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Man with anxiety sitting nervously on a park bench waiting for his date to arrive. A bouquet of flowers sits next to him.


Tips for managing nerves (while still having fun!)

Andy Phillips   |   Fri, 7 Jun 2024

Dating can be wild in the best of circumstances, but when you throw anxiety into the mix, it can feel like you're riding a rickety old rollercoaster with a blindfold on.

Been there, done (and hated) that.

That’s why today we're tackling the nerve-wracking world of dating with anxiety, and offering up some tips to help you make matches while managing your emotions so that you’re able to feel more FUN than FEAR.

1. Embrace the awkwardness

First things first, let's just accept the fact that dating is inherently awkward. No one really knows what they’re doing. Sure, some people might look smooth, but trust me, they’ve all had their fair share of embarrassing moments. So, if you find yourself rambling about your collection of vintage spoons or accidentally spilling your drink, just laugh it off. Awkwardness can be endearing, so embrace it and move on.

2. Plan low-pressure dates

When you have anxiety, the idea of a fancy dinner date can be terrifying. Instead, opt for low-pressure activities where you can both be a bit distracted and more at ease. Think “action dates”: a trip to the arcade, a game of bowling, or a spin around a museum. When you don’t have to be hyper-focused on conversation, it tends to flow more easily. And hey, if the convo lulls, you can always point out a funny-looking statue or an overly enthusiastic pigeon.

3. Adopt pre-date rituals

Create a pre-date ritual that helps calm your nerves. This could be anything from listening to your favorite pump-up playlist (may I suggest some 80s rock anthems?) to doing a quick meditation or some light exercise. A little self-care goes a long way in making you feel more centered and ready to take on the date.

4. Bring a buddy (sort of)

Okay, don’t literally bring a buddy to your date (unless it’s a double date). But it can help to have a friend on standby for a quick pep talk before you head out or even a text message check-in during a bathroom break. Knowing you have a support system can be incredibly reassuring.

5. Be honest about your anxiety

You don’t have to spill your deepest fears right away, but being open about your anxiety can help both you and your date. It’s okay to say something like, “Hey, I get a bit anxious on first dates, so if I seem a little nervous, that’s why.” Chances are, they’ll appreciate your honesty and might even share their own nerves.

6. Practice, practice, practice

The more you date, the more comfortable you’ll become. Think of each date as practice. Even if it doesn’t lead to a second date, you’re still learning and getting better at managing your anxiety in social situations.

7. Know when to tap out

Sometimes, despite all your best efforts, the anxiety might still feel overwhelming. It’s okay to cut a date short if you need to. Politely excuse yourself and take the time you need to regroup. Your mental health is always a priority.

Dating with anxiety can be challenging, but it’s absolutely doable. Remember, everyone has their quirks and insecurities. Embrace yours, be kind to yourself, and most importantly, have fun! After all, dating is supposed to be an adventure. So, buckle up, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride. 🚀

Happy dating! 💖


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