10 Tips for Singles Who Are Nervous About Dating

If you’re single and nervous about dating (or you hate dating), you’ll find at least one way to enjoy “date night” in these tips! They’re from psychologist and author Paulette Kouffman Sherman, PhD.

“My boyfriend used to ask his mother, ‘How can I find the right woman for me?’ and she would answer, ‘Don’t worry about finding the right woman- concentrate on becoming the right man.'”

I don’t know who said this, but it’s a great dating tip for women, too! Make it your goal to become the woman you admire, trust, and respect…and you’ll attract a good man. If you don’t have anyone to date yet, read How to Find a Good Man for You – Blossom.

For more tips on being single and dating, read Dr Sherman’s Dating from the Inside Out: How to Use the Law of Attraction in Matters of the Heart.

And, here are her tips for singles who are nervous about dating, with a special emphasis on the law of attraction.

10 Ways to Enjoy Dating When You’re Single and Nervous

1. Be deliberate when you “dig for gold.” One of the best ways to enjoy dating – and life in general – is to look for something good in all your dates.  That’s what “digging for gold” is about! You don’t have to marry him, but it’d be good to stay positive! We often judge our date from the first minute: ‘Is he tall enough?  Is he husband material?’  Notice when you do this, take a deep breath and allow yourself to look for something good so you both enjoy your time together even more.

2. Be positive about love. Challenge your negative beliefs about being single and dating. Take a piece of paper and write down every limiting thought that you have about dating and the opposite sex (for example, “I’ll never fall in love or find the right person.”). Then find an exception to it (“Singles meet and fall in love with the right people all the time!”).  Negative beliefs hold you back from letting love in, which will stop you from achieving your relationship goals.  Here’s another example:

  • (limiting belief)  ‘Meeting ‘the One’ should happen naturally.’
  • (challenge)  ‘I have to work at school, finding a good career, etc, – and also at finding a mate!’

3. Be kind to yourself. Dating often makes us feel miserable because we judge ourselves the whole time.  You can hardly hear the other person because your mind chatter says, ‘If only I was thinner, I’d feel ready to date’ or ‘How can he like me if I don’t know a lot about politics?’ Remind yourself why you are a good catch! Everyone has things to improve on … but there are so many wonderful things about you. If you’re single and nervous about dating, concentrate on your strengths. It’ll help you stay present and positive.

If you struggle to make small talk, read 10 Interesting Things to Talk About With Your Girlfriend.

4.  Temporarily suspend your expectations. To enjoy date night, let your relationship evolve naturally. Don’t rush things. Do you drive yourself crazy when he doesn’t call the next day?  Do you try to control every aspect of what he’ll do instead of just letting the relationship unfold?  Instead, keep busy with your own life and let things happen naturally over time.

5. Have a great dating context. Most people consider dating a necessary misery.  If expectations create outcomes, why not expect to have fun?  Create a dating context that will serve you no matter what happens.  For example, ‘I will learn something valuable from every person I meet.’  Then make it your business to do so. Also, read 7 Ways to Avoid Dating Disasters — because planning a great date will set up you for a successful dating context!

6. Cast your net wide and try new things. To enjoy the dating scene, date outside your comfort zone and be willing to give different people a chance.  Dating requires some adventure.  Perhaps you have gone to clubs but you have never tried speed dating or online dating?  Think ‘outside the box’ and be willing to try at least five new approaches in dating.

7. Be willing to learn how to be a great date! Think of the world as one large classroom where you can learn and grow. Focus on how each date can teach you something new about yourself and dating. Often people think that dating is a waste of time if they don’t meet ‘Mr. or Mrs. Right’ right away – but it could be time well spent.

8. Share what you love. One of the hardest things about being single is sharing who you are – that in itself makes people nervous. So, practice revealing who you are.  We’re all at our best when discussing things we love, whether it is our jobs, volunteer work, travel, etc.  Let yourself be known and the right mate will stick around!

9. Be interested in your date. Don’t assume you can tell who someone is from their appearance.  If you look for what lights someone up, you will leave them feeling great and you will enjoy your time more, too. Read 10 First Date Conversation Starters for tips on making conversation with someone new. Being genuinely interested in your date will help you be less nervous because you’ll forget yourself.

10.  Take action. Walk your talk when it comes to love!  So many singles think they can just sit around in their pajamas and the right person will find them.  If you want to meet a great date, then you need to go out!   Make a choice to go to social functions, classes, etc at least twice a week.

If you’re recently divorced, read Dating After Divorce – 3 Things You Need to Know.

