Hot Singles In Conversation: Dating Anxiety
ben and randa brainstorm some anxiety-reducing tactics
we’re taking a break from classifieds to get back In Conversation, this time about anxiety in dating. i gave Reply Guy and Handsome Hitchhiker the week off and invited NPR Supporter to chat with me about this ever-relevant topic. i won’t push it, but the comment section is open if you have a bone to pick with us…
stay hot 🥵
p.s. classifieds will be back next week. submit one here!
How do I reduce my anxiety in the early stages of dating someone?
Ben (aka NPR Supporter):
As one of the most anxious and self-sabotaging daters on the planet, I’m really excited to be having this conversation. I know that when I start dating someone and I like them, it’s so easy for me to jump right into “they’re perfect, I need to be with them, I don’t want to mess this up, am I messing this up?” And I’ve also definitely been caught up in not being able to accept that I like someone, and that anxiety comes from over-analyzing what my feelings come from – do I like this person for them or do I just like them because I’m repeating an old harmful pattern? What about all these red flags? Are those red flags really red flags or am I just looking for any flaws? They have good attributes too! Green flags! But are their green flags green enough to out-red the red flags, neither of which I’m sure are real?? Sometimes I wonder why I’m paying for a therapist when I can incessantly therapy-talk myself to death instead.
I think both forms of this anxiety stem from not wanting to get hurt. Since in today’s world we don’t have to worry about getting eaten by a lion or anything, we have way more energy to devote to those worry narratives, thus dating anxiety. Maybe to reduce our anxieties we should all go do a month of survival camping to remind us what actual problems are.
Totally. It sounds like you’ve read a lot about attachment theory, and I agree that the anxiety stems from avoiding getting hurt. I love this camping idea. Maybe Hot Singles should host a survival camping week for people who have attachment issues. We could A/B test therapeutic strategies and put one group of singles in therapy and release another group into the woods with no supplies…
Anyway, when it comes to idealizing someone, I find that it’s helpful to make a list of all of their bad qualities. They don’t necessarily have to be dealbreakers or red flags, but just stuff that makes your object of affection more human and less god-like to you. If you’re the kind of person who finds faults and overanalyzes whether someone is good enough, then you gotta do the opposite and make a list in your Notes app of all the good things about this person you’re seeing. And then you need to live and die by this list.
Ben: Sounds very avoidant of you!! I definitely understand where that’s coming from – it’s good to reality check your feelings about a person or a situation. But how many successful marriages started with a list of their flaws in the other person’s notes app? I think it’s good to be excited! We need to let our guards down when we date! I know I’m guilty of letting good connections die because I fixated on some perceived flaw or thought it wasn’t right for some reason I concocted in my head.
There’s a Mitch Hedberg joke I think of all the time:
I like to drink red wine. This girl says "Doesn't red wine give you a headache?" "Yeah, eventually! But the first and the middle part are amazing." I'm not gonna stop doing something 'cause of what's gonna happen at the end. "Mitch, you want an apple?" "No, eventually it'll be a core."
I think we’re all a little guilty of throwing out the apple before it becomes a core. You can’t know for sure how things will turn out! But if you’re clinging to the apple because it looks like it’s a perfect apple, but you can’t tell it’s really the perfect apple, and what happens if it doesn’t meet your expectations of an apple? I don’t think you should convince yourself the apple sucks and never eat it. Eat the freaking apple! I think we know how to tell the difference between an apple with a weird mushy spot and a fully rotten one, and even if it’s a bad apple, trust that you’ll be ok.
Randa: How ‘bout them apples…
Thanks for reading hotsingles.nyc 🥵👤🗽! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
hotsingles.nyc FAQ • get featured • submit a missed connection • get advice from Help me, Randa! • follow hot singles on twitter • follow hot singles on instagram • follow your dreams 😘
What a delightful conversation. We will never figure this stuff out.