The world is a weird place. People are strange and they only get stranger the more you get know them. The bad news for individuals looking to get back on the dating scene after a long layoff is that dating hasn’t become any easier. In fact, some would argue that thanks to the rise of digital media, it’s never been more difficult to establish a love connection than it is right now. Understandably, many actually experience high levels of anxiety when it comes to meeting new people and dating in general. And while there’s nothing wrong with feeling a few pre-date “jitters” –– no one should have to deal with acute tension or outright fear when going out on a date. To help alleviate some of those concerns, here are four ways you can overcome dating anxiety and start to make meaningful connections again:
Schedule “Practice” Dates
If it’s been a while since you went on a “proper date,” then you may want to consider brushing up a bit with a “practice run” of sorts. Taking a friend out for a night on the town to hone your skills is a great, low-pressure way to prepare yourself for the real thing.
Stay in Your Comfort Zone
Yes, in large part dating is all about getting out of your comfort zone, but you don’t have to dive into the deep end of the pool right at the start. If you feel at ease at a certain bar or restaurant, suggest it as a potential first-date location. Of course, the more relaxed you feel, the more enjoyable the night will be.
Ask a Friend for Help
Not quite ready to take a leap all by yourself, yet? Then think about asking a friend to lend you a hand with your next date. Sure, your friends may be able to set you up with other available singles, but even if they can’t, double-dating with a trusted confidant is a great way to ease back into a rhythm. Plus, your friends can show the ropes and help you set up an awesome online dating profile.
Take Smart Precautions
You can never be too careful when you meet someone new –– especially if you go on a blind date or interact with a person you’ve only spoken to over the internet. To ensure your peace of mind, (and safety!) always take a few important precautions. Insist on driving yourself to a neutral site on a first date and tell a friend where you’re going beforehand. In addition, you’ll also want to consider visiting a local STD testing center after any sexual encounter. Though dating should be fun in an ideal world, it’s never a bad idea to prioritize your own well-being. Do that, and you’ll probably find dating to be a lot less stressful anyway!