Overcoming Your Fears of Online Dating

Meeting your new partner on the internet unlocks infinite possibilities where otherwise would not exist. Online dating is convenient, fast and helps people to become familiar with a range of individuals simultaneously before having to meet face to face.  

Although this matchmaking method suits many, others tend to find online dating fearful due to the amount of personal information made available to strangers.     

The reality is though, online dating can be just as safe and fun as other offline dating options. But it depends, it depends on whether you choose the right dating site, and how much attention to detail you put into making online dating work for you. Together with this, practicing online dating safety is paramount particularly when you meet someone face to face for the first time. 

Assess the numbers 

One of the greatest fears associated with online dating is how other people will perceive you due to using a dating website. Modern statistics show that more than 80% of the general population in the U.S accept online dating as a genuine and practical way to meet people. In addition, as much as 70% of modern singles own a dating profile.    

  • Take a look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that there truly is no stigma-related association when it comes to online dating. Dating apps truly are the norm these days when it comes to meeting new people. 
  • Keep reminding yourself of the life-changing potential to meet a life-partner which grossly outweighs any personal issues you associate with this kind of dating.      

Create a list of details that make you valuable 

Work towards creating a list of attributes that demonstrate your own self-worthiness. Highlight the things that you like about yourself. Such as your job, your appearance, your sense of humor. 

Place this list of valuable traits somewhere you’ll see often. The fridge door, the toilet door or on a mirror etc.  

Initially, it may be hard to put this listed together, so just remind yourself, “What are some of the positive things my closest friends say about me.” With this, you can apply the things your friends say about you to other people you meet for the first time online. 

Like most people, we are often critical about the way we look, or you could be body-conscious for example. However, keep reminding yourself about what people you know have said about you in the past, “You have an infectious smile,” “You have beautiful and caring eyes.” 

Focus on what you like about yourself, not what you dislike. Keep reminding yourself how people in the past have given you compliments about “your infectious smile” and write this on your list.    

A lot of people feel unhappy with their lives or their career. But keep telling yourself there are still positive outcomes with what you do. Remind yourself, “I am doing my best, I’m able to take care of my own bills, help other people when I’m able to, I have a caring and likable nature, my life is worthwhile all things considered.” 

If at times you are not feeling confident, read through your list of valuable traits to remind yourself about the positive things in your life. Eventually, thinking positively about yourself becomes ingrained.           

Accepting rejection    

The single biggest fear in coming to terms with using dating sites, or dating in general, is being rejected. It’s to be completely expected that almost anyone on a dating app may experience being rejected. Those that don’t are most certainly in a very small minority. 

It’s important to remember that in the event you do not hear back from someone, or if you’re told they simply are not interested in you, that you have the understanding that online dating rejection is a huge part of the process until you find a match you click with. 

Face rejection head on and realize that it’s a normal part of the process even though it’s difficult to process in the beginning. By stepping out of your comfort zone and accepting rejection as part and parcel of online dating, will allow you to keep pursuing your goals with confidence so you do not give up.    

  • If someone you’ve messaged does not respond, don’t keep pursuing them just because you did not receive a response. Harassing people will not do you any favors and certainly will not bring you any closer to finding a meaningful relationship.  
  • Save yourself the effort and remind yourself, “I’m just not their type and that you can have more success elsewhere when someone stops communicating with you without giving any reason.”  
  • Another example of how to overcome your fears with online dating is the common scenario that when someone you’ve been chatting with or messaging suddenly ghosts you.  Why? It’s likely they have since decided to pursue another person they have already been talking to. It happens.   

Renounce your fears 

As with any kind of dating experience, including online dating, it’s okay to be apprehensive, it’s a big step. When it comes to overcoming your fears it’s not so much about entirely eliminating your fears, it’s more about acknowledging your fears and finding ways to rise above it.    

Goal setting 

The concept of dating in general by default, will always involve a range of high emotions naturally. As a new person to the online dating world, goalsetting and setting realistic outcomes from the outset is a great way to meet your expectations. 

