Ask A Woman: Cat got your tongue?
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Recently, I met a young woman that I took out on a few dates. She was incredibly intelligent, beautiful, and had a great sense of humor. We had a great first date and it seemed like we were both very excited about seeing each other again. While all of this sounds good, this is actually where my problem came to light. This excitement on my side turned into nerves and I ended up being uncomfortable and not my normal self the next two times we went out. Unsurprisingly, she let me know that she didn’t feel a connection and was no longer interested.
This has happened to me a couple of times where I meet someone that I’m really excited about and I kind of psyche myself out during the dates and then things flame out with the girl no longer being interested. On the other hand, the girls that I’ve ended up dating longer term, I wasn’t quite as into from the get go. I don’t think this is a coincidence, as I’m sure I came across as more natural and relaxed when I went out with them. This pattern leads me to feeling like I end up settling or never really dating someone that has all of the qualities that I’m looking for.
Ultimately, my question is how do I end up balancing the excitement of meeting someone new that I’m interested in, while not coming on too strong or getting anxious? Is there any way I can ask for another chance with this recent young lady that caused me to write in? We traded a few texts after our last date and she told me that she picked up on my nerves and that she was nervous also. I really do think she’s someone worth pursuing and I’d like the opportunity to show her my actual personality on another date.
It sounds like you’re putting too much pressure on yourself, the woman, and the date itself. I’m not telling you anything new, right? It’s easier said than done, but basically, you just need to calm the eff down. Calming down is difficult. You feel yourself getting nervous and you think, oh no, not again! Then the threat of getting anxious leads to more anxiety, and it just snowballs. There is no way to force yourself to be calm at any given moment, there are only coping mechanisms that you can practice which eventually will help you manage your anxiety:
1. Remind yourself that this is only a date. She isn’t THE ONE. She can’t be, you just started dating her. Maybe in six months you’ll know this, but right now, you know nothing. Dating is about getting to know someone; it’s not about picking out names for the baby.
2. Afraid that if you don’t act perfectly, she’ll run away and you’ll never see her again? Well then you’ll move on to a new woman who is equally as charming. You will. You told me you’ve met interesting, beautiful women in the past. That means it’s likely you’ll meet interesting, beautiful women in the future. If you blow this chance, you’ll have another one.
3. Let her talk and ask her lots of questions. This strategy can’t be used indefinitely, but if you feel yourself starting to freak out on the second date, use it. Where did she grow up, what’s her family like, how does she like her work, did she see the recent buzzed about movie and did she like it? Respond to her answers with head nods, good (but not psychotic) eye contact, smiles when appropriate, and encouraging phrases like “Cool,” “Wow, that sounds amazing,” “Me, too,” “What was that like?” and so forth. This prevents you from having to make complicated conversation, or feeling like you’re on display, but still shows her that you’re connecting to what she’s saying.
If you try these tactics, and you continue to torpedo every possible relationship due to your anxiety, it might not be a bad idea to seek medical help. I mention this only because if it becomes clear that you really can’t get past these nerves, they may be more than nerves, they may be a social anxiety disorder. A small dose of anti-anxiety medication might be what you need to get over this bump. If medication isn’t your style, you could try seeing a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT focuses more on changing behavior and less on analyzing feelings, so it’s an ideal therapy for people who don’t consider themselves “therapy types.” It’s also very effective. In fact, if you wanted a more integrative approach, you could combine meds and therapy for the best possible results.
Finally, yes, I think you should ask this woman for another chance, and I think she should give it to you. Especially if you explain that your nerves simply got the best of you. I mean, I’m taking your word for it that you’re not actually a weirdo, your anxiety just makes you that way. If you’re a true blue weirdo…well…best of luck to you.
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