I get nervous about pretty much anything. Job interviews, public speaking, standing on line for a roller coaster, asking someone to move if they're sitting on the outside seat on the train... you know, all the normal stuff.
The thing is, I'm not a shy person or even a tad bit socially awkward. I have friends, I do well at my job and I actually really enjoy being in front of a crowd and presenting. But the nervousness before it all makes me want to hide under a pile of blankets and never speak to a human being again.
So, you can imagine how much fun dates must be for me. So much fun in fact that I NEVER go on them.
I've come up with every excuse in the book and I've even ghosted boys before (not proud of it) in order to save myself from the gut-wrenching feeling of “butterflies.” Butterflies...OK. They're more like bees stinging the inside of my stomach tormenting me with the chance of awkwardness and worst of all, small talk.
My nervousness normally doesn't hold me back from anything except dates, and I figure it's because there's a 50 percent chance I've worked myself up for no reason and they'll end miserably. Or that continuously putting myself out there to be let down makes me want to throw up.
I remember when I was younger, I would be so nervous before a dance recital or a class presentation to the point where I would shake. My mom would tell me that being nervous was a good feeling, that whatever it was I was doing was just worth it and if I didn't feel this way it wouldn't be as important.
I've carried that advice through most of my adult life thus far. I've gotten up in front of a student center full of peers to defend why Spider Man is the best super hero of all time, crushed countless job interviews and performed in front of hundreds of people.
So, why did I not back down from all these things, but I can't get over it enough to sit down for a drink with a member of the opposite sex?
If you get nervous like I do, I've come up with five ways to trick yourself into going on a date:
1. Pretend it's a job interview.
I mean, in a way it kind of is. Relationships require effort and work and work is just another term for job. You need to qualify, they need to qualify to your expectations, and boom, this is now strictly business.
You've charmed your way into a job by talking to a stranger before, where you went over your assets, strengths, weaknesses and above all your personality. So do the same thing, just without the resume.
2. You're just making a new friend.
While I know we all hope to go out on a date to meet someone in a romantic way, it might just be easier to look at it from a friendly standpoint.
Think about it this way: All the friends you have right now started out as complete strangers, so you obviously did something right to make them stick around.
3. Everyone goes on dates.
I don't know what it is about reminding yourself that everyone in the world goes through the same experiences as you that makes everything seem better, but it just does.
You're nowhere near the only human who has gone through a first date or first date jitters, hell, you're probably not even the only one in the bar you're going to that's on a first date.
There's probably some psychological term for this phenomenon, but just remember you're not alone.
4. They're probably just as nervous.
I don't care if you're going on a date with King Tut himself, he's probably nervous too.
Clearly there's something there that made him want to pursue you, even if it is just sex. So he still has the fear of striking out. Trust me, the blow to his ego will most likely be a lot worse than yours.
5. You'll never know until you try.
You can sit there and talk yourself out of this date, making your stomach turn over a million times. Or you can suck it up, put on your big girl pants, get your confidence going and give this your best shot.
You'll never find love, a relationship, friends or jobs if you sit around and let a little nervousness hold you back.
When it comes down to it, you've just got to do it. Sure you might be shaking a bit, and it'll probably be awkward at first, but eventually it will go away and you might end up having a nice time.
And if all else fails, grab yourself a drink, take the edge off and let the vodka tonic do all the talking.