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It’s time to get real and admit first dates typically suck.

They’re full of awkward eye glances and “Dear God, please don’t kiss me” thoughts at the end of the night.

They’re usually with guys you can’t stand to listen to after a few minutes, the ones who don’t get the hint when you check your phone 20 times during the entree. Right: Maybe this is just me, but I love it when a guy is upfront with me about his past, especially if he believes it could be a deal-breaker.

But if you’re one of the lucky ones, sometimes you go on a date that is so magical even Nicholas Sparks couldn’t write a story about it. For me, I told my current boyfriend I had previously been married before we were halfway through our first date. Because if that was something that would ultimately bother him, then I didn’t want to waste his time or mine.

Rife with opportunities for awkward conversations and infinite unknown factors — – dating often is seen as overwhelmingly scary and decidedly unappealing.

This type of anxiety and shyness leads to avoidance of meeting new people, as well as a sense of isolation and hopelessness about the prospect of finding a suitable partner.

The DSM-5 defines social anxiety as the “persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something or act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing.” Those who are shy, if not socially anxious, tend to experience social situations in a more reserved, tense and uncomfortable manner, especially when meeting new people.

It may take longer to open up and share, which can affect one’s ability to form close relationships.

When you put your interest in another person and what he or she is all about first above your insecure thoughts about yourself, the nervousness melts away and you can truly “be yourself.” On the other hand, less than positive anticipation toward a date can indicate that your feelings for the person that you’re meeting are not that strong.

Crying and hyperventilating on a park bench for no reason apparent to anyone but you realllllly gets those dicks up!

One minute, you're having a great date at a free outdoor concert, and the next minute, your heart is pounding and you feel like you are trapped in a Ziploc bag. "Playing it cool" is straight-up not in your repertoire. There's gotta be a country where "sitting at a bar staring into space and inevitably sweat-staining the pits of your expensive Madewell top while your brain moves 100 miles an hour" is considered playing it cool. Anyone familiar with benzos (that's an #INSIDER'S term for anxiety-alleviating tranquilizers) knows that they don't mix well with alcohol. Worst case scenario, you black out and wake up at the Formica table at an Arbys in another state. And you're so worried about whether they'll like you that you barely pay any attention to whether you like them. Every time a guy doesn't text you back in the early stages of dating you assume the worst and immediately go into crisis mode.

Meeting other people is, of course, very difficult when you're anxious in social situations.

The following are ten different tips and strategies for dating and meeting people when you suffer from social anxiety.

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