Guest blog by Dating and Relationship Coach, Michelle Manley
Got a date this Valentine’s Day? We’ve asked our friend and relationships expert, Michelle Manley for some advice on how to cope with anxiety around dating!
Rather than cancel a date, or not turn up, turn your trepidation into confidence.
Dating ‘should’ be fun and enjoyable and sometimes it is. For many of us though it can feel far from fun. A little nervousness mixed with excitement is normal and what you would expect. However, you can be filled with anxiety and nervousness, so much so that you want to cancel or not turn up.
I know! I’ve felt like that!
Cancelling or not turning up can feel like such a relief…initially. AND soon after, that feeling of relief can turn into disappointment and frustration with yourself. Disappointment at the missed opportunity. Feeling frustrated and beating yourself up at not going ahead with it!
I’m going to share 3 Steps that will: reduce any anxiety, help you feel calm, increase your confidence and build excitement and curiosity for a forthcoming date.
STEP 1: Do A ‘Little’ Planning
I’ve said a ‘little’ planning on purpose. If you plan too much, that can increase your anxiety rather than calm it – and we don’t want to do that! This is about YOU deciding how much planning feels good for you. It’s about making the whole ‘going on a date’ easy and effortless.
This is the sort of thing I’m thinking:
- If it’s a first date – keep it short. No more than an hour and tell your date you’ve got something to do afterwards.
- Keep it simple – again if it’s a first date, go for a coffee or a walk in a park.
- Choose somewhere that’s easy for you both to get to and has easy parking, if you’re driving.
- Pick something to wear that feels comfortable and you feel good wearing. Hang your clothes up the night before. And don’t rethink it!
- Consider having a quick phone call before you have your date. Hearing the other person’s voice can make them feel less of a stranger.
- Block out your diary for the date and also build in an extra 30 minutes beforehand (I’ll explain more in Step 3).
This little bit of planning will help reduce anxiety on the day of the date.
STEP 2 – ‘Just’ The Whole Situation
Catch yourself when you feel anxiety building. Catch the thoughts in your head telling you it’s a waste of time dating, there are no good men/women out there, they won’t like you, you’ll disappoint them, they’ll be scary silences etc.
BE present with the feeling and thoughts
AND then say to yourself…
- It’s JUST a date
- It’s JUST a man/woman JUST like me, who’s single and wanting to meet someone.
- It’s JUST a coffee
- It’s JUST a chat
- It’s JUST for an hour
- And I JUST don’t know – I JUST might enjoy it!
STEP 3 – Do An Absorbing, Feel Good Activity Before Your Date
So, you’ve done a little planning.
You know it’s for an hour, you’ve got something planned for afterwards, you know where you’re going and where you’re going to park and you’ve got your clothes ready. Here’s where I get to explain why I wanted you to schedule an extra 30 minutes of time before your date. (And if you can’t manage 30 minutes, then whatever time you can – 20 or even 10 minutes.)
In this extra time you’ve put aside before your date do something that feels good for you. That might be a walk in the fresh air, a run, time spent sketching, or even cleaning out a cupboard!
- Something that ABSORBS you.
- Something that takes up ALL your attention.
- Something that SLOWS your breathing and slows your thoughts.
…leaving yourself just the right amount of time to get ready and get to your date.
This final step is the most powerful one for reducing any anxiety and creating space for calmness, and maybe… a bit of excitement!
My final thought – ENJOY!
And be incredibly proud of yourself for going on a date!
If you’ve found Michelle’s advice helpful, go have a look for more dating and relationship advice on her website michellemanleycoaching.com. Or, if you think you need more personalised help with dating – you can also book one of Michelle’s “Dating Strategy Sessions” – which can help you feel excited about dating and get lots of dates. She can work with you to put together a plan – which includes helping you write an inviting dating profile, picking the right dating sites for you, and teaching you how to quickly convert messages into real life dates. Book your session now at: https://michellemanleycoaching.com/new-home-page/coaching/free-strategy-session/
Michelle was also in conversation with Lily-Jo on Season 2 of our Eavesdrop Podcast! You can listen to the full episode here or wherever you get your podcasts!
Lots of love this Valentine’s Day!
The Lily-Jo Project xx