Question: I have been celebrate for almost three years, and am terrified to “get back out there.” Any tips on how to reverse or overcome my apparent phobia?
Answer: This can be a scary question to even ask, the I applaud you on putting yourself out there by showcasing self awareness of your nervousness.
It’s tough for EVERYONE to be out there, whether they have never dated, never had sexual partners, etc, whether they have taken some time off from being sexual, or whether they have a different partner every week. We all innately have a huge fear of rejection, whether from family, friends, potential partners, current partners, employers, etc. Being “out there,” what ever that looks like, can be really hard for any one.
Tip number 1: Be yourself. It’s very easy to try and mimic people in magazines, TV shows, fashion shows, head of cliques, etc. Sometimes it feels as though playing a role is easier than being ourselves, because if we do wind up feeling rejected, we can comfort ourselves with the idea that it was out facade that was rejected, not actually ourselves. However, being yourself is a) easier, because you’re not trying to be someone else and b) better, because if you do wind up finding someone you like, and they are interested back, you will KNOW that it is truly you they like, and not wonder if it is the role you’re playing.
Tip number 2: Don’t make too many goals. When we are so set on finding someone to kiss/fuck/date/marry/bring home to mom, we often psych ourselves out. Most couples will tell you that they found their ideal partner just when they had given up looking, or had taken a step back from aggressively searching. Why? Because it’s easier to just be you when you aren’t searching actively for someone, and because people will see a more relaxed you, rather than the trying to impress people you, which is usually what people prefer.
Tip number 3: Meet people in areas of YOUR interest. For some reason, it’s thought that meeting people in bars is a great idea. And it is possible that for some specific people, it is. If you frequently hang out in bars, that might be a good place to try. However, if like most people, you hang out more often in places that don’t have tall stools and booze, you should try to meet people in areas in which you feel comfortable. Like chess? Chat up that cutie at chess club. More of a runner? Ask that smarty pants to be your jogging buddy! Spend a lot of time volunteering at an animal shelter? See if your fellow volunteer would like to talk up the cute kitties and puppies after your shift. This way, you know you already have a shared interest that goes beyond getting wasted.
Tip number 4: Be gentle to yourself. Getting “back out there” can feel incredibly intense, and if you are super nervous about it, you may either go under board or overboard, over share or under share…and guess what? It’s all ok. Just take your time, relax, and congratulate yourself for even giving it a good try and getting back out there. No hurry on finding the one, whether it’s for one evening or for longer. Take a breath, take care of yourself.
Best of luck,
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