5 tips to acing online dating (and overcoming mental barriers)


While online dating may be the norm these days, many of us are still struggling to manage the dissonance between how impersonal or insensitive the process feels from our ideas of how the process of meeting a romantic partner ought to be.


Dating has always been a nerve-wracking aspect of life, but online dating has created many mental hurdles that are hard for many of us to leap over gracefully. Anxiety, stress, and fear are common side effects of online dating, but they can be soothed with a variety of techniques.


1. Take a deep breath. In times of fear or anxiety, we often forget to breathe. The easiest way to bring your mind back into its normal state is to find some headspace. While you’re sitting in the taxi or driving to your agreed meeting spot, take a minute to breathe. Let everything around you float away as you remember who you are, what you are trying to accomplish by dating online, and that the person you are meeting is just like you…a person. You’ll find that a few deep breaths will eliminate most of those first date jitters.


2. Practice talking about yourself to those you know. Meeting someone from the online dating world is always scary, but having to disclose parts of your personal life to them without the feeling of being judged is hard to overcome. The best way to get past your mental roadblock is to talk to those you know about yourself. Listen to how you describe yourself, your work, and your hobbies to those who love and support you. Close your eyes and feel your body relax in the presence of your friend. When you show up at your date, close your eyes again, and see if you can remember that feeling in your body. The feeling that the person you are talking to is already accepting you and thinking you’re awesome.


3. Accepting yourself will help the rest fall into place. We spend lots of time trying to put ourselves together for dates and inevitably end up stressing about what we bring to the table for an exponential amount of time. Most often we believe we are not good enough for the person we are dating, and in turn spend time pretending that we are someone we are not in the beginning.


The best way to overcome this kind of idea and eliminate stress is to accept yourself. Be willing to be your entire self without remorse with the person you are dating. If you find that this is hard to do on your first few dates, repeat a simple mantra like “I am good enough” in your head in times when you are nervous, scared, or overstressed.


4. Reframe your thought process to eliminate your negative thoughts. When searching for a mate online, it can be hard to overcome the thoughts that come along with it. “This is my last resort” or “No one would ever be interested in me online” are just a few of the terrible things we say to ourselves when we punch our personal information into an online dating site. It’s easy to be negative about your situation, but in truth the online dating world has created more opportunities for people looking for love than ever before.


The best way to get past these pessimistic thoughts is to reframe your situation. Did your last relationship end poorly? Could this be the reason why you are so set against looking for another one? Did you think the last person you dated was “the one” but ended up being just another name on your list? Take your last situation and dig deep. If your last relationship was terrible, you have to think past that experience and into a much better vision of what you want for yourself. Keep in mind that not every person you date is the same and that the online world is full of all kinds of people that could very well be a wonderful fit for you. Keep your frame of thought focused on what you see for yourself.


5. Online Dating is for You. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are online dating for yourself. Worrying and stressing about what others think will get you nowhere, but being yourself, taking deep breaths, and reframing your past will keep you moving forward towards your goals.


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