Part of your goalsetting initiatives are determining whether you are looking for casual or committed relationships, and at the same time ensuring you have accepted how rejection is part of the big picture.  

  • Apply these goals as a guide in the very beginning stages of your online dating journey. If you happen to meet someone who is looking for casual dating, however you’re more interested in a committed relationship, you’re not going to be able to change them. Remain close to your own goals and look elsewhere. 
  • Try to be flexible with your goals where possible. Your goals should paint the bigger picture and shouldn’t be geared towards short term goals. Being overly rigid with your goals may also close you off to compatible matches.    

Looking after yourself 

The chances of you feeling confident when dating someone new are drastically increased when you feel good within yourself. To stay motivated in looking after yourself, take action on a daily basis for your own self-care.  Things like meditation, to hitting the gym or other exercise.   

  • Put time aside every day to focus on something you enjoy and is important to you. Other self-care choices can include preparing healthy meals, keeping in contact regularly with friends and family or anything else that makes you feel good about yourself. 
  • Take time out too. You may have had a particularly difficult day at work. So instead of allowing stress to dominate your mood, allow yourself some relaxing downtime so you can unwind and reset.         

Find the appropriate dating site 

If you have concerns about other people accessing your profile and putting yourself out there for strangers to access, there are several compatibility-based dating websites that can help. This type of website or app will use sophisticated algorithms to align you with only those profiles to which the algorithm matches you with – so only specific members will have access to your dating profile.   

  • Some examples of sites which cater to algorithmic-matched dating include eHarmony and Elite Singles. Even though these types of sites require payment to obtain full access, they typically provide a greater sense of security and peace of mind.  
  • Among the huge selection of online dating options out there, there are also various niche-based sites targeting those who share common interests such as, culture, certain professions, lifestyles or religion.   

Try to be specific  

One of the attractive incentives for using online dating allows you the chance to get to know a variety of people prior to meeting face to face.  You are in control of your choices, so use the platform wisely when you are building your dating profile. Be specific to ensure you’re connecting to the best possible matches.   

  • Make it clear what it is that you are trying to get out of online dating by letting people know your expectations. Determine which type of relationship you are looking for and make this known. Within your dating profile, highlight whether it’s a committed relationship or casual dating that is your preference and you’re not wasting time with the wrong people. 
  • Showcase your personality.  Consider not putting too much emphasis on being stuck with the idea that you are only interested in meeting people who live in your immediate vicinity.  Instead, try to emphasis things you are passionate about, so you match with people who are like-minded.   

Switching to another platform  

If you’ve been fortunate enough to have connected with someone online and you have a good feeling about the way the communication is heading in the initial stages, it might just be time to move the conversation to a different, more personal communication platform such as video chat or an instant messaging app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. 

If things are heading in the right direction with your new friend, switching things up a bit via other technologies is a sign of letting him or her know that you’re interested in progressing things a little further afar from the dating site where you first crossed paths. 

Naturally, from this point, exchanging phone numbers could be the next big step and hopefully making way to plan for your first real life date, in person, and away from the various communication platforms.  You’ll need to be realistic though, many first dates fall short of their anticipated expectations.    

Keep it casual & meet in public 

Choosing to meet someone face to face for the first time shouldn’t be taken lightly. Keep it short, casual and in a public place. With this approach, you’ll be able to remove yourself from the situation if things do not go to plan. Avoid long-winded dinners, movies or concerts etc. By keeping things short and sweet, such as a coffee date, you’ll be able to easily excuse yourself if you want to end the date.   

Final tips 

Keep your dating profile unique, and refrain from disclosing any personal information about you, your friends or family.  

Anyone will feel a level of anxiousness or fear of online dating. So set your expectations low, keep presenting the best version of you, take steps to boost your confidence with healthy life choices, and come to terms with how matching with someone who sparks mutual chemistry isn’t easy to find.  

But dreams do come true, never give up!