You’ve made the connection, you’ve done the flirting, you have the date. Don’t freak out.
So you’ve matched on a dating app or made a connection through a friend or matchmaker and you’re finally excited to meet someone! There’s a lot that goes into getting to that place, so we get it, but don’t sabotage yourself before you get there.
Dating anxiety stems from risk of being rejected; it’s as simple as that. You want to make a great first impression, but you feel vulnerable.
The best way to get over dating anxiety is practice. You can practice with your close friends or even with new friends. Apps like Bumble BFF or Hey! VINA are built to connect people for friendship. If you can practice having a first friend-date with a new pal, it will give you the confidence you need to be less anxious in a potentially more vulnerable situation.
How do you practice? Keep a few simple things to keep in mind on your “dry-run dates”:
1. Ask questions about their background. If you live by your calendar, you can jot down a few talking points about things you’ve already asked about on the phone or via text. You’ve probably covered things like where they’re from, what they do, how long they’ve lived in your city, etc. You can take a quick peek on your way to the date and feel prepared knowing that you won’t be repeating yourself. Plus they’ll be flattered you remembered
2. Give yourself some time. Buffer a little time to prep for the date, you’ll want to feel your best so don’t rush through that process. It’s also nice to arrive a little early and take a short walk to breathe and calm your nerves before walking in. Rushing will only add to your anxiety, especially if you’re running late.
3. Pull from the environment. You don’t need to fill every second with conversation but if there is a lull, you can talk about the food, lighting in the restaurant, decor or a similar favorite place. Try to keep this stuff positive, better not to complain about the service unless it’s laughably terrible and you can connect on that.
4. Stay on topic. The first date is all about getting to know someone and hearing their story. So rather than making it feel like an interview with question after question or checking off boxes, try to dig a little deeper when you see your date light up about a certain subject. Ask open-ended questions that help you connect and learn more about their motivation or personal experience.
Finally, try not to take yourself too seriously! Dating can be stressful but it can also be fun. You either walk into a date and make a great connection or you walk away knowing a little more about yourself. It’s a win-win.