically let your negative thoughts and overthinking, to dissect your performance and falsely “find” all the things you’re doing wrong. This trap can be very damaging to both your self-esteem and your ability to go on future dates. So be as busy and alert as possible so that these thoughts do not enter.
6. Challenge yourself to boost your confidence
My final tip for you is to challenge yourself to get out and have more dating experiences despite your social anxiety. The more you persevere and experience dating life for what it is, the more you’ll find that you can be confident around others. You will begin to develop a repertoire of topics to nurture and ultimately relax and find a more positive perspective. Dating, despite being socially awkward, may be worth the effort for you because it offers many chances to practice and develop your social skills. Dating also increases the likelihood of finding love and companionship, which for most people is a desirable boost to their overall well-being and satisfaction.
Final Thoughts on Dating Social Anxiety
Dating is a great way to challenge your social anxiety and challenge your comfort zone. With time and practice, you can achieve anything you want. If you struggle with social anxiety, Lucia can help!
You can contact Lucy directly or find out more about her expertise here or on her website.