If you’ve been roughing through this strange time on your own, you may feel a little bewildered talking to anyone, let alone potential dates. Even the most confident people around are experiencing higher levels of depression and anxiety. This is no reason to lose your confidence.
As restrictions come down, a lot of us are wandering into the nicer weather and looking to mingle. You can start to make yourself comfortable again (or for the first time!) by having patience and trying out some techniques.
- Be friendly, in a casual way, to people you don’t know.
Smile at older people in a park, ask about a product someone is buying on line at the store. Keep in mind that not everyone will want to talk to you. That is part of the point- with this exercise you will be forced to handle a little rejection.
Having a conversation is a skill set, and you can get rusty at it. As you jump back into dealing with people, you will learn to anticipate when you should pause and listen and how to gauge reactions to what you are saying. This will lead you to feeling more sure of yourself and less lost in a one-to-one exchange.
As for anyone who won’t engage with you, don’t lose perspective. You know that you’ve never met them before and nothing in your future hinges on their liking you.
- Be open to people around you who want to do the same!
A lot of the time we can be distracted out on the move. This is especially true after quarantine, when even the normal traffic can be disorienting and take getting used to. Let yourself pass the time with people who want to interact, and learn what that looks like.
Is the butcher going on about cutlets because it is really essential to your purchase? Is the woman next to you commenting on your shoes because she is really interested? Maybe they just like your energy and want to have an innocent conversation with a stranger. You don’t have to jump to any assumptions, you can just be open to that and enjoy it too.
- Use your friends and family as resources
If you haven’t been able to visit often, use this time to see the people in your life that already know and like you. Even talking with someone you grew up with is a good way to get used to hearing your own voice, seeing where you are at emotionally and caring for the thoughts of others. And if you’ve been in touch, but mostly on video calls, try to meet up in person. This is a good way to remember what it’s like to be a dinner guest or to meet up for a coffee.
You will get used to the hustle of everyday life again and all the interaction that comes with it. If you are feeling less than sure, put some time in now and get yourself ready for being out in the world again.