This is the first of many future articles that will concern specific situations and how to manage anxiety within them. Dating is a situation that causes everyone anxiety - it does not matter who someone is. The "masters" of dating even experience some anxiety themselves, but they are skilled and experienced enough such that the anxiety level they experience is very minuscule and has very little, if any impact, on the dating experience.
Most people, however, including those not actually afflicted by an anxiety condition, become fairly anxious in the time right before a date and during the first few minutes of the date. However, the anxiety gradually dissipates as the person becomes more engaged in the experience and loses focus on the anxious thoughts spinning in his or her head. This is the most common anxiety and this anxiety is not considered "bad" because most people experience it and it does not prevent people from having a successful overall date.
What about those affected by much more dating anxiety? For example, some may experience an intense panic attack when simply attempting to talk to another person. Or, what about those with social anxiety who experience extreme anxiety the entire duration of the date and are simply unable to be themselves? These situations are a bit more difficult, but with the right supports in place, the dating experience can be a successful one.
For starters, despite the views expressed in Further Thoughts on Medication and Medication – Don't Believe the Hype! medication, sometimes, can be the best solution. Medication can be an excellent way of suppressing symptoms enough such that a person is able to at least function on a date. Using medication minimally, of which this case is an example, is the best strategy and this is one situation that fits nicely into that approach.
This approach is the bare bones approach that one can take if he or she does not have the time to prepare for a date, as dating can come from anywhere and at anytime. A long-term approach is better for a person overall. Using the techniques described in The Anxiety Bible is the most beneficial, as it will lead a person to naturally and permanently reduce his or her anxiety level. This, however, can take several years at a time, and as such is not always practical.
Another item to keep in mind that goes along with the long-term view is that the more dates and the more time in which one engages with the other sex, the more relaxed one becomes. He or she learns what and what not to say, and also what behaviors tend to attract and repel women.
For a person who has difficulty meeting people and making new friends, or for a person who is so severely affected by anxiety that dating in real life is not really possible at this point, a good strategy might be to use the internet. Internet dating is much less threatening and will invoke a weaker anxious response than dating in person. And, best of all, the best internet dating sites are free! Those that charge a monthly fee claim that they have chemistry tests that will help the seeker to find a partner within six months; in reality, these tests will match the seeker with other potentials, but the tests are not perfect and cannot guarantee that a person will actually find a partner. And besides, does anyone think that these dating sites will refund a person's money if they do not find a partner after six months? Sure, the sites claim that they will, however, in all reality this is most likely like a "free credit report" where the company says it will not charge the customer for the report, but instead fails to cancel their monthly membership fee. Stick to the free sites, as they have the most people and therefore the most potential partners, and besides, there are several free sites that are just as good or better than any pay site.
Probably the most important thing to keep in mind about dating is to know that the right one will work out at the right time. Socially anxious males tend to believe that since they are single in their late teens and early twenties, that they will therefore be single the rest of their lives. However, the fact is that women tend to view socially anxious males as very sweet and non-threatening. Sure, socially anxious males seem unpopular at first, but then once women are in their mid-twenties, they begin to look to settle down, and the first place they look is at the men who are non-threatening and seem interested in a real relationship. Of course exceptions to this rule exist, but this is the general rule that exists throughout American society.
Knowing that the right one will work out at the right time helps to decrease anxiety. Women pick all sorts of different reasons to stick with a man, and it is not possible for that man to know what those reasons might be. The best thing that the man can do is to simply be himself (Acting how one believes a female wants one to act can lead to many difficulties. One is that the man can misunderstand how the female wants him to act, which means that he is doing things that embarrass himself, rather than things that the female finds funny.) because this will attract the best female for the man.
For those men who are chronically single and do not seem to be having any luck in the dating field, the best advice is to begin to work on those things that make one attractive. Many simply sit at home and wallow around in self-pity - how attractive is that? It is not attractive, and therefore, when one finds him or herself single and lonely, the best thing to do is to work on things like eating a healthy diet, exercising and creating an attractive body, volunteering at local community organizations and becoming a helpful member of the community, or perhaps learning a new skill like mechanics or carpentry (or whatever it is that interests a person and at which he or she seems to be talented). Women are more attracted to guys that get out and do and learn things than they are men who sit around and feel sorry for themselves.
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If you found this dating article helpful, you might find this one helpful as well:
- Dating and the Anxious Male
- Helping Your Partner with His or Her Anxiety
- Tips for Interacting with the Socially Anxious
- Top 10 Things to Say to People with Social Anxiety Disorder
- Top Ten Things Never to Say to People with Social Anxiety Disorder
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