They say “day by day nothing really changes, but when you look back everything is completely different”. This concept in 2018 is more relevant than ever. We are living in a moment of rapid and constant change. The way we consume our media, the way we discuss our politics, how we meet, interact and communicate with one another are all activities that are very different from how they once were.
One of the most affected areas of this intense change is dating. In a world not so far in the past, we were told not to talk to strangers online, don’t share information about ourselves online, and don’t meet up with people you met on the internet. We looked at people who frequented the chat rooms of the 90’s as odd, but now in 2018, it is an everyday way of life for everyone thanks to social media.
Coming out of the social media boom of the mid-2000’s we began to see the rise of apps like Bumble and Tinder. Swiping to your next potential mate from your phone made connecting and meeting up with people significantly easier. Although the process of connection became easier, this new mainstream use of dating apps has given way to different dilemmas and enhanced old ones. Millennials are worrying about things like, “am I matching up to my profile? Will they match up to theirs? Is the place we’re going to cool, or different from the other mainstream places all over people’s social media timelines?”
Just because you matched with a person online, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the date is going to go well. This is where anxiety is heightened for many people, the fear of not knowing where to go or what to do. A big part of anxiety derives from uncertainty, fear of the unknown and how a situation may or may not play out. It is a problem that is getting worse, this holds especially true today where anxiety disorders are at an all-time high. “General anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment. Social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adults or 6.8% of the U.S. population. Social anxiety disorder is equally common among men and women and typically begins around age 13”.
As the dating pool becomes increasingly digitized, and the pressures of the modern world become increasingly more present in our culture, three ways you can combat dating anxiety is by being honest, planning ahead, and being creative.
Being honest about who you are is important for breaking out of your comfort zone, this will set the tone for the events following your initial engagement. If you happen to match with someone through Tinder or Bumble and then decide to meet with this person, do yourself and the other person a favor and be honest about yourself, about what you seek and what you are into. You don’t want to pretend to be into outdoor or physical activities like hiking and challenge courses when in reality, you are into wine bars and lounges. Show the person who you really are (keep in mind this is still the first impression), if you are a foodie be open about your preferences. You should put yourself in a situation that you will be more comfortable in, if you are a gamer, take the time to look up some virtual reality arcades like VR Connect, or something more mainstream like The Rec Room, this way you will eliminate any anxiety that may be arising if you happened to be in a situation that is completely foreign to you.
When going out on a date with someone, whether you met them online or you met them at your local coffee shop, you are definitely going to want to plan ahead. Taking the time to properly plan a fun and exciting night will create comfort for you and your date. Know a thing or two about the establishment you are attending. If you know that the bar will have a line up around the corner by 10:30, make sure you know that, because nothing is worse than thinking you are going to get a drink at the new hot spot and finding out at the last second that there is a one hour wait to get in. Avoiding last minute decisions is in your best interest, anxiety is caused by uncertainty and knowing what you are doing and when you are doing it completely eliminates that. It is also understood that even when taking the right measures in planning your night, many things could always go wrong. If by chance there is a last minute change, try utilizing modern technology. You can Google local establishments and sift through the search results, or try taking advantage of modern social planning apps like Kibii, that condenses every activity possible within your radius into one app.
Lastly, an effective way to fight dating anxiety is by being creative. For some people, this may be easier than others. Event planning is a skill that some just have a knack for, but for others, the thought of having to be creative for a date may just increase their anxiety even more. One main worry for people is what can be done that will be original and impressive? Where do you take someone without recycling cliche ideas like a dimly lit restaurant? How do you think outside the box when you don’t even really know what else is out there? You don’t want to have to sift through blogs and reviews to find something that is a great original date idea, you want to have all your best options laid out in front of you, take your mind off of The Keg and take a look at some Jazz Clubs, Whiskey Bars, Cabaret and Piano Bars. The best way to get creative is by using social planning tools to find the next great spot!