Managing worries about dating

Here are some thoughts on how to manage your worries and concerns about dating and relationships.

Be aware of your assumptions

We can’t stop thoughts from popping into our minds, but we can try to become more tuned in to what we are thinking and when we have assumed something. Remember, our thoughts are often based on past experiences, so if you have had a negative experience of dating, you might think about this when you go on another date. It’s really hard, but it’s important to try and approach new situations with a blank slate – try to remember – this is a different person, you are in a different place, and it’s important to give things a proper chance, without making assumptions based on what has happened before.

I find it very hard to meet a guy. I have been single for a long time. I think a lot of this is due to feeling scared to speak to a guy. I find flirting difficult with a guy I like, as I get tongue-tied or embarrassed. Part of this is to do with the way people have acted towards me in the past. I find it much easier to talk to a guy who I don’t find physically attractive, or I know they have a partner. It’s kind of like, I think “ok, so I can be myself with this guy, as I don’t have to try and impress him.


Be aware of negative thoughts

Being aware of our negative thoughts can help us to find more balanced alternatives. This can help you feel more confident. For example, becoming aware of the thought, “This person will not be interested in anything I have to say.” could then be replaced by something more balanced to say to yourself, eg. “I have lots to say that could be of interest to this person.” Having the thought that you are interesting is likely to make you feel much more confident. It’s not easy and most of us need to practice this. You have probably repeated negative thoughts to yourself over and over again – so your brain is used to those. You will need to train your brain to hear something different – by exchanging each negative thought with a more positive, balanced thought. – and by saying this to yourself over and over.

“I always made sure that I had control over the aspects of my appearance that I could have control over (if that makes sense!). I couldn’t change my disfigurement but I could make sure that I wore a fashionable, flattering outfit, that my hair looked good, that I smelled nice and that I smiled. I’ve always loved my hair and everyone said I had nice eyes so I concentrated on those.”


Thoughts are not facts!

Just because we think something, doesn’t make it true or mean it will happen; however, thoughts can affect what you do. For example, thinking “they won’t like me” could mean that you are more reserved, or don’t give as much eye contact because you are uncomfortable. The other person might read this as you not being interested in them. Most of us like people who are interested in us. So this perception could mean the other person does not ask for another date. Because of our thoughts, we have behaved in a way that makes us less approachable – and therefore what we thought would happen has actually happened, but not for the reason we think.

By trying to recognise assumptions and control negative thoughts, we can then practice putting more positive thoughts in place – and this, with practice, will build your positivity and confidence when dating.

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