Has Covid Made You Socially Anxious About Dating Again?
Dipping Your Toe Back into the Dating Waters
WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR INTERACTION SKILLS DURING COVID
All that time we spent in our bathrobes and pajama bottoms might have alleviated our need to show up well dressed during the pandemic. But it did nothing for our ability to feel confident in our appearance or to interact in the real world.
Meeting and communicating virtually has us all convinced we can only look as good, and seem as real, as our computer cameras allow. And that’s a sad commentary indeed!
I don’t know one person who prefers how they appear on Zoom. Most of us are exhausted by staring at ourselves on the box on the screen and waiting for our turn to speak (awkwardly) in virtual meetings.
So it’s not surprising that our communication skills are rusty.
A Wall Street Journal article last month said it this way: “Groups are finding themselves out of social shape.” What that means is that re-entry can be as challenging as the period of isolation that preceded it.
INNATE FEARS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM
Infants are born with just one hereditary fear – the sound of uncontrolled noise. All other fears we learn as grow up.
The fear of meeting new people, speaking in front of groups, and yes, going on dates, are all self-taught. We hear stories from others about their bad experiences, and we get worried. We feel the butterflies in our stomach, and we interpret that anxiety as harmful. We are afraid of experiences that are new or foreign to us, and we decide we just won’t take the plunge.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The first step is identifying what makes you uncomfortable. So ask yourself what bothers you most about getting back into the dating pool.
WHAT SCARES YOU MOST ABOUT DATING (AGAIN)?
Here are the top five answers of what we fear about dating:
1) Dating is too much work. I have to put in more effort than I have time for, or feel like.
2) I don’t like rejection. I am scared that no one will like me for me.
3) I don’t like my appearance and am not confident anyone will be attracted to me.
4) I don’t think I have anything to offer.
5) I don’t know if I am ready to be in a relationship again.
Did you notice that the majority of these fears reflect self-doubt? To be a healthy dater, we need to move from concern to courage.
FROM SOCIALLY CONCERNED TO SOCIALLY COURAGEOUS – 3 FOOLPROOF TIPS
As if it weren’t enough pressure to re-enter the dating world after a breakup or long hiatus, we also have our Covid hibernation to overcome. As we emerge from the darkest period of the pandemic, how well we remember the terror over catching or spreading Covid. And while those are still valid concerns, we have thankfully reached a time with pandemic management that is allowing us to step back into life at our own pace.
So, now, what can you do to work up the courage to date again? Here are three tips that can make it not only manageable, but enjoyable:
1) Decide you will give it a try. Agree to one date a week, a month, or something in between. Just take the first step. That decision will build your confidence and give you the courage to stay the course, if that’s what you wish to do.
2) You set the boundaries. Go out for fun, to search for new friends, or to seek romance. It’s your choice. You are in control. You will have none of it if you decide to stay home.
3) Take inventory of what you bring. Ask three friends to tell you three things you shine at. The goal is to get an honest assessment of who you are as others see you. Then think about your biggest successes and own them. We only become socially courageous when we invest in ourselves. Once you believe in who you are, you can become interested in others around you.
When you decide to dip your toe back into the dating waters, write to me at Kate@KateSomerset.com and tell me what happens. I am interested!