Dating is like a double-edged sword. It helps you to get to know yourself and your potential partner, but at the same time, it can make you anxious, especially if it’s your first time. It compels you to be vulnerable and no one likes to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable means putting yourself out there and at the risk of getting hurt. Hence, the widely-known dating anxiety arises. 

But the thing with dating anxiety that most fail to comprehend is that it is a good thing in the first place. Having anxiety about something means that you want to protect yourself from getting hurt, which is a good thing. However, you do not want to act rashly on this feeling. Understand it and analyze whether it is hindering you from experiencing something new and exciting or not. 

Acting upon your anxiety can stunt your decision-making process and lead to overthinking about small things. This is exhausting and can make you regret your choices. Therefore, it is necessary to cope with this dating anxiety so you can openly enjoy the dating experience. 

Here are some tips to deal with anxiety whenever you are dating someone new

1.      Challenge your anxiety by analysing your thought process

Anxiety is often characterized by the production of a compendium of negative thoughts, apart from the change in the heart rate, temperature levels of the body, etc. It generally centers around the ‘what if?’ question, accompanied by worst-case scenarios, negative imaginations, overthinking, and making too broad assumptions. 

When this happens be conscious of what you think and what kind of thoughts swirl inside your mind. For instance, if your thoughts constantly echo one question: ‘what if he or she doesn’t like me?’, counter-question yourself with, ‘what if they do?’, ‘what if this works out?’. And even if they do reject you, big deal. That should not harm your self-esteem and change the way you perceive yourself.  

You have no idea what they are thinking about you, it could be good or bad. But that does not mean that you have to act impetuously or think brashly about it. 

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2.      Convince yourself to think and be more positive

Sometimes when you are on a date with someone, things might go a little unexpected and your brain might tell you that this is not going well. So, you will look for certain signs or indications compelling you to believe that the date is not going well, no matter how much the situation is otherwise.

This generally happens as a consequence of the negative thought patterns swirling inside your brain which are manifested in reality by constantly believing it. So, whenever you feel like this on a date, stop this negative thought pattern and do the opposite. Find some positive signs to convince yourself that the date will be fine. 

You can change the topic of conversation if you want to and make It more lively. You can also chant some positive affirmations in your mind, like ‘The date is going just fine, ‘ I am confident and good’, 

‘There is nothing wrong with me’, etc.

These positive affirmations will help you restore your confidence and get rid of dating anxiety.

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3.      Be prepared

Sometimes anxiety and nervousness can also result from a lack of preparation before going out on a date with someone. This preparation involves keeping some questions in mind that you want to ask your date and other points that you would like to discuss.

Asking someone about their hobbies is a bit of a boring question. If you want to know the other person, you can ask them the taste of their music, their driving force in life that compels them to wake up every day, their favorite traveling destinations, etc.

4.      Be mindful of your anxiety triggers

More often than not, when you have to do something new like going on a date with someone new, you are bound to experience some form of anxiety. In some cases, the anxiety can be so strong that you feel like canceling the date in the end.

You might feel relaxed after canceling the date after all, but for how long will you keep canceling dates out of fear and anxiety? When you cancel a date, you are robbing yourself of the experience of meeting someone new and probably, a good potential partner. 

So, whenever you feel like canceling the date out of anxiety, stop, take a breath and reconsider your decision. Tell yourself that it will be a little discomforting at first but you will surely get in the groove and enjoy the other’s company. If it doesn’t work out, it’s okay, at least you learned something and you fought your anxiety. If it does, you will be very proud of fighting your anxiety.

5.      Try to maintain balance in a relationship

Sometimes, people suffering from severe anxiety might feel that their thought processes and feelings are a result of their partner’s misconduct. This is far from the truth. Your date is not responsible for managing whatever you are feeling. 

If you are feeling lonely, worried, nervous over something that they have said or done, the first thing that you should do is communicate your feelings, before holding them accountable for the smallest of their actions. 

You can ask them for reassurance to a certain extent but you cannot constantly ask them to change their behavior just so you can feel relaxed or comfortable. For instance, if they missed your call, you cannot incessantly call them or get agitated when they do not call you back. Or you cannot constantly push them to become more serious in a new relationship. Let them take some time and give them some space to think things over.

Your anxiety is your responsibility and no one else can deal with it except you. One way to do so while you are dating is to set your boundaries and honor them, regulate your emotions, communicate openly, and have positive self-talk.  

These are some of the tips and tricks that can help you cope with dating anxiety. It feels disconcerting to end it on a sad note, but here’s the bad news: You may not be able to completely eradicate this nervousness and anxiousness. It will always be there whenever you are trying to do something new. 

But what you can do is view it from a different perception. All this time, you have been wrestling with your anxiety. Instead of viewing it as a bad thing, think it as a good thing that is protecting you from getting hurt. But, at the same time, try to maintain a balance and control yourself from acting upon this feeling. Remember, anxiety is your friend and not a foe!

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