Anxiety is a general emotion that accosts us as human beings. It usually manifests itself in worry and fear: fear of the unknown and the inability to know exactly what to expect.
Anxiety manifests its self with very evident physical characteristics; trembling and unease. When it manifests itself as social anxiety it puts you in an imaginary box which makes it impossible for you to blend and meet new people.
This worsens when you eventually meet someone you really like and will want to impress. Social anxiety rears its ugly head and you can’t think properly, given that social anxiety is related to difficulties even in established romantic relationships, it’s important to recognize that first dates, though exciting, may also be emotionally taxing. However, planning a first date that maximizes your strengths and minimizes anxiety can be helpful.
If this shoe fits, here are a few ideas for your first date when you are dealing with anxiety Disorder.
First of all, while dinner and a movie is the traditional first date choice, it’s not the best option especially when you live with social anxiety. This type of date can be anxiety-provoking as it may focus on aspects that can trigger many of your fears such as making eye contact, keeping a conversation going, and eating in front of someone else.
If you do choose to go for a dinner date, consider going somewhere that will keep you entertained. This takes the pressure off of you both as you get to know each other.
Secondly, try to relax. Feelings of shame and embarrassment about your symptoms can preoccupy your thoughts throughout your date. This can make it difficult to engage in conversation, get to know your date, and show your true personality. To keep from getting distracted by symptoms, plan ahead of how you are going to deal with them. For instance, you can do some subtle relaxation exercises on your date, such as deep breathing or silently repeating positive affirmations. Most likely your date will be completely unaware that you are engaging in these slight relaxation activities, giving you the space you need to feel calm, in control, and relaxed.
You also need to Imagine the Best. Social anxiety sufferers often struggle with faulty negative thinking, focusing on their undesirable traits and potentially worst case scenarios. For example, you may worry that you will have a full-blown panic attack while on a first date, causing your date to believe that you are “crazy” or undesirable. These types of thoughts can actually heighten your anxiety while you are on a first date.
Finally, you need to stop asking “What if” questions and focus on the “So what?”
You might struggle with trusting another person, yourself, and the relationship you’re looking to build. So, instead of visualizing all the possible worst case scenarios, find your way back to reality and face the fear.
Instead of thinking about all the bad things that could happen, think about solutions to the possible problems.
Conclusively, dealing with anxiety disorder might make it impossible to blend and have fun especially on first dates, but if you consider the points above and actually practice them you will enjoy your first date, even if you have to go on a new one every week.