Ask What You Want Wednesdays, Readers Questions
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Ask What You Want Wednesday | Pre-Date Anxiety

Dear Hattie:
A guy I haven’t talked to in person has just asked me out for coffee. We haven’t even named a date yet and my anxiety is driving me nuts and it’s all I’m thinking about. It’s really making me want to just cancel just to make it stop.

Before anything, start by reminding yourself that you are in control of your choices. You always have the freedom to cancel or decide against going.

But next remind yourself that you have a responsibility to yourself towards growth. It’s often easier, especially when it comes to our anxiety, to stay comfortable and avoid situations that heighten our anxiety.

This situation is full of the unknown. This is probably where the majority of the anxiety is coming from. If you’ve never spoken to this person, let alone spent time one on one in a coffee shop having to talk and be a normal human being, it’s almost entirely full of the unknowns. This is very very scary. If you can, try and go to the coffee shop with a friend or by yourself just to become familiar with the environment. At least then the place will become known to you.

For another concrete project start by sitting down and writing a list of all the things that could go wrong. Everything from your car breaking down on the way there, to projectile vomiting on the guy, to crying in front of him.

Then write a list of why you want to go, what you might get from the situation, what it might help you learn about yourself. Regardless of whether or not you’ll end up clicking or going on a second date, what could you get from the afternoon? There must be at least a small part of you that wants to do this, otherwise you wouldn’t be contemplating it (or nervous about it). Once you can see these two lists side by side look at how small the letters are, how easy it is to crumple up the paper.

It’s also always a good idea to call to mind previous situations that you wanted to back out of, but didn’t. Did you live through it? Maybe these scenarios were unbearably uncomfortable, but you survived. And now you have another opportunity to try something new. I only once went on a totally blind date. The days leading up to it were excruciating. I didn’t go on a second date with the guy, we didn’t click, but I also had a totally fine time with him at dinner. And I was VERY proud of myself after I got home.  Shit’s scary!

Like I’ve said before, we anxious people need to encourage ourselves to adjust. Maybe don’t trust your initial knee-jerk reaction of fear. Wait. Breath. Try meditating and allowing your overwhelming thoughts to just float through your mind like clouds. And encourage yourself towards growth.

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