Ask Therapist Tharshiga: A 24-Year-Old Tamil Woman's Journey to Dating, Anxiety, and Parental Expectations
I have tons of friends but have never gone on a date and I'm not quite sure I know how to.I have a lot of anxiety when I think about the whole thing..
Tharshiga Elankeeran
Healthcare Professional
Brampton, Canada
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Ask Therapist Tharshiga is TC's monthly column, sponsored by, where registered psychotherapist and founder of MindfulWe, Tharshiga Elankeeran, answers your love, life and relationship questions to foster healthy minds and lives in our community.

Have a question? Submit it here!

A reader asks:

I'm a 24-year-old Tamil girl from Toronto working full-time and living at home with my parents. I have tons of friends but have never gone on a date and I'm not quite sure I know how to. I have a lot of anxiety when I think about the whole thing, but my parents want me to find someone and think about settling down. What should I do?

Thank you for asking this question, which undoubtedly resonates with many. Personally, I remember the sudden expectation from my parents for me to enter the realm of companionship and seek a life partner after completing my education and transitioning into full-time employment. Interestingly, this subject had never been discussed before; in fact, it was quite the opposite, with earlier instructions urging me not to engage in conversations with boys. Unfortunately, it seems that this unspoken expectation endures in our culture for various reasons.

Navigating this expectation can be challenging, and I empathize with the feelings of anxiety, particularly for