Book a call with an Anxiety UK advisor here

Book a call with an Anxiety UK advisor here


By Megan Erwin


I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin. I’ve always struggled with human connection, because I’m scared that someone else might see me the way I see myself. On my best days, I’m too tired to do much of anything, and on my worst, I wonder if I’ll ever be worthy of love at all. These feelings especially come to the surface when attempting to enter the dating world.

For many of us, meeting new people comes with a host of anxieties that are only exacerbated by the expectations that come with being in a romantic relationship. We often hear that connecting with people is easier than ever. With the digital world at our fingertips, online dating has lost a lot of the stigma of its earlier days, and is now viewed by many as a legitimate tool for forming meaningful, lasting relationships. We can get to know someone’s personality, interests, opinions- all through a 200 character bio and carefully curated photos of them in front of famous monuments or on a hiking trail.

As a person with social anxiety, using dating apps can certainly dismantle a couple of the usual obstacles some of us experience when dating, such as the fear of making an unwanted advance, or the initial panic of needing to approach someone and start a conversation. The concept of matches also immediately creates a sense of reciprocity that is sometimes difficult to gauge in person and can somewhat ease the fear of judgment.

However, the worries in my mind are always the same.

Are they who they say they are? What if I say something silly? I have to keep eye contact. What if I run out of things to talk about?

When going on that first date, there are some things I’ve personally found quite helpful in quelling my anxiety- for example, learning about a few of their interests beforehand so you have a few conversation topics in mind before meeting them. Making a list of questions or things to talk about beforehand can also be useful in case you struggle with making conversation on the spot. If you’re worried about meeting someone for the first time, bringing a friend or family member to accompany you may help alleviate your concerns, as can going on a date in an area you’re more familiar with.

No matter what stage you’re at in a relationship, it’s okay to take things at your own pace, and don’t be afraid to take time and space for yourself. It can be difficult to not feel like we have to be constantly giving, but caring for yourself isn’t selfish, nor does it mean that you don’t care for your partner. Honest, open communication and clear boundaries can help those involved feel much more comfortable and secure in the relationship, and having an outside support system, whether that’s friends, family, professionals, or support groups, can also be extremely useful in helping you navigate your anxiety and how it relates to your partnership.

‘Hi, my name is Megan, and I have suffered with depression and anxiety for several years. I have only recently begun receiving treatment for my mental health, and it has changed my life more than I can describe. It’s so easy to feel completely alone with whatever you’re going through, and through writing with Anxiety UK I hope to be able to provide at least a bit of comfort to whoever happens to be reading that you are seen, and you matter.’

The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email [email protected] for more information.

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