Dating Anxiety: Where to Meet People

Meet potential dating partners at the gym.
The gym can be a good place to meet potential dates. Getty / Blend Images / JGI/Jamie Grill

People who are chronically shy or who suffer from extreme social anxiety often have problems developing romantic relationships.

Part of the problem is that traditional methods for meeting potential partners such as going to singles bars or the frozen food section at the local supermarket require snappy and clever one-liners.

If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD), or simply count yourself among the chronically shy, chances are that you will find yourself tongue-tied in these situations.

Fortunately, there are many avenues for meeting people that do not require the wit of Jay Leno or the charm of George Clooney. Below are some better ways for those suffering from social anxiety to meet potential romantic partners.

Through Friends or Family

A great way to get on the dating circuit is to let family and friends know that you are looking. The main advantage of going this route is that those closest to you probably have a good sense of who you might be compatible with.

Also, going on a date can be a little less scary if the person has already gotten the seal of approval from someone that you trust. Best of all -- no cheesy pick-up lines required. Often your friend or family member can arrange a blind date, or you might even be able to double-date to make the first encounter that much easier.

Community Groups

Don’t overlook groups that you already belong to such as your church or neighborhood association.

If in the past you have not been very active in attending events organized by local groups, try helping to organize the next event.

You will find that by working alongside others in the group you will gain a sense of familiarity with people and find yourself more at ease exploring romantic possibilities.

Service Organizations/Volunteering

One of the best ways to meet potential romantic partners is to join a service organization or spend time volunteering. Choose an organization with a cause that you believe in, such as protecting the environment or animal rights, and you will meet like-minded people.

Working together in a group creates a sense of camaraderie that makes it easier to get to know people on a personal level.

Educational Settings

Whether you are in college or university, or just taking adult education class, meeting people in a classroom setting has many advantages. Classes usually last for several months, giving you enough time to get to know people.

Difficult assignments or upcoming exams give you an excuse to get together for study sessions or to compare notes. Best of all, being in the same class gives you an automatic topic for conversation -- what do you think of the teacher, are you enjoying the class? Having common ground is much easier than starting from scratch.


Don’t be too quick to discount using online dating services or personal ads. The advantage of these services for someone with SAD is that the hard part of meeting people -- approaching strangers -- is taken right out of the equation.

People who place personal ads online or in the newspaper are usually serious about finding romantic partners. Best of all, you have the chance to carefully put together a personal description that reflects who you really are -- something that probably is not going to come through during a quick encounter.


Even if you have never played sports in your life, they can be a great avenue for meeting people. Joining a beginner sports league such as baseball or volleyball gives you the chance to learn a new skill while also building new relationships.

In addition, watching how others handle themselves during a game -- whether they show good sportsmanship and offer help and advice to newcomers to the sport -- can tell you a lot about how they would conduct themselves in a romantic relationship.

Hobbies and Clubs

If you don’t already have a hobby, think about what interests you. Perhaps you always wanted to join a book club or gardening group.

By participating in a hobby that has opportunities for social gatherings, you will open up the chances of meeting like-minded people. Best of all, if your hobby is a passion, you will find it easier to strike up conversations with people that you meet who share your passion.

Specialty Stores

Browsing in a specialty store gives you the opportunity to meet people with similar interests. Take notice of the books that strangers are looking at or the music that they pick up.

If you see an opportunity to comment on an item that you like -- take it. Talking with someone about something that you are passionate about is easier than pulling conversation topics out of thin air.

Get Help And Get Out There!

People who are simply shy or nervous about dating usually still push themselves to go on dates and form romantic relationships. On the other hand, people who suffer with SAD may avoid romantic pursuits altogether.

Unfortunately, if this behavior is allowed to continue over a long period of time, the chance of meeting someone and having a satisfying romantic relationship is greatly reduced.

What is the best cure for this problem? Proper diagnosis and treatment including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or medication can help you to overcome the symptoms of SAD.

Take the first step toward getting help and you will become more open to meeting new people and excited about the romantic prospects that await you.

Continue Reading