Photo credit: Sabrina’s Stash
By Juliet O
All daters have fears. By dating, we make ourselves vulnerable to being hurt in many ways that are precluded by choosing to remain single. As daters, we tend to hold onto our fears, much to our own detriment. Fears hold us back and hinder us from opening ourselves up to love and fulfillment. Part of the battle of dating is in eliminating your fears — of intimacy, of vulnerability, of emotional honesty, of betrayal, of rejection, of ourselves — so that you can open yourself to the possibility of love. It’s not always easy.
Online dating presents a unique set of fears and challenges. While it may seem difficult, these fears need to be overcome if you want to date online successfully. We want to guide you through these online dating fears and give you tips on how to overcome them, because we want online dating to be a great experience for you. And why shouldn’t it be a positive experience? By online dating, you have an automatic dating pool of singles all using Zoosk for the same purpose: to hopefully find romance and connection. But how can you find romance or connection if you’re still holding onto all that fear and baggage? If you still hold onto fears or reservations regarding online dating, read this post for helpful tips on overcoming your trepidation, in order to engage with the online medium openly and fortuitously.
Fear 1: Fear of the telephone.
It’s not always easy jumping into uncharted waters and talking on the telephone. For some, the telephone is viewed with a disproportionate amount of anxiety. Most of the anxiety stems from a fear of not having anything to talk about (which can be awkward indeed). But the phone isn’t as scary as it looks or seems. In August, we published a tutorial on how to be a smooth operator on the phone. We discussed some of the basic rules of phone conversation, and we even offered some wisdom on why the phone is an important first step in online dating. Another part of the fear re: phone calls is an absence of things to discuss, of awkward pauses and momentary glitches in the flow of conversation. Fear not: here are some conversation ideas. There is no shame in writing down topics in advance to make phone conversation smoother. Honestly. The only shame is in being so scared of the phone that you don’t even make it past the online stage to a real life meeting.
Fear 2: Fear of getting close.
We all have a fear of getting close to people, but we must overcome that fear if we want to find love. As we wrote previously, “our earnestness reflects our ability to open ourselves up in relationships and put ourselves out there — even if it means revealing our vulnerabilities.” A good way of overcoming this fear is to simply look at the alternative. Being hurt is painful, but there is also pain in prolonged solitude. What’s worse? The pain of heartbreak, which dulls over time, or the pain of solitude, which only grows as time goes on? In the end, love is worth the struggle, so swallow your fears and take the leap. Even if you fall, you’ll get back on your feet.
Fear 3: Fear of other people.
Other people can be really, really scary. The scariest aspect of other people is not knowing if your idea of who they are coheres with the actual truth of who they are. You might think someone likes you, for instance, but how do you know they actually do? We fear other people most when we have an unstable view of ourselves. We fear people because we fear that they have the ability to affect us, that their being in our lives somehow affects how we view our lives. What we must realize is that no matter what happens to us, we are still fundamentally who we are. No one can remove or take that.
Fear 4: Fear of failure.
We all fear failure, not just in our relationships, but in everything. But things that are high risk are sometimes associated with the highest rewards. Love is one of those things. By letting your fear of failure hold you back, you are also denying yourself the rewards of love. That doesn’t sound like a great trade-off. Unfortunately, people do fail in love — it’s a fact of dating. But people also succeed and win big all the time. Look at how many weddings are held each day, or how many people connect with one another each day to establish rewarding, substantial relationships. It’s a total game of chance, and sometimes, playing it safe has the biggest risk of all: the risk that, in the end, you’ll miss out on love completely.
Fear 5: Fear of real life.
Real life is definitely a scary place. When you’re dating online, you are shielded from the distractions and pressures of dating in real life. The thing is, all online relationships go to the real life stage at some point, if they are to be considered successful. And if you’re so scared of real life that you don’t ever take your romance out of the virtual realm, then you miss out on the possibility of growing your online relationship into something real and lasting. How do you overcome this fear of ‘IRL’ (in real life)? Get to know someone that you meet pretty well online first, taking it slow, before heading out to meet them in real life. That way, if you feel like you already know them, you can be confident that this person won’t surprise you in a negative way. One of the first rules of online dating is to take things slow, after all. Make yourself comfortable first, before heading to real life — no shame in overcoming fear slowly.
We hope these tips have been helpful. If you like these and other Zoosk online dating tips, remember to vote for Zoosk in Mashable’s 2009 OpenWeb Awards as best overall Facebook App! We love our fans and we’d love to see you love us back. Afterall, we’re both in the business of love!