First dates can be anxiety-inducing for anybody, but they can be particularly difficult if you struggle with anxiety on a regular basis. Spending time with someone you don’t know well, keeping up a conversation, making a good impression—it can all feel overwhelming. But dating gives you a chance to make friends, try new things, and maybe even find romance, all of which are great for your mental and emotional health. So before you decide to stay in with a movie and a tub of ice cream, give one of these low-stress date ideas a try.
Having others around to share the talking can help you relax and enjoy yourself, rather than spending the entire evening trying to avoid the dreaded “awkward silence.”
Skip Dinner and Catch the Show
Dinner and a movie may have the advantage of being tried-and-true, but making small talk, deciding on what to order, and eating in front of someone else can all amp up your anxiety. Plan to see the show, and if you feel like grabbing dessert afterwards, the movie provides a built-in conversation starter.
Focusing on something besides your partner while on a date might seem counterintuitive, but keeping busy can actually help both of you to open up, talk naturally, and maybe even have a few laughs. Plus it’s a great opportunity to help others and find out what causes your date is passionate about.
If you’re looking for an evening in, a game night can be a fun and simple way for the two of you to get to know each other in a fun, low-pressure environment.
Attend an Interesting Event or Location
Festivals, plays, art museums, zoos—they all provide an interesting backdrop to your date. If it’s a new experience for both of you, so much the better. The two of you can share something new together and use the novel experience to jumpstart the conversation if it starts to flag.
While first dates aren’t easy for people with anxiety, choosing a low-stress activity can make it more likely that you’ll enjoy them. If your anxiety makes dating or relationships challenging, consider talking to one of our counselors or therapists about your anxiety struggles. They can help you learn how to manage your anxiety so you can get to know others in fulfilling ways.