First Date Ideas for People With Social Anxiety

Choose your first date location wisely.
First dates can be nerve-wracking. Getty / Getty Images News / Chris Hondros

First date anxiety can be difficult. If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and have managed to meet someone that you feel comfortable going on a date with—congratulations! You have already taken a huge step in the right direction.

Chances are that you have already received treatment that has enabled you to move forward in other areas of your life. If, on the other hand, you are someone who is still suffering in silence without a diagnosis or treatment—now is the time to reach out for help.

Choose an Activity-Based Date

The typical first date consisting of dinner and a movie can be anxiety-provoking for people who suffer from SAD. Dinner dates strike at many of the common fears of the person with SAD—making eye contact, keeping a conversation going, and eating in front of someone else.

Instead, go easy on yourself and plan a first date that is activity-based. Activities keep both you and your date busy, give you something to talk about, and bring you closer together.

Make Smart Restaurant Choices

If dinner must be part of the date, consider going to an offbeat restaurant or other establishment that will keep you entertained such as make-your-own pizza or Medieval Times.

Set a Timeline

Decide on a distinct start and end time for the date to further allay your anxiety.

Keep Conversation Going

Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself if there are lulls in the conversation – they are to be expected.

Instead of beating yourself up, take the opportunity to ask a question about a topic you know the other person is interested in.

Alternatively, before the date, do some reading and have in mind interesting facts or current events. Having these topics on hand helps to alleviate anxiety during awkward moments.

Have a Plan to Tackle Anxiety

Most importantly, if anxiety does get the better of you, excuse yourself and head to a quiet spot such as the restroom for a few minutes to regroup.

Here are some great first date ideas to get you started:

  • cook a meal together
  • attend a sporting event
  • go to the planetarium
  • volunteer together
  • go to the driving range
  • race go-carts
  • go ice skating
  • attend a play
  • go bowling
  • visit a psychic (just for fun!)
  • attend a poetry reading
  • visit a winery (go easy on the wine!)
  • walk a dog at the local shelter
  • go to a festival or carnival
  • go to the zoo or aquarium
  • attend an outdoor concert
  • visit a botanical garden
  • attend a comedy show
  • tour a historical site

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