Imagine you match with a total snack on your favorite dating app, but after the excitement settles in, you started to feel a little nervous about actually talking to them. Do you message first? What do you say? How long do you wait to reply? Do you mention that you've already Googled them, know about their soccer podcast, and saw on Facebook that their high school girlfriend lived with your ex last summer? (Small world.) If dating apps give you texting anxiety, or if your brain starts to spiral once you've started messaging a cutie, you are certainly not alone.
Whether you can't decide if you should send a sarcastic meme, a sincere response, or if you literally feel your insides rot as you wait for them to reply to you, it's totally common to feel stressed about digital dating.
"For better and for worse, dating apps have become the new normal for dating. People no longer have to be vulnerable in person and approach strangers because they can use their phone to buffer a lot of the anxiety required to meet someone new," Nicole Richardson licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Elite Daily. "It's really common to feel some anxiety around how to put yourself out there in a way that will attract what you are looking for in return."
It can be hard to know just how much to share with someone you just matched with. And when you want to make a good first impression, but you haven't actually met IRL yet — it's super easy to overthink every text or to want to appear a certain way to your date. Cue: Trying to seem "cute" and "chill," and not "eating blue cheese crumbles from the container watching Sister Wives." According to Claudia Cox, relationship coach, the texting anxiety you may feel on apps can be a product of overthinking how to make yourself seem a certain way (i.e. "cute" or "chill").
"A lot of people try to avoid rejection by creating the perfect profile or the best response ever," Cox says. "But you cannot control the uncontrollable — meaning someone else’s attraction to you." Cox shares that with the inescapable role of texting in dating today — it's common for singles to overthink their every message. And with the growing pressure to be chill (literally push me off a boat) there's pressure to be interested, but not what Cox calls, "too interested."
According to Richardson, though it may seem harmless to constantly message your date soon into matching, constantly communicating with someone you haven't spent that much time with IRL can actually add to your anxiety. "Texting too much in the beginning is a mistake," Richardson says. "It creates a false sense of intimacy and can make the first couple of interactions more difficult because you have a built up image of each other that is not necessarily the person you are interacting with."
If you started messaging a potential boo on a dating app and switched to texting, you may find yourself constantly talking to someone who you haven't even met yet. And though you may not realize it, you may be creating an idealized version in your head about who this person is. "There are singles who overly fantasize about someone after just looking at their profile — without even meeting them in person," Cox says. "This creates anxiety as it builds the other person up into someone so amazing that you’re intimidated to communicate with them."
If dating apps are giving you texting anxiety, the experts suggest being kind and patient with yourself, but ultimately remembering that the app is just an app. "Dating apps are just an introduction service," Jennifer B. Rhodes, licensed psychologist and relationship expert tells Elite Daily. "If you have anxiety about an app, be compassionate with yourself, but try it out. The experience will likely give you valuable learning opportunities needed to help build your self confidence."
For Thomas Edwards Jr., coach and founder of The Professional Wingman, the first step to nixing dating app anxiety is to see your dating app as just another form of social media. "Depending on where you are in your pursuit of a relationship, there can be a ton of attention given to these apps. The first thing to do is not put your dating app on a pedestal," Edwards says. "The other thing to do is share your experience with others both online and off. This will not only put both of you at ease, but more importantly, your anxiety will diminish long-term as you continue to share." If you're feeling totally nervous about messaging a new cutie, according to Edwards Jr., sharing your nerves with them can actually put you both at ease. Rather than pressuring yourself to look cool or seem calm and collected, admitting to your date that dating makes you anxious or that texting keeps you up at night can ease budding dating app tension.
For Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, the best way to beat dating app anxiety is to remember that love has no formula. "Algorithms, apps, and sites don’t have any different odds at finding you love," Silva tells Elite Daily. "Keep the focus on trying to explore if they are a good fit." Rather than scrutinizing how you're appearing to them — according to Silva, it's important to see how your date fits into your life too. If they don't seem to have have a compatible sense of humor or if they never reply to your texts on time — rather than changing the way you talk or worrying about what they're thinking about you — you may realize that you're not super into them. "The only question anyone should look to answer is 'Am I having fun with this person?'" Edwards Jr. says. "The only way to make that the only question, is to make sure you have fun no matter what."
If you're still feeling anxious about dating apps, though it may seem a little cheesy, the experts share the power of positive thinking. "Visualize yourself successfully flirting and meeting new people. Stay focused on the process, and don’t put your sense of worth into your ability to score a date with every person you message," Cox says. "Remind yourself that the person you’re messaging might be nervous. You don’t know them, or their story yet. So, keep it fun and don’t fall into the assumptions trap!"
And if somethings feels a little off, or if texting someone is making you anxious, it's always OK to turn your phone off and take a hot bath or go see a friend. "Don't push yourself too hard. If something really doesn't feel good to you, don't do it," Richardson says. "Do positive things for yourself and spend time with uplifting and positive people (it's contagious)." According to Richardson, taking time away from dating apps to hike with friends, read a new book, or visit a cool museum can quell any texting stress. Additionally, finding IRL hobbies or doing fun things away from your phone can give you a ton of cool conversation starters with dating app potential boos. "If you need a little more calming, meditate and journal to let yourself get it out in a constructive way," Richardson says.
Feeling texting anxiety from dating apps is completely normal. Dating can be super intimidating, and the world of apps can make it seem like there are simultaneously 10,000 people and zero people out there for you. If you're feeling nervous about dating apps, try putting down your phone and doing something fun IRL. Visualizing yourself totally killing it on a first date can help nix any stress as well. At the end of the day, you are a flawless angel, and dating is supposed to be fun. And with some positive thinking, you can totally swipe left on any dating-app fueled texting anxiety.