Still nervous about dating? Share how you feel in the comments section below. I can’t offer advice, but you might find that writing about it is helpful.

For more information about Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman, go to My Dating School.


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7 thoughts on “10 Tips for Singles Who Are Nervous About Dating”

  1. Dear Cam,

    Thank you for being here, and for having the courage to share part of your life on my blog! It sounds like you struggle with maybe wanting to be in a relationship, and not wanting to cope with the stress that accompanies being part of a couple.

    I wrote an article with you in mind. It won’t solve your problem, but it may help you to know you’re not alone. Anxiety affects so many of us, and gets in the way of having healthy relationships.


    Have you talked to a counselor or doctor about how to deal with the anxiety that comes with dating?


  2. One of my problems is that I always feel trapped in a relationship. Most of the time I like to hang out by myself, I’m not a social person, so I don’t really feel like hanging out with others or going somewhere. But I’m obligated to if I’m dating. This causes me to start seeing more bad than good and start immediately feeling like I don’t like them as much as I thought. Then I feel trapped and stress out and want to end it. I’m shy, don’t have much dating experience, and have an anxiety disorder which I do take medicine for. I just don’t know how to have a relationship without stressing myself out. What can I do? I’m starting to wonder if I’m able to fall in love at all.

  3. Great question, Catherine! I thought Paulette’s response was excellent, but had to had my two cents :-)

    As a writer, I have to constantly deal with rejection. So I wrote this article for you – it describes how I overcome my fear of rejection. It applies to dating, too!

    Too Shy to Date? How to Overcome Fear of Rejection in Love

    It’s also important to remember that you’re not the only one who is single and nervous about dating. Guys are, too. They have the same fears of rejection that you do. Perhaps they’re even MORE nervous than you, because they’re generally the ones who are doing the asking and calling.

    Anyway, I hope the article helps and welcome your comments here or there.


  4. Catherine,

    It’s really hard when the person we really like is taken but you deserve someone who is fully emotionally and physically available. I’m glad to hear that you’re only 21 because you have plenty of time to date and practice gaining confidence with the opposite sex. They are just people, like you, and through the process of dating more you will learn what you like and don’t like in a romantic partner. You will also learn to express and reveal yourself in a relationship, which takes practice. In terms of your shyness, make a list of all the great things there are about you and remember that any guy will be lucky to get to know you. Its important you remember that so you will be brave in reaching out. You may get some rejection in the process (like everyone does) but don’t reject yourself as a result. Remember that the right guy will stick around!

    Good luck. Dating isn’t easy but it can be a huge growth process.

    My Best,


  5. I am at an emotional loss at the moment. I fell into the ‘friends box’ as it is quoted above, because the man I like is in a relationship. Since I don’t want to be the ‘third person’ I’ve accepted the fact stoically.

    I admit that I am a bit (too much) shy when it comes into getting to know people. You could say that I’m also afraid of a possible rejection. What should a woman like me do? How will I get over my bashfullness and get on with my life? I mean I’m only 21 years old, I can’t be stuck with a man that doesn’t return my feelings for all eternity, can I?

    P.S: Please pardon me if I made any mistakes. I’m not a native english speaker.

  6. It stinks when we have a hunch and really like someone and it doesn’t pan out. It’s normal to feel disappointment. It’s important to remember that dating is a number’s game, no is just a word (so do not reject yourself in the process) and it usually takes some no’s to get to a yes (and it only takes one!).

    Circumstantial subjective situations (including timing, chemistry and prior attachments) do not mean that you are not a great person and a terrific catch for someone else, so keep on trying.

    Having said this, as a psychologist, if someone has a long-standing relationship pattern of picking unavailable partners it can bear looking into. I do not know you so I can’t say it applies here. My book would help such a person understand why they are picking unavailable prospects instead of the people who really like them and want a committment. The emotional work would involve understanding their relationship blueprint (an exercise in my book). It would also look into whether they really want a committed relationship or have some fear around successfully creating one. Unless we understand and unblock old resistances, we can’t create something new.

    Practically speaking, I’d advise them to look in places where they know prospects ARE available–ie singles events, dating sites or via introductions from friends who know their relationship status. This makes them warm leads because at least you know they too are looking to meet someone. Someone who is interested in you and available for a real relationship will consistently make the time, will give signals that they are romantically inclined and will not be in a serious relationship with someone else while dating you.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for the comment.


  7. What if we keep getting “leads” but never can convert them into leads i.e. the persons are already in relationships, only see us as a friend, are busy etc. etc. ?

    What if we fall into the friends box ?