In the early stages of just about anything that could potentially impact your life in a major way, like a burgeoning relationship, there are bound to be feelings of uneasiness. Whether it’s anxiety over the future, your own fears and insecurities, or being worried that you don’t know how to behave in an uncertain situation, it’s not uncommon to get a little stressed. We’ve all had first date jitters, right? It’s not like they go away immediately after the first date. In fact, a lot of the time, they only get magnified once you meet someone you click with.
Which brings me to this question I found on the dating advice subreddit:
I (23f) recently started dating this girl (23f) and I really like her. I have every reason to think she likes me (she texts me all the time, even though they’re kinda short but English isn’t her first language, but the speed that she texts back and double texting would indicate that either she likes me or just loves texting I don’t know), she kissed me, I’ve caught her friends teasing her about liking me.
Nonetheless, I am terrified I’ve misinterpreted the situation and she kissed me because we had a drink. There’s no way for me to guarantee that’s not what happened, and I don’t want to get clingy so early. She doesn’t have a lot of time to hang out because she works and studies. I feel like that we haven’t had sex yet is stressing me, even thought it’s only been like a little over two weeks since we met that’s still a lot longer than I normally wait. The girl before her ghosted me out of the blue after we slept together a couple of times so that’s really shaken my confidence.
How do I chill and just let things unfold slowly without it occupying my thoughts every minute of the day?
Full disclosure here, I don’t think I’ve ever very been good at handling the early stages of dating anxiety. I am good at making it look like I’m not a nervous wreck, but if I like someone, on the inside I’m a preteen boy all over again. At the very least, here’s what I try to do to turn down my dating anxiety from an 11 (on a 1-10 scale) to about a 7 or 8. If you’ve got more chill than me, this will probably work wonders for you.
There is a 50/50 chance that each date you go on, or each interaction you have with a person you’re into, can be good or bad. Keep that in mind to quiet down your dating anxiety a bit. Dating has more in common with a game of Craps then it does with a game of Blackjack. Let’s say you’re playing a game of Blackjack with a 52 card deck, if all the tens, the 12 face-cards, and all four aces have been played, you already know that you wont be able to hit Blackjack on the first two cards you’re played. Your odds are fixed by what’s in the deck. In a game of Craps, your odds reset on each throw. In theory, you can roll a 7 or 11 on every single throw if you’re lucky. To bring it back to dating, you have a chance to make every single interaction a good one. For me, that’s a comforting thought.
One of my favorite things to do is distract myself with activities. Whether that means writing more, reading more, working out, hanging out with friends (and specifically not bringing up the person you’re interested in), or even going on dates with someone else, it’s always a good idea to occupy your mind with something else. While you’re doing whatever works best to distract you, it might be a good idea to avoid anything related to the person you’re trying to distract yourself from. Put down your phone for a bit, don’t bring them up in conversation, avoid doing things you’ve done together, things like that. It’s really hard to worry about getting ghosted by someone you’re interested in if you’re out there having fun.
I’m also a big fan of playing out *realistic and probable* best/worst case scenarios. I tend to always think of the worst case scenario in dating because for the most part, the worst usually does happen, but it’s usually not that bad. You wont have chemistry with most people you meet. Lots of people just aren’t a good match for you. Many of them will be cordial, but ultimately not show interest in you. A small percentage of those people will ghost you. That last one sucks but, it doesn’t sound too bad right? You’re probably not at risk for being attacked by a roving band of zombies or anything. For the most part, you’re either going to get rejected (whether directly or indirectly) or continue seeing someone and see where things go. There are obviously very extreme circumstances where something even worse can potentially happen, but the odds of those things happening is so improbable you don’t need to fixate on them. Worst case scenario in this situation is that she ghosts, and you move on. While that might suck, it’s not like losing your kidneys or anything.
Finally, and this one requires a bit of self-awareness, always do a quick double-check before you send off any communications to make sure they’re appropriate for where you are in your dating situation. You don’t have to doubt every single thing you do, but if you’re really into someone, it’s best to give a second thought to any texts/calls/DMs/tweets/comments etc., before you send it out. Before you post a comment on a picture that is just 15 emoji kiss faces, consider how that might come off before hitting send. Before you direct message them a sexy picture, consider how well (or more realistically, not well) it’s going to be received. Before you send 10 text messages back-to-back, think about how it might come off, in an honest and objective way. Before you drunk dial and confess your intense emotions, think about what the consequences of doing that might be.Try to be objective, and remember that although you might want to receive those things, not everyone does.
Good Luck Out There.