When you’re playing the dating game and meeting new people, the first date nerves are SO real.
It’s scary having to meet someone, judge them, have them judge you, and then decide if you want to judge each other again over dinner another day??? Nooo thank you. But also, yes plz — because you’d really like to find a partner. The only thing getting in your way is your anxiety about it all!
If you’ve got new relationship anxiety, we have some awesome and super helpful tips on how to overcome and push past that dating anxiety!
1. Be Kind to Yourself
Guess what? Everyone feels anxious before a date. EVERYONE. Even if your date looks calm, cool, and collected, they’re probably a bundle of nerves, too! And anyone who says they don’t get nervous is probably a liar and you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, thank you very much.
When you struggle with anxiety when dating someone new, the whole process can fill you with self-doubt. Not only are you seeing if you actually like this person, you’re also saying, Hey…do you like me? Am I good enough? I’m cute, right? It’s a vulnerable situation where you could either be rejected, or there’s no spark and you feel like it was a total waste of time. So yes, it’s normal and completely okay to feel anxious when dating. Give yourself the space to feel all the emotions you’re experiencing. You’re not alone, we promise!
2. Reframe Negative Thoughts
Anxious thoughts tend to pop up outta nowhere at the WORST times. It’s like just when you’re starting to feel confident for this date, looking cute AF, your mind starts listing all of the possibilities that could go wrong. What if I embarrass myself? What if the date is super awkward? What if they’re not attracted to me?
Social anxiety and dating is a not-so-fun mix. Let’s turn those anxious thoughts around and keep in mind the date could go right instead! What if we hit it off? What if we have a ton in common? What if we wanna see each other again? Hey, that’s better! Also, keep in mind that just because dating someone doesn’t work out, it DEFINITELY doesn’t mean you’re an undateable little gremlin.
Grab your pens and papers everyone because it’s our favourite time of the day — journaling time! Journaling is a 10/10 practice for exploring your feelings, especially when you’re anxious about dating. You can journal to help determine what is causing you anxiety, follow prompts on how to love yourself, and even learn more about yourself as a person. You might think you know yourself, but trust us, when you journal, you can write down some surprising things!
To help your dating anxiety, you can journal out your worst-case scenario on a date. Maybe that’s being stood up, having wine thrown on you, or maybe even being kidnapped. Journal it out and walk away, then come back later when you’re less anxious and analyze if that fear is realistic. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.
Also, take some time to journal about your worth! Instead of asking yourself, “Why is dating so hard?” you should be asking, “What are the many ways I’m super freaking dateable?” You need to recognize all of the amazing things that you have to offer—and if someone doesn’t see them, go back to that list to boost your confidence and know that this person missed out on a BADDIE!
4. Talk It Out
In the days, hours, minutes leading up to the date, you might still have those nerves. Before you start typing out an elaborate text to your date about how your sister’s three-legged cat ran away and you’re so sorry but you’re gonna have to cancel, pause first. Take a deep breath. Do a mindfulness exercise to slow down all those racing thoughts (we have free ones in the DiveThru app, btw). FaceTime or text your bestie about how you’re so anxious for this date so they can hype you up and reassure you that it’s not as big of a deal as you think.
Make an escape plan with your friend just in case the date ends up being a total disaster. Choose an emoji or code word to text them if you need to get outta the date but have no idea how. This can be their signal to call or text you with an excuse to leave (probs steer clear of the three-legged cat story, though). You probably won’t have to use it, but just knowing your friend is on standby for you will put your mind at ease!
If you’re struggling with your anxiety and you’ve been seeing someone (that you’re comfy with) for a while then don’t be afraid to open up! Ask them if you can lay your anxieties out on the table. And you know what? If they really like you and respect you, they’ll only meet you with tons of love, kindness and understanding. UGH SO CUTE!
5. Use Movement to Work Through Nerves
If you want to know how to stop being nervous, think about how your nerves make you feel. Jittery? Excited? Breathing faster than normal? Heart racing? Can’t stop your leg from bouncing? A little bit of movement can help you work out the energy!
Oh, and just to clarify, this is NOT about you needing to look a certain way to date, because fuck that. We’re not about toxic diet culture at DiveThru. You are hella dateable exactly as you are!!
The reason we recommend a bit of movement, in whatever way makes you happy, is to get rid of some of the excess energy. Your adrenaline is pumping! Your body is kicking into fight or flight mode. Moving around can help your body and brain use that energy and bring you back to a semi-relaxed state. So go for a walk, have a living room dance party, or do a quick yoga flow—whatever you enjoy!
6. Have a Safety Net
If you think that your dating anxiety is going to get the best of you, plan ahead and have an excuse to leave. Maybe you only want the date to be an hour, so you arrange to meet at a restaurant an hour before they close. Then you can fake not knowing that the place closes so soon, and your date is none the wiser!
If you’re afraid that you won’t have anything to talk about, choose to have a date in a public setting. That way you can people-watch your little hearts out and always have something to talk about!
If you’re worried about your physical safety, meet in a public place that makes you feel secure. Text your friends updates about where you are and when, just so someone knows your whereabouts. You can even invite your friends to be on a “fake date” near you to make you feel more comfortable meeting a total stranger.
And, text or call a friend if you’re really nervous when you get to the date spot! There is absolutely zero shame in asking to be hyped up a lil’ bit. Having a reassuring call with your bestie might be just the thing that you need!
7. Be Yourself
PSA: You don’t need someone to “complete” you. Let’s say that again louder for the people in the back. YOU DON’T NEED ANYONE TO COMPLETE YOU!! You, just as you are, are worthy of love, respect, and happiness — with or without a partner. To be yourself is to know yourself AND know how great you are.
Also, being yourself means knowing your morals, values, and what you want in a partner. If your date doesn’t have those things, it’s okay to say that you don’t want to see them again. What you want and need in a partner are totally valid and you shouldn’t have to settle!
If someone doesn’t like you when you’re being yourself, it doesn’t mean that you’re undesirable. Think about a movie you saw that you weren’t big on that everyone else raved about. Does that mean the movie is bad? Nope! It just means that it’s not for everyone. You’re not gonna be for everyone, but you’re gonna be loooved by some people, and that’s all that matters!
8. Enjoy the Process
Dating can be scary… but it can also be sooo fun! There’s the excitement of meeting someone new, the butterflies when making plans AND getting to spend time with this person that you really like!
If you’ve been with this person for a little while, enjoy spending some quality time with them. Enjoy this time dedicated to just the two of you! The beginning of a relationship is so sweet and exciting, and you’ll look back at it years later with fondness.
But if it’s all a bit too overwhelming, know that you can always cancel. You don’t have to totally CANCEL cancel, but you can reschedule or offer up a more anxiety-friendly suggestion. Listen to what your body and mind need, and if it’s not right for you to go on this date, it’s not right for you! And that’s okay!
In the words of Lady Gaga, you’re “talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before…” and honestly, SHE SPEAKS THE TRUTH! We 100% believe that you are all of these things and we hope that you see it too! You deserve happiness, healthy love, exciting dates, and maaaagical romance.