How Social Anxiety can control your dating life

Posted by Wesley, 14 Nov

Social anxiety can really pose a problem if you want to meet someone. Just going out on a single date can result in feeling paralyzed with nerves. It is normal to have some first-date jitters, feel butterflies in your tummy or worry that you might run out of conversations. But to feel like you can’t leave your home to date a potential partner can have dramatic consequences.  If this sounds familiar, you could be letting your social anxiety control you.

Read on to find out some of the things to watch out for...

Social anxiety symptoms not to ignore

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What are you looking for?

Social anxiety disorder is the type of anxiety that fills you with dread even before you step out of the door. You’ve already decided on the outcome of your date because you’ve let social anxiety control you!  You’ve told yourself you won’t be interesting enough, exciting enough, you will likely say the wrong thing and then he or she won’t bother contacting you again. So that must mean you’re completely undesirable.

The bottom line is, you’ll have talked yourself out of any enjoyment and already doomed your date to disaster.  You might even cancel.  These are social anxiety symptoms and social anxiety at its worst.

If you allow nervous anticipation to turn into a huge cloud of self-doubt and fear then take steps to try and stop it. Otherwise, you won’t give yourself the chance to go out there and meet someone.

If you manage to actually get to your date, at least you’ve overcome some of your anxiety. However, the possibility of a great date can be completely ruined by your own anxiety.  You might analyze every moment of your date, cringe inwardly if you think you made a mistake, overthink your conversation and then misinterpret any signs that your date actually enjoyed being with you!  So you could even halt the chances of your date going further because you’ve already decided you ruined it!  This is another sign that social anxiety is controlling you.

Sometimes, those who have social anxiety disorder will even decline a second date because they feel they don't deserve it. Some even feel they can’t cope with the same nerves again.  This is debilitating behavior. Luckily, there are psychological strategies that can transform that type of behavior and make social situations manageable.

Even confident people experience some social nerves

The truth is, most people experience social anxiety about friendships. It’s nerve-racking to walk into a room full of people you don’t know. Even the most confident people have some feelings of self-doubt every now and then.  However, when it gets to the stage when it gets in the way of day to day activities and causes endless distress, it is time to realize that social anxiety is controlling your life.

Getting over social anxiety

The best way to go about dealing with phobia is through cognitive therapy.  This helps people to shift the way they perceive situations using strategies that are learned and practiced over time.  This changes one's thinking and behavior making it easier to connect with others.

Cognitive therapy challenges negative thoughts. It helps people to look at things in different ways.  For instance, someone who experiences intense dating nerves might think their date didn’t like them because they failed to get in contact quickly. Cognitive therapy changes this way of thinking by making you see that it could have been a number of reasons such as work commitments, family commitments, illness or otherwise.  Cognitive therapy can help turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

So, rather than letting bad social anxiety control you, take steps to stop it.

Things to try

If you are nervous about how your conversation will go, think of topics before the date. You will definitely find some common ground. And when you do, use that topic to grow a conversation.  If the conversation doesn’t move on, move to the next topic. Alternatively, let your date lead but always respond. Don’t limit yourself to one-word answers. If it just isn’t working, it’s likely that the two of you don’t gel and not because you are awkward.

Don’t come across as being disinterested or cold.  Shyness is often mistaken for coolness when it isn’t.  So, practice smiling. People like happy faces and are naturally drawn towards them.  On a date, make as much eye contact as possible.  Smile.

Be honest and tell your date that you are nervous. Any date worthwhile will be kind and mindful of your feelings.  If they are not, then, they’re not worth it!

Stop analyzing others.  Most people analyze other people’s words and actions. But more than half the time, the interpretation is not right.  If you’re shy, others may assume you are unfriendly.  Another person might be equally shy and you might find them unfriendly.  Take everything said at face value and stop overthinking things.

If you struggle meeting someone, try online dating. You can chat first and create great rapport which will help alleviate first-time nerves.

Conclusion

Always remember to turn to your family and friend who love you and you know you’re a decent, kind person.  If others don’t recognize that, let that be their problem, not yours. They are the ones missing out on your personality!

Once you stop putting pressure on yourself to be that “popular” person, eventually, you will be more relaxed.

Don’t avoid social situations. The more you expose yourself the better you will be able to deal with them.

Try the above-suggested tips. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The feelings of anxiety everyone hates me may be better addressed through therapy.  Don’t be ashamed of asking for help if social anxiety is preventing you from enjoying life to the fullest.

Visit love is all colors to read more about how to deal with shyness in the dating world.

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