Facing fear in dating

Recently, I had a coffee date to meet a new guy. I noticed myself feeling a bit nervous beforehand, something I hadn’t felt in a while. I wondered if he would be nice or would he ditch me within a few minutes. Would there be that wonderful spark I’ve felt on a few first meetings, or that look of disappointment I’ve seen a few times?

This uncertainty, this risk taking, is part of what makes dating difficult. The first meetings can be so nerve wracking that they prevent many people from putting their toe in the dating pool.

Barbara SherIn my quest for wisdom about courage and taking risks in life, I came upon I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was by Barbara Sher. In it she says:

“Most inaction isn’t solely because of indecision — it’s because of fear. But every time you want to do something that scares you, and you dare to do it, your self-esteem goes up a few degrees. When you’re fearful but you step forward anyway, you do yourself a great service. Even if someone slams the door in your face — the worst outcome you can imagine — it doesn’t matter. You’re a success every time you face down fear. You can feel that success. You feel elated or determined; either way the feeling is intoxicating.

“But every time you let yourself down by not acting, you can feel your self-esteem drop a few degrees. Your morale sinks along with your self-esteem.

“What will determine the course of your life more than any other one thing is whether or not you’re willing to tolerate necessary discomfort.”

Are you putting off contacting someone you think is attractive? Do you have a phone number for a guy who’s invited you to call, but you haven’t yet? If so and you need more than Barbara’s advice above, read “What would you do if you were brave?” and “The first time … calling him.”

When you’ve done this uncomfortable thing, write and tell us what you did and how you felt afterward.

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2 responses to “Facing fear in dating”

  1. communicatrix Avatar

    I think I approached my own time as an online dater much like you are: as a grand experiment in a new kind of social interaction. As such, I was the scientist as well as the subject, and when things went south, I let the scientist take over (or at least sit down beside me).

    BTW, another *wonderful* book about dating and the early stage of relationships (b/c really, that’s what dating is: the early stage, however brief), is If the Buddha Dated. It was written pre-online dating boom, so some of the content is not 100% up to date, but the perspective is wonderful, sly and refreshing. Much like I imagine the Buddha was!

  2. Lynn Avatar

    I am “new” to the dating scene. And, I have had some disappointments, but you are right – regardless of the outcome, I feel energized by the simple fact that I faced my fear. This online dating thing can sometimes make me feel desperate, but I just keep my chin up and move forward. When I meet a guy that I know is not compatible, I immediately let him know, and I appreciate the same in return.