In our Love App-tually series, Mashable shines a light into the foggy world of online dating. For the perpetually anxious, online dating embodies so much of what makes the internet both a blessing and a curse. Avoidance — coupled with a desire for more control over situations — is a bedrock of anxiety, particularly those who struggle with it in social contexts like dating. When those struggles get ported into the world of virtual courtship, the results are a surprising contradiction of pros and cons that can be difficult but ultimately rewarding when navigated properly. Again and again, research shows evidence of anxious folks being mega users of dating apps. Now, we can't say whether that's because apps are particularly attractive to anxious daters, or because using dating apps is simply making more people anxious.
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Dating apps are hugely popular ways to meet people, but for people with social anxiety, they may prove to be both a bonus and a problem. But experts tell Bustle that if you have social anxiety, using a dating app can be helpful because it takes the pressure off in-person meetings — at least initially. If you have social anxiety and are considering online dating, the results may be challenging — but that, in the end, may also help you grow. Social anxiety disorder, according to the American Psychological Association, involves anxiety around "being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or looked down on in social interactions", and dating and meeting new people are serious triggers for anxieties even in non-anxious people.
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Remember she is more than her symptoms. But be sensitive to the fact that her heart rate may go sky-high over things that to you seem small fry in the worry-stakes. She may get light-headed and even frequently faint. This is not her swooning over you.
If you live with dating anxiety, you may have trouble knowing how and where to meet people. Traditional spots for meeting partners such as bars or the local supermarket require you to strike up a conversation—a task that can be difficult if you have severe anxiety. If you live with social anxiety disorder SAD or are simply chronically shy, chances are that these situations will not showcase your best qualities. Fortunately, there are many ways to meet people that do not require you to display wit or charm on cue.