How Do You Develop The Courage To Date?

By Sally Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT

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Dating can be a scary “sport”, so how DO you develop the courage to date?

Men usually have the toughest part because they have to risk the rejection and make the “ask”. Women also have to find ways to make themselves available for dating, not hiding out in comfortable surroundings and with friends of the same sex.

There are lots of things that people do to sabotage meeting and forming a relationship that could lead to something close or intimate … and it takes courage (among other things) to put yourself in a situation where something may develop.
  • Do you hide behind weight?
  • Do you hide behind the idea that you do not need a relationship? (No one needs a relationship but it is human nature to want one.)
  • Do you hide behind the idea that you are simply too busy or too committed to your career to meet and nurture a relationship?
  • Is meeting someone special something that you keep putting off until the next goal is reached in your life? Your children are grown? You own your own home? You have received a promotion?
  • Are you such an introvert that it is too much of an effort to do what it takes to meet someone to date? 
 It is not easy to open yourself up to the possibility, find the right “pool” of people and explore the friendships that could lead into intimacy. And yet, if you do not take chances, nothing will just come your way and appear on your doorstep.

Consider some of these things as a way of beginning to develop the courage to date.
  • Find things that you like to do … and would enjoy talking about or doing with another person. Join a hiking club, book group, take a class in art, music or wine appreciation.
  • Develop friendships of the same sex. Involve yourself in activities with them that take you into social environments where you can practice conversational skills with people of both sexes.
  • Show up at your local coffee shop a few times a week to just have coffee and smile at a few other people. Notice the results.
  • Embark on a program to improve your health. Do not set unrealistic goals of losing 100 pounds. Rather, think about feeling healthier with your own skin because you are eating right (start small … one meal, one snack and build from there), exercise (again start small … walk one block, walk in place during one television commercial and build from there), grooming yourself well, dressing in attractive clothing and styling your hair in a way that fits with your personality.
  • Write a list, every day, of three things about yourself that are interesting or attractive.
  • Interview others about their positive experiences with dating.
  • Look at some of the on-line dating sites to see some of the others out there. Do not rule out this form of meeting others. Many very nice people have met their partners or significant others there. Even if you are not ready to date, think about just canvassing the dating scene.
  • Practice talking with others using small talk about mutual interests or actually talking with someone else about their favorite subject … themselves.
  • Ask someone of the same sex to do something with you. Give yourself some practice with invitations … and also with handling “no”.
  • Visualize yourself on a date. Hear yourself talking, listening and having fun. Continue practicing in your head several times a week until it begins to seem even slightly fun to you.

These are just some ideas for how to begin to get yourself ready to think about meeting someone to date. 

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