Going on a date shouldn’t feel like taking a final exam. It’s supposed to be fun! But if you struggle with anxiety and overthinking, you might find yourself stressing out over an event that should be enjoyable.
Pre-date jitters are normal. The butterflies in your stomach are a sign that you’re ready and excited for what’s to come. But if you’re experiencing crippling nerves or even a panic attack, chances are you won’t be able to enjoy your date the way you should.
Nervous Nora Goes On A Date
Nervous Noras have an anxious attachment style, which means they overthink to a painful degree. Nora is plagued by anxiety and has a compulsive need to be liked. In fact, the thought of being disliked makes her so uncomfortable that it can keep her up at night wondering where she went wrong. To make up for her perceived shortcomings, Nora can overcompensate—a lot.
On dates, Nora might come across as a nervous wreck. Low-expressive Noras may be withdrawn and nervous, while high-expressive Noras are jittery, talkative, or even boastful (although it doesn’t come from a place of pride, most new acquaintances won’t know that). Noras tend to fall hard and fast. Although she is mistrustful of love, that doesn’t stop her from falling headfirst when she finds what she thinks is the “right” connection.
And unfortunately, Nora’s extreme emotions ratchet up the date expectations to the Nth degree. It can be disappointing if it doesn’t go “to plan,” and in my professional experience, they seldom do.
With these super high expectations and extreme nerves, you’ll inevitably be putting too much pressure on both yourself and your date. Don’t let anxiety turn dating into a chore. Instead, try approaching your love life as an experiment. Yes, an experiment! It might sound silly, but you’d be surprised at how effective this strategy can be. Thinking of a date as ‘an experiment’ may sound cold, calculating, and scientific, but it’s quite the opposite.
Leave Room For Surprises
When you conduct an experiment, the outcome is unknown—and this can be a good thing! When we set high expectations for dates, we eliminate the opportunity for surprise and spontaneity. Practice being more curious about your date and emotionally detaching yourself from the expected outcome.
Tip: Try some relaxation techniques before you head out. Remind yourself that you’re doing this for fun and give yourself permission to have a good time (you don’t need to impress your date, just being yourself should be enough).
Speaking of expectations… When we assume that dates have a foregone conclusion, it’s easy to get emotionally invested in the outcome we’ve envisioned. But if you treat a date like an experiment, you can more readily accept if a date doesn’t go the way you’d hoped or can be pleasantly surprised if it exceeds your non-expectations. That isn’t to say that you should be pessimistic about your date experiments. It’s okay to hope for the best but try to avoid making assumptions.
Tip: If you don’t get a second date, try not to overanalyze or take it personally. Easier said than done, I know, but chances are it says more about them than it does about you.
Live In The Moment
When you conduct your ‘experiment,’ give yourself permission to be fully engaged and present. Spending time in your head during your date may prevent you from being in the moment with your date. Instead of living it, you are filtering it through the lens of your own interpretation, and you’re much more prone to missing or misinterpreting things.
Tip: Check out some techniques for being fully present, like putting away your phone and listening without the intention to respond.
I know that staying present and mindful during stressful situations can be difficult, but this is just the beginning of the journey. To uncover more about yourself and your dating life, take my love style quiz and learn your dating strengths and weaknesses. Then, take my course to learn more techniques for successful dating. Dating can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be a trial. I can help you learn more about yourself so you can learn more about others.
Dating is hard! But if you are a Nervous Nora or Nick, it’s easy to question and second-guess every little thing. Just know that you’re not alone. If you feel that your attachment style is giving you grief, there are strategies you can apply that will open up new doors to happiness.
Take our Love Styles Quiz to find out more about what makes you tick. And when you are ready to break up with anxiety and move on from overthinking, try one of our online courses and break out of the cycle.