Dating Anxiety and How to Gain Confidence with Women

Dating anxiety is commonplace as everyone wishes to present well and make a good impression. However, some people experience a debilitating degree of fear to the point that they have a dating phobia. They cannot function effectively on a date, avoid  the scenario altogether or will resort to drugs and/or alcohol to calm their nerves.

Dating anxiety can be a form of social phobia. People can have a fear of being negatively judged or evaluated on a date and worry that they will do something to embarass or humiliate themselves. Some peoples fear of dating may be so intense that they have a panic attack before, during or even after the event. Some people may be worrying for days or even weeks before their social encounter. Some sufferers of dating anxiety may find they are unable to sleep for worrying about how the day will pan out. Dating anxiety may result in diarrhoea, nausea and in extreme cases vomiting.

Clinical Psychologist, Catherine Madigan, has worked with many people who suffer from dating anxiety. Catherine has found that (although men are still generally expected to initiate dates and project confidence with women and therefore are more likely to seek treatment ) changing social mores mean that women are now taking more initiative re asking men out and consequently more women are now seeking help.

Catherine believes that dating anxiety is a contributing factor to the dangerous practice of drink driving. Many people are so anxious about interacting with other singles at bars, nightclubs and parties that they resort to drinking alcohol (with the aim of boosting their confidence) before they leave home and/or drink too much when they get to the venue.

Tips for Dating Anxiety

Many people who are anxious about dating may try dating websites as a means of making the initial contact with prospective partners, however, the shy and/or anxious person still has to interact face to face eventually.

  1. Make sure you have read your date’s profile thoroughly and prepare some questions which show the person you are genuinely interested in getting to know more about them.
  2. Ask plenty of open ended questions. e.g. “What attracted you to a career in horticulture,” “What do you enjoy about surfing?” etc.
  3. Be mindful of your body language and posture. It is important to smile and maintain a good level of eye contact with your date.
  4. Don’t fold your arms.
  5. Don’t play with your cutlery or mobile phone.
  6. Turn your mobile off and leave it out of sight.
  7. Limit your initial dates to an hour.
  8. Consider planning an activity date, so there is less pressure on you to talk, if you would be more comfortable with that scenario.
  9. Don’t arrange to go to dinner, as its possible the food will be delayed and the date will drag out longer you had planned.

Speed Dating to Gain Confidence with Women

Speed dating is another option which may appeal to some people with dating anxiety inso far as at least it is a structured activity where everyone is present with the same aim. This may be perceived as less threatening than approaching someone at a bar (as at least one knows they are single, are at the event to meet people, etc).

Speed dating companies organise different events targetted at particular age and interest groups and you can get the opportunity to meet 10-15 people in a series of 5 minute mini dates in a one evening. The pain of rejection is cushioned by partcipants ticking on a list those whom they wish the organisers to pass their contact details onto, so there are no awkward face to face knockbacks.

These events usually provide complementary champagne prior to the speed dating starting so although ideally one should not self medicate one’s anxiety with alcohol, it is an option in this environment. Once you have attended a few speed dating events, your confidence should grow.

The secret to success is not to expect to meet your life partner at your first or subsequent events. Keep the conversation light. Don’t ask how many children they want, do they want to get married, or you will scare your date off. Don’t discuss your past relationships, your exes, how much you dislike your job, your mental health problems etc.

If you are not confident in your ability to read body language there are some excellent clips on which demonstrate the signs men and women exhibit when they are attracted to someone.

Dinner/Lunch Groups to Gain Confidence with Women

There are also dinner groups, where 6-8 people (equal numbers of men and women) have a meal and then participants contact the organisers of the event and signal whether they wish their contact details to be passed on to anyone. These events are run very regularly so there is opportunity to obtain repeated, massed practice in this social scenario.

  • Whatever dating context  you place yourself in it is important to take the pressure off yourself by keeping your expectations low. Look at any event as an opportunity to practice your small talk and flirting skills.
  • If the above tips are not sufficient you might like to get dating help by joining a group therapy program for social anxiety which provides the opportunity for you to role play being a on a date. The practice can help you hone your skills, rehearse your questions, eliminate negative body language, you can be provided with video feedback of your performance etc.

Gain Confidence with Women with an Image Makeover

When dating, first impressions count so it is important that you present at your best.
Often people unwittingly neglect their appearance, not keeping up to date with changes in hairstyles, glasses, clothes and makeup. Many people who have come out of long term relationships are anxious about getting back into dating as it has been many years since they have had to go on a date. Engaging the services of a stylist could be money well spent and is not as expensive as you might think.

Stylists offer services such as wardrobe edits they will go through your wardrobe and advise on what garments are outdated and/or unflattering. Stylists may also offer their services as personal shoppers and guide you to appropriate purchases. Stylists will analyse your body type and teach you how to enhance your assets and play down your figure flaws. They can also advise on colors which enhance your looks.

If you cannot afford to hire a stylist, there are many resources available on the internet which advise people on what not to wear. There are also books available on how to dress stylishly.

Women may also find it helpful to consult a makeup artist to learn how to  choose makeup which best suits them and how to apply it appropriately. The products that suited you ten years ago may no longer be appropriate.

Dating Anxiety can be overcome with help

If you are experiencing significant  fear you may need professional assistance to overcome your problem. Individual sessions and/or group therapy may be helpful. Group therapy would give you the opportunity to practice being on a date and get some supportive, constructive feedback on your body language, conversation etc. Video feedback can also be provided.

Find a psychologist near you.

If you live in Melbourne you can contact Catherine Madigan on 98193671 or email

This article published on Nov 10, 2012. View related Articles

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