Madame Noire recently got the chance to hear from Logan Ury, the Director of Relationship Science at Hinge, about why now more than ever people are experiencing “FODA.” For those not in the know, it’s an acronym that stands for a phenomenon known as the “fear of dating again.” Down below, the expert also shared tips on what you can do to confidently put yourself back out into the dating world in case you’ve been feeling on edge about it.
Giving some added context to our conversation, Ury highlighted that “dating has always been an anxiety-provoking experience because you’re putting yourself out there. There’s a fear of rejection, and you’re very vulnerable.” Moreover, she went onto mention that, “after a year of being in a pandemic and living with lockdown restrictions, a lot of people are feeling even more anxious than before about dating.”
Realistically, she’s right. Since the pandemic started many people have put their dating lives on hold altogether.
For those that chose to continue seeking romance, they’ve been navigating a different dating scene than the one pre-corona. Now more than ever, many of the romantic interactions being sought out are being conducted online and through dating apps as opposed to being in-person because of the pandemic’s restrictions.
Whether it’s been over a year since you’ve been in the dating game and you’re anxious about hopping back in, or you’re just generally feeling awkward about dating slowly veering back to being “IRL” now that restrictions are lessening and people are getting vaccinated, Ury explained she and the Hinge team have known for some time that people are having stress surrounding dating in the era we’re in now. According to her, that’s how the dating app ended up coining the term “FODA” to begin with.
For people who want to lessen their fears and feel comfortable in the dating world of today, she said that the first thing to do if you’re experiencing FODA “is to understand that it’s very normal and very common.”
“Whether you’re on a video date or an in-person date, one thing that you can do is just starting off by saying to the other person, ‘Hey, to be honest it’s been a while since I’ve done this. I haven’t been on a date in a while and I’m just putting myself back out there again,'” Ury explained candidly.
“The person is likely to say, ‘Oh! I’ve been experiencing the same thing and I was kind of nervous too.”
Noting the importance of making sure you and your date don’t get caught up in spending all of your time together talking about the pandemic, she also emphasized being honest and upfront from the beginning of the interaction “is a nice place where you can start the date from a point of connection, where suddenly neither one of you has to be afraid about telling the other person where they’re at currently. It’ll give you something in common, which is that ‘We’re both feeling a little nervous about getting back out there.'”
Another great tip Ury shared is that you should try your best not to become consumed by your anxieties, especially when you’re on the date itself. Remaining present during your romantic interaction — whether virtual or in real life — and listening to what the other person is saying so that you can make good conversation with them are both things you can do to feel more confident as you start dating again.
“So often when we’re nervous we get stuck in our own head and we’re thinking, ‘Do they like me? I’m I good enough for them? I do like them?'” Ury empathized.
“That’s all very internally focused. If you can actually change your focus onto being more external, and instead say in your head ‘I want to get to know them,’ and ‘I’m going to ask them questions,’ it’ll take some of that pressure off of you.”
“If you focus on being interested versus interesting, you’re much more likely to have fun on the date,” she later encouraged.
“It’s also more likely that the other person will like you because they’re going to think you’re a great conversationalist who asks really great questions.” As a last tidbit of knowledge, she emphasized that “being interested in the other person isn’t just a way to be polite and learn more about somebody. It actually helps limit your nerves in the long run because you’re not so focused on what’s happening inside your head over how you’re performing on the date.”
When it’s all boiled down, “FODA” doesn’t have to stop you from getting back onto the dating scene. Whether you’re on a video date or out on a date in person, being honest, getting out of your own head, and actively listening are all important ways you can reclaim your confidence as you put yourself out there. Good luck!