How To Cope With Dating Anxiety And Not Let It Overwhelm You

You, dear reader who feels totally overwhelmed, stressed, and terrified at the thought of dating, are not crazy. Dating—especially in modern times—is a scary thing. It’s absolutely okay to feel anxious about it. If you do have dating anxiety, you’re also not alone. This totally normal feeling does not have to stop you from finding the one or getting out there and having the fun you deserve. You can date with anxiety, but here are some tips to help alleviate your nerves and avoid getting overwhelmed in the process.

  1. Take your time. It can be tempting to speed things up when you’re looking for someone to spend your life with. But if you have dating anxiety, it’s important to take your time. Don’t rush things. Instead, take them slow and move at a pace that you feel comfortable with. If you move slowly, you’ll have time to slowly adjust to new things that give you anxiety in the dating world. And it’ll be less likely that they’ll overwhelm you.
  2. Don’t compare your dating life to everyone else’s. Comparisonitis is the thief of joyful relationships. Part of going at your own pace is not trying to compete with everyone else. Date according to what feels comfortable for you, especially if you have hesitations about dating in the first place. Don’t worry about who other people are dating, where they’re going, and what stage they’re at. Everyone is in their own lane! Stay off Instagram if it feels like a source that makes you compare yourself to others.
  3. Choose locations and activities that feel safe to you. Dating is scary for everyone, whether or not you have specific fears around it. To make it feel less overwhelming, stick to activities and locations that feel comfortable to you. If a dinner date is too scary, try a shorter coffee date. Choose cafes and other locations that you’re already familiar with. Many people find that low-key date activities, such as going for a walk during the day, feel less overwhelming than, say, drinks in a bar at night. As you get more comfortable, you can explore more exciting options.
  4. Trust your gut instincts. It can be tricky to trust your gut instincts when they’re dominated by anxiety. But it’s still important to listen to your intuition when dating. If you get a bad vibe from someone, don’t feel pressured to date them. Learn to tune into your inner voice and let it guide you through the process.
  5. Confide in someone you trust. Talk about your dating anxiety with someone you trust. It can really help to relieve feelings of anxiety to open up about them and confide in someone. Do you have any friends who are at the same stage in their dating lives? If so, chat about your experiences together. You might find that your friends share many of the same fears that you do. These discussions can also make you feel less alone in your dating anxiety.
  6. Consider bringing a support person. If the thought of going on a date gives you major anxiety, getting into panic attack territory, consider bringing along a support person. Ask a friend you trust to just be at the café you’re going to, or even nearby in case you need them. Ask them to keep their phone on loud in case you have to ring them. Your date doesn’t have to know a thing!
  7. Accept that dating is scary. The most helpful thing you can do for dating anxiety is accept that dating is scary. Don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you for feeling anxious about it. You’re putting yourself out there, which is terrifying. And the future is very uncertain. It’s definitely cause for anxiety! The wonderful thing is you don’t have to get rid of anxiety in order to date. You can get out there and date while feeling anxious. That’s perfectly okay.
  8. Don’t try to hide your anxiety. Along with accepting your anxiety, you could try being honest about it with your date. You don’t have to, but if you feel comfortable enough, feel free to make a comment about being nervous. It’s possible your date is nervous too, and might even feel reassured at your comment. Having to hide anxiety makes it worse, since there’s added unnecessary pressure. In reality, it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
  9. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go well. Take more pressure off yourself by reassuring yourself that it’s okay if things don’t go well. The truth is most first dates don’t go splendidly. But all it takes is one good one to change your life! The important thing is that you’re feeling anxious and you’re still dating anyway. That’s huge and you should be proud of it! If the date goes well, that’s just the cherry on top.
  10. Don’t try to date too many people at once. Dating a lot of people at once is now more possible than ever thanks to dating apps. But if you have anxiety about dating, you might find that trying to juggle too many people can leave you feeling overwhelmed. At the same time, it might increase your anxiety to put all your eggs in one basket and concentrate all your effort on one person. Do what feels right for you, but don’t date countless people just because you can. Again, go at your own pace and do what you feel comfortable with.
  11. Set boundaries. No matter what, you are ultimately in control when it comes to your own dating life. Set boundaries so that you and your date know what you’re comfortable with and what’s not okay. If you don’t want to drink too much on a date, tell the person you’re seeing. If you don’t want to go back to their house, make that clear. Set those boundaries to reassure yourself that you’re in charge of yourself, and you never have to do anything you don’t want to. And if your date doesn’t respect your boundaries or guilts you for making them, then you know there won’t be a date number two.
Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.