Anxiety is a natural part of life. Each of us experiences some degree of worry in our lives. A level of worry leads to healthy choices, such as wearing a seat belt, taking vitamins and looking both ways before crossing the street.
Anxiety may heighten during life transitions, milestones, decision-making and significant events. In particular, many single people experience anxiety around dating, relationships and commitment, causing a first date with a stranger to feel like an insurmountable task. Dating can be incredibly intimidating, especially for individuals who are prone to higher levels of anxiety. It is important to remember that some anxiety is reasonable and realistic to expect. It is human nature to be nervous in a new situation with a new person.
The key to managing dating anxiety is to resist allowing it to control you, hijack your date or prevent you from dating if it is love that you are looking for. Common sources of anxiety around dating include concerns about first impressions, getting along with your date and the possibility of rejection or the date going poorly. Questions about what to wear, what to talk about, how to combat shyness, etc. may ignite an anxious mind. Anxiety may also appear if you question whether or not you are worthy and deserving of love. There are a lot of unknowns about first dates, so it is easy for your mind to come up with a series of “what if’s.”
For some daters, anxiety presents as butterflies, jittery feelings or sensations in the body, sweaty palms and an increased heartbeat. None of these presentations are bad; they are actually commonly experienced when dating. What matters most is how you manage anxious feelings and thoughts on your road to love. Although it may be tempting to relieve pre-date nerves by drinking (especially if that is your current anxiety management tool), learning and using healthy coping skills to diminish anxiety truly goes a long way in life and love.
So how can you date despite the anxiety you feel? How can you pump yourself up prior to a first date?
For more on this article and ten healthy ways to tame first date anxiety, click here.
Wishing you the best,
Rachel Dack, MS, LCPC, NCC
Welcome to Rachel Dack Counseling LLC’s blog, written by Rachel Dack, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (L.C.P.C.) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Rachel provides psychotherapy and relationship coaching services to individuals and couples in her Bethesda, Maryland office and over the phone.