Listen to Coronavirus Patient Zero
On anxiety and dating
It is already six o'clock. You are ready for the big date. Well, almost. The little black dress that you bought at Neiman-Marcus still hangs in your closet. Feeling butterflies in the stomach, you reach for it and slip it on (for the tenth time), and zipped it up. Perfect.
Well, almost. All glammed up and ready to go. You've got the vanity kit in the purse, the make-up's been re-touched, and the mandatory spritz of perfume is through. You've got everything in place, well, except for the guy. “Where is my date?”, you ask.
A million other questions race through your mind. You can't help think about whether he was in a car accident or, even worse, if he changed his mind about the date. Feeling the anxiety now creeping through your body, you dial his cellphone number. He answers the phone and tells you in a half-embarrassed voice that he is now your front porch. The immediately, you hear the doorbell. “He's here!”, you silently scream in your as you glide down the staircase. Of course, you first had to take one last look at the mirror to check your teeth, hair, and dress before taking that one long breath of air. Finally, you open the door and given out your sweetest smile to the guy --- your date, who, at least came, even if he was 20 minutes late. This scenario describes how one woman can feel the anxiety when it comes to dating. The emotional roller coaster of preparing and waiting for the date --- not to mention the actual outcome of it --- can put even the most stable of women in panic.
It has been a tradition for almost everyone to have dates in order to know more about each other, spend time together, and see if your attitudes, beliefs, or interests are compatible. Of course, not all expectations or agreements about this thing or that thing are met with ease. Dating is necessary because it takes time to know a person well, and hopefully, after that, the simple getting-to-know-you would blossom into a good relationship. But not all people are accustomed to or even ready to have a date. Dating is considered as a social event, where two people are dressed up appropriately based on where they are going, or what activity they are going to do. In these times, dating can be done in various ways, not just the candle lit dinner for two setup. Double dates, group dates, blind dates, and even the ones where you go to a certain spot, be with nineteen other women and twenty guys that you have not met, and go on rotation to speak with a man for at least five minutes. Speed dating, anyone? Crazy, right? Still, even with all the innovations on how to meet and date people, some individuals still find it a struggle to actually be around others of their kind. The fact of being near other people can stress out or cause panic is such a serious concern that there is even a term for it --- Social Anxiety. Social anxiety often refers to fear and worry about being around other people or of establishing contact with another person for the first time.
In a society like ours, they are often seen as loners, anti-socials, or wallflowers. In a scene like that, a person dealing with social anxiety might just run, be silent for the rest of the night, or even faint! Those with this type of anxiety disorder may often experience sweaty hands, butterflies in the stomach, and nagging thoughts about not being “good enough” for the person they are about to meet. Needless to say, any feeling of anxiety may be considered normal as long as it does not interrupt with your daily routine or with prevents a person from having a happy, fulfilled life. Every single person on earth wants the best, and by that, it means that all of us aspire to look good, feel good, and show how wonderful we are as human beings --- especially during a date. In dating, a person feels the anxiety before or during a date --- which is perfectly all right. Taking time to relieve the anxiety is key before going on a date. What then should be the first step an anxious dater should take before going out? Deep breathing can really help ease nervousness. Focusing on the other person (or your date) and not just obsessing about whether you will be liked or not is a good start, too. Most of all, just be yourself. People who suffer from social anxiety should participate in social therapy and treatment in order to decrease their fear of meeting other people.
It is essential for a person to grow and interact with others, so it is wise to address this kind of anxiety as soon as possible. Going out on a date need not be such a hassle. It should be one of the most fun things every one should try and experience.