Although now becoming a distant memory, I still recall my first foray into online dating. I was so freaked out that every time someone messaged me it felt like they were in the room with me! I’m sure some of you don’t suffer that level of anxiety, but if you do, I promise it gets better with time and practice.
Whether you’re looking for a casual hookup or something more serious, the nerves often come into play and can debilitate the process or keep us from meeting compatible dates, lovers, and partners.
I’ll share with you some tips that I learned over time and experience that helped me keep my cool and build my dating confidence.
6 Tips to Calm Your Dating Anxiety
- Write a great dating profile and refresh regularly. This is a common mistake men (and women) make right out of the gate. If you don’t put the effort in to write an awesome profile, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Think of the dating profile as your calling card that will help fill up your dance card.
- Have a support system. My girlfriends who had been using online dating years before myself were essential. They encouraged me, told me stories of their own ups and downs of online dating, helped me write a profile that reflected who I really am and what I was really looking for, as well as helped me choose potential dates.
- Cut yourself some slack. Everyone gets nervous to some extent. Online dating isn’t as natural as meeting a friend of a friend at a party, but it might be one’s best resource, because maybe you live in a small town or maybe you want to meet a trans woman (who isn’t shopping at the same grocery store as you). Take the time and space online dating affords to browse, message, and talk back and forth until you feel comfortable to meet in person.
- Plan dates in your comfort zone. I always recommend taking the lead and planning the first date because women like a man with a plan, but if anxiety plagues you, it’s okay to suggest a place or activity that you are familiar with. Try to choose somewhere or something that also incorporates her interests, and you’ve got a win-win.
- Take a breather when needed. You want to feel your best when you put yourself out there. Know when it’s time to take a dating break to recover and regroup, especially after a disappointing rejection (yep, these are par for the online course.) I tend to go on a bunch of dates every six months, unless something pans out and becomes a regular hookup or relationship; if nothing happens, I chill out a few months before logging back on.
- Reframe how you view your anxiety. I grew up thinking of anxiety as a “bad” emotion, much like jealousy and anger. I now see all these feelings as normal and that can be managed through things like exercise and breathing techniques. When I do get anxious about talking to someone online or meeting in person, I switch the word “anxious” for “excited” which doesn’t have the same negative connotation for me—it works, try it!
Do you struggle with dating anxiety? Please share a story or tips in the comments!