Some of us are great at meeting new people and establishing new connections. Some of us find it challenging, even if we’re usually the life of the party among our own friends. And that’s understandable: it’s hard to show off your personality if you’re uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, though, if the prospect of meeting new people makes you uneasy, it makes it that much more difficult to attract the kind of person who would be a good romantic partner for you. Finding the right person is difficult enough as it is; doing so without opening yourself up is nearly impossible.
But we’re also conditioned not to acknowledge that we’re scared or uneasy, and more often than not, we come up with excuses to justify our refusal to enter the dating pool. So to help with this challenge, here are some of the most common excuses people make for not meeting new people – and the best ways to get past them.
I Don’t Feel Attractive Enough – Yet
I struggled with self-image and body-image issues for a long time. Even when friends would tell me that my concerns were overblown, I still couldn’t get over the hump in my mind that said I couldn’t compete with all the beefcakes in the dating pool. So, I would procrastinate: I’d tell myself that I just needed to lose a few more pounds, get nicer clothes, or do something cooler with my hair, and then I’d be ready to date.
I thought I was alone in believing this, but as it turns out, almost everybody struggles with acceptance of some aspect of their physical appearance. We all have flaws that we constantly focus on, even if they’re imperceptible to everyone else. And more often than not, we use those flaws as an excuse to avoid meeting new people.
Truth is, you’re never going to look the way you think you need to look in order to land a romantic partner. If you think you’re too fat or too skinny, I’ve got news for you: I guarantee there’s someone out there who finds you extremely attractive.
If you can’t manage to convince yourself of that and you’re still not sold on the fact that physical appearance isn’t everything, there are always steps you can take to improve your mind and spirit – and, by extension, your self-confidence. You can start by following your passions: take a class, learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, fill out that collection of incredibly creepy porcelain dolls. Whatever it is, following your passions will make you a more well-rounded person, and that’s a lot more attractive to others than just your looks.
I’m Not Over A Breakup
Getting over a past relationship is never easy. And you definitely don’t want to jump into something new too quickly: more than likely, you’ll just to end up comparing the new person you’re dating to the person with whom you just broke up, which isn’t fair to your new partner.
There’s no universal timeline for getting over a breakup – everybody’s different, and no two relationships are exactly alike. But at some point, you’ll have to accept that the relationship is over and start moving forward with your life.
A good rule of thumb is that the mourning period shouldn’t last longer than half of the length of the relationship. So if you dated for a year, give yourself at most 6 months to be sad; once that time is up, you need to rejoin the rest of us. It will probably be difficult, but re-entering the dating pool can also really help you realize that the person you were pining over wasn’t really all that great to begin with.
I’m Scared of Rejection
Nobody likes to get rejected, especially not by someone to whom they’re attracted.
That said, plenty of people have no problem putting themselves out there and getting rejected. It’s not because they’re gluttons for punishment; rather, it’s because they don’t treat rejection as some world-ending repudiation of their value as a human being.
Even if you do everything right, there’s still a chance that the other person won’t be interested – not everybody is a good fit, and that’s fine. It’s important to remember that when all is said and done, rejection only hurts as much as you allow it to hurt.
There’s a psychological theory known as the “catastrophic failure” mindset that explains this. The catastrophic mindset basically refers to a tendency to think of the absolute worst possible theoretical outcome when we’re deciding whether or not we should do something. With that mindset, it’s no wonder many of us find meeting new people to be painful.
But think about it rationally. Realistically speaking, the worst thing that is likely to happen is that you’ll talk to someone for a minute and they’ll rudely ignore you. (Actually, the very worst thing that could happen is that your pants fall off and you trip and fall into a big pot of soup.) Even if that happens…so what?
I Don’t Know What To Say
I’ll let you in on a little secret: nobody knows exactly what to say when they meet someone new. There’s no universal conversation starter, and what resonates with some people may not work at all with others.
The best way to handle this is to stop thinking of the other person as an attractive and mysterious stranger with whom you would like to create many babies, but like somebody you’ve already known for a long time – in other words, don’t appear nervous, don’t stammer, and don’t fidget. By acting comfortable and self-assured, other person will be instinctively more at ease with your presence.
I Might Come Off As Weird
So what? If you’re talking to someone and they say “You’re weird,” you know something? They’re weird! No normal person says that to someone they just met unless they’re flirting!
And even if you are weird…again, so what? There’s nothing wrong with being weird – humans are weird! We smile at animals! We get mad at people when they don’t say “thank you” after we’ve held a door open! We rehearse arguments with other people in our heads, even though those arguments are never going to happen!
You know what’s weird? Not being weird. That shit’s creepy.
I Don’t Know How To Date
If you’ve ever dated before, then guess what? You do know how to date. I would say it’s like riding a bicycle, but it’s actually even easier than that: you have to learn how to ride a bicycle. You don’t have to learn how to date, you just…do it.
A lot of people tend to think of dating as a skill that will go away if it’s not used regularly. But unless you’re a recluse, you know how to date – a big part of dating is showing affection for someone and considering their feelings as well as your own. And if you find someone who’s a good fit for you, you don’t have to worry about doing the “right” thing; the “right” thing will be whatever you would naturally do, because they’re attracted to who you are as a person. (Also, they’ll tell you if you’re screwing it up.)
Not everybody feels like their best self 100% of the time, and anybody who claims they do is either full of shit or Gwyneth Paltrow. Making these kinds of excuses is really our way of giving ourselves permission to fail – or worse, to not even try. And nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved through inaction.