The following is an excerpt from a woman’s story describing her experiencing with social anxiety and dating, as published on Healthline:

“’Well, this is awkward’. Those were the magical words I uttered to my now-husband Dan when we first met. It didn’t help that he initially went in for a hug, whereas I’m firmly a handshake person. But I definitely shocked him with my opening statement.”

In 2008, ABC News confirmed that 15 million Americans were suffering from social anxiety disorder, and the numbers likely haven’t gone down from there. Social anxiety disorder can leave many feeling isolated, ashamed, embarrassed, and uncertain. Here are a few tips to help you if you’re out there looking for love:

  1. When setting a location to meet, pick one that feels comfortable to you. If meeting up at a bar is going to really overwhelm you, select a more relaxed place such as a bowling alley or a casual restaurant. Don’t force yourself to become more anxious by choosing a meeting place that will already spark it.
  2. Be open minded and look positively towards future events. Perception is everything, and if you keep an open mind and decide to see things in a positive light, it will likely be so. Even distressing events can be seen through a positive light, which can lower your anxiety. Prep yourself by telling yourself that things will go well, that you will be safe, and that you will be yourself.
  3. Focus on the other person rather than on yourself. When we focus too much on ourselves, we tend to lose sight of others and we may have a tough time truly hearing the other person. Try focusing on the other person and learning something new from them – after all, asking them questions will give them the opportunity to talk a little more and will give you some space to breathe!
  4. Have an exit strategy in case you need one. If you’re feeling apprehensive about how the date will go, plan of time how you can take a breather. Excusing yourself to the restroom and stepping outside to call a friend are just a few safe ways to relax yourself.

Dating doesn’t have to be a challenge but for many people with social anxiety disorder, it is. If you find that social anxiety is severely impacting your day-to-day functions, consider seeking help. Participating in a treatment program could help you to develop the tools you need to overcome your daily obstacles.





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