Dating; it’s fun isn’t it? NOT. It’s awkward, it’s nerve-racking, it’s embarrassing, it’s stressful, it’s all the negative you can think of. Well, at least it is for me. I don’t enjoy dating, and I think that’s why I’ve been single for 3 years. I’ve gone about dating a few different ways, and it all leads back to one thing, me being single.
Let’s define dating. According to Wikipedia, dating is a part of the human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. SO SCARY!
Taking things above a friendship level…I have friends, I’ve also been betrayed by friends, so the thought of taking on a new friend and another relationship where I could ultimately get hurt, no thank you! The friends that I do have are always telling me to take a chance, and just date, go see what’s out there, but my gut tells me otherwise. I also happen to read a lot of dating articles. “What type of guy do you like” or “Where will you meet your future husband” type articles and of course those go to my head (like most things).
The thought of dating and finding someone to spend the rest of my life with is definitely desirable, but I’m not sure if it’s possible for someone like me who has self-diagnosed social anxiety.
I found an article on 5 ways to overcome dating anxiety on the Huffington Post website, let’s see if it’s possible for me to overcome it!
1. Practice self-disclosures. This talks about how to tell people what you think, how you feel and letting them see what matters to you. I feel like I’m that way with EVERYONE! Step 1…check!
2. Reducing the threat of judgement from others — and yourself. The threat of negative evaluation from others–such as being negatively perceived by your date–is the root of social anxiety, and is exacerbated in a dating setting. Socially anxious people tend to have lower self-esteem and make automatic negative assumptions about themselves. People who suffer from social anxiety judge themselves harshly and they assume others do too. This makes them not want to share, be open or be vulnerable. This is where I fail. Yes I’m outgoing and I tell people what I think and how I feel, but I don’t share the intimate details of my depression and anxiety. This is the part where I fail MISERABLY and this is the part where I think EVERYONE has an ulterior motive…Step 2…FAIL!
3. Acceptance. When a person feels good about who they are, their values and what they have to offer, and sees their own experience in a compassionate way, it bolsters them against judgment. By calming their harshest critic, their own inner judge, it opens the door to experiencing closer connections with others. I know this sounds pathetic, but given my work history, I don’t feel like people take what I have to offer seriously, so then that falls on my failing self-esteem. Yes, good things come to those who wait…but sheesh I’m an old woman! Step 3…FAIL!
4. Reframing catastrophic cognitions. Thoughts like,
it’s the end of the world if I’m rejected, I’ll never find someone, or that was a complete disaster, are common in anxiety. Gently remind yourself that the anxiety is exaggerating these beliefs, and then list reasons that the thoughts are not fully accurate. These are common thoughts, yet I know they’re not true. I’m working on this, so I’ll give myself partial credit. Step 4…loading.
5. Mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Anxiety thrives by focusing on the future and the past, engendering worry about what will go wrong, how the future will play out or how past events have gone wrong. Mindfulness is a conscious effort to focus on the present moment, the here-and-now. I don’t dwell on the past, as much as I worry about the future. So I guess I get half credit for this, but isn’t that still an F? Step 5…pending.
So according to this post there are 5 things that I should be focusing on to alleviate my social slash dating anxiety:
1. Monitor and understand one’s own emotions, rather than push emotions away or ignore them.
2. Self-soothe and cope with emotions when they arise.
3. Harness emotions to problem-solve or to help improve the current situation.
4. Listen, tune into, and accurately perceive the feelings of your date.
5. Show empathy and create a connection through shared experiences with your date.
Someone help me!