Putting yourself out there on the dating scene? It has a way of making even the more confident singles feel exposed and vulnerable. If you suffer from stress or anxiety, it’s double. Triple if it’s a social anxiety disorder. Not to mention any other mental health conditions. These make negotiating the world of dating in 2021 to be challenging AF. Navigating different apps is downright dreadful ! “Swiping” left or right, deciding whether to filter or not to filter, and dealing with “ghosting” or “roaching”. These are just some of the new pressures we can face. All of this now comes before we also have to deal with stresses of choosing what to wear, where to meet, or how deep we’re going to get on the first date.
Handling Anxiety and Dating Post-Pandemic
My experiences of suffering from depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and depersonalization mean that I have an understanding of how social anxiety disorder can affect our everyday lives. It also can have a huge impact on making and maintaining intimate relationships, and so dating for someone suffering from anxiety or SAD is going to be challenging. Compounded with our own emotional issues, we now have to take into account someone elses emotions and.
The Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder and Dating Anxiety
Social Anxiety Disorder is a debilitating fear of being watched and judged by people. I swear someone is always watching me, when in all actuality ain't no one paying me no mind. It is more than shyness, and has a huge influence on our mental health and wellness. Blushing, sweating, trembling, feeling nauseous, and finding it difficult to speak or make eye contact are a few of the most common symptoms.
Experiencing any of these feelings can make day-to-day social situations a challenge. It is easy to understand how a person suffering from social anxiety might also have extreme dating anxiety. They might be tempted to avoid dating and trying to develop close relationships at all.
The Challenges of Dating Post-Pandemic
Having gone through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all a little more vulnerable to mental health challenges and issues. Periods of social isolation and lack of face-to-face contact over a sustained period might lead to anxiety. It might cause an even more pronounced fear of social situations in someone who suffers from social and dating anxiety, anyway. No to mention let someone so much as clear their throats around you and you instantly think it's corona.
Suggestions for Dating and Social Anxiety Relief
My first piece of advice for someone with anxiety dipping their toe in the dating world would be to challenge your own negative feelings. Make a conscious effort to focus on the positive. A positive affirmation like, “I am a smart, beautiful, wonderful person,” can help you steer away from unhelpful thoughts. Even if this date doesn’t work out, you are still a good person!
Prepare yourself for conversations by thinking about topics that you could talk about. This helps if you feel uncomfortable by silences. Also, being honest about your anxious feelings might work to take their negative power away. While this is not always easy, if you suffer from social or dating anxiety, it can be beneficial to get things out of the way and out in the open. Most likely your date might be experiencing the same thing. Now this doesn't mean to unload emotionally on your date, but you can just casually say, "I've been so excited and nervous to me you!". That might loosen the mood and also flatter your date.
Like any skill, dating gets easier the more you practice it! You have the power to become better by getting out there and staying positive. Social anxiety and dating anxiety don’t have to stop you from connecting with the right person. Braving the dating scene when suffering from anxiety may be difficult at first, but it will be worth it- you’ve got this!