If you have social anxiety, going on dates must sound like an absolute nightmare. It certainly does for me. Even getting a message on a dating app about meeting up made me feel sick.
Im an incredibly nice person so I still feel guilty about the time I stood a guy up due to my social anxiety. I went to the location, saw him standing there, panicked and immediately turned back. I apologised but let’s just say he didn’t message me again. Completely understandable.
Just the thought of being in a dating type situation makes my stomach do twists and turns and I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way.
Therefore I have decided to share my favourite tips on how to handle social anxiety before and during a date. You will hopefully be able to benefit from this post in some way, shape or form.
Especially with valentines day coming up this Friday!
Before even accepting a date with anyone, tell them about your social anxiety. Then they will understand if you are slightly awkward or shy at first.
It is usually the initial thought of acting this way in front of a potential partner and not being able to explain yourself which can trigger anxiety. My first thought is that they may assume I’m not interested or something.
That’s why it’s best to let them know in advance.
If they don’t understand and laugh at you when you tell them (this has happened to me) then you have dodged a bullet. You don’t want to be with someone who laughs at your valid feelings and emotions.
You can do better!
Get Encouragement From a Friend
Dating with social anxiety is difficult and I’m sure your friends will understand that and have your back.
Call them or text them before the date and let them throw some well deserved encouragement your way.
This can be an amazing and simple way to get over your nerves. They will help you to realise what an amazing human being you are and that you have absolutely nothing to be scared of. The horrible feeling in your stomach will at least stop whilst you’re talking to them.
My friends have been there for me before and after dates and I’ve never been more thankful for them.
It’s nice knowing a friend is on the other side of the phone if a date isn’t going well too. Send them a message to rescue you and I’m sure they will think of something quickly.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to dating, it is perfectly okay to keep it simple.
Don’t assume that you need to dress up in your best dress and go to a super fancy restaurant. This is very unlikely to happen anyway.
Go for a walk, meet in a coffee shop for an hour, go to the cinema. Anything simple like these can be amazing first dates and much less daunting.
This way you don’t have to make too much of an effort to look amazing beforehand. Dating with social anxiety can really make you doubt yourself.
I would find myself looking in the mirror after working so hard on my outfit and make up and not being able to ignore my brain telling me that I looked stupid. All that time and effort just went down the drain and I ended up just not wanting to go.
That’s why you need to think of an activity that you will both enjoy and that won’t require too much extra planning and effort.
Think of something simple and within your comfort zone. Your date will and should understand.
Make Your Date Aware Of Your Limits and Boundaries
I struggle with relationship anxiety and getting close to anyone so I always like to make any potentials aware of my boundaries before a first date.
I highly suggest that you do the same thing! As well as telling them about your social anxiety, make sure they respect you and your limits before going on any sort of a date with them.
If they don’t then walk away. They will not be any good for your mental health and it won’t be worth your time or effort in the long run. Everyone has boundaries and they need to be respected. End of.
No kissing or more on the first date is my limit. This is too soon and will just make me panic and extremely uncomfortable so I make sure to draw a big line beforehand.
Try and prevent any awkward moments before they can happen and then you won’t lie awake worrying about it.
Start A Journal
I know I’m always going on about journaling but hear me out.
Journals are a godsend. I recommend that you write a paragraph in it before any date.
You can either write a list of things that you love about yourself and all the reasons why your date will think you are great.
If you strongly believe these things, they definitely will too.
Or, you can use a method that I learned in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions.
Simply write down your anxious thought and challenge it. Come up with an alternative and more positive thought and you will feel so much better!
Alternatively, you can start a gratitude journal and write down everything that you are grateful for. This way, if the date doesn’t go to plan, you can look at the journal and know that you have more important things to lose and this doesn’t matter!
Get yourself in the right mindset and everything will be okay.
If you suffer with social anxiety and dating is an absolute nightmare for you. I hope this blog post has given you some tips to help you along the way and dating with social anxiety won’t be too much of a struggle.
Remember self love is the strongest love. Learn to love yourself first and don’t rush into relationships. You have plenty of time for that and you will have so much more love to give.
This post is a part of the Love Myself 2020 Challenge. You can check out a few more blog posts created by the other amazing bloggers that I’m working with this month here:
Thank you for reading!