It is not every day that you walk up to someone in a club and say, “Want to go out with me?” because … well … What if she/he says no?!
Let me set the scene: You are a young, professional guy, late 20’s. You have met up with some friends for a couple of rounds of pool and a few drinks at the local pub.
Then she walks in. She’s been here a few times before, and you cannot help but glance over at her. Maybe you practise in your mind what you might say, as you picture yourself walking over to her. It’s like playing a movie scene in your head …
But then the scene in your mind starts going in a different direction, and the next thing you know, she’s laughing and pointing, and everyone in the pub knows that you were rejected. It’s a vivid and powerful scene. And after watching it play out in your mind, you decide there’s no way you’re going to put yourself through that in real life!
Now I want you to go back over the scene and figure out when it changed from being real life, into being your imagination.
Notice how quickly your emotional and physical state changes once the picture in your mind becomes embarrassing and you have lost control of your story.
Notice too that it is the imagined events, not the real ones, that have led to you deciding not to approach the woman.
Overcoming Dating Anxiety
Like other kinds of anxiety, dating anxiety involves anticipating a bad event happening and having no control over it.
We have anxiety built into us for protection during a real life bad event. But this “bad event” has been imagined – created – and our imaginations are very creative!
Anticipatory stress or worry tends to give us a scene in which we have no control and we are vulnerable.
In real life, we have more control and influence than our imagination has given us credit for. In real life, embarrassing moments happen, and they pass with time.
And in real life, we can choose how we respond when something happens, like when a girl turns us down.
Through counselling, Naomi can work with you to develop the cognitive and behavioural skills to take charge when you find that imagination of yours getting the better of you.
Author: Naomi Griffin, BA (Psych & Music); Grad Dip in Pastoral Couns; PG Dip Psych; Grad Cert Case Management; Grad Cert Ed Studies (Career Development); STAP; MAPS; MCCoun.
Please Note: Naomi is not currently practising at Vision Psychology, but is continuing to provide supervision for provisional (including 4+2 and 5+1) and registered psychologists, and for ministry agents in the wider Christian community. If you would like information regarding supervision, or would like to book an appointment with a Christian psychologist, please contact Reception on 1800 877 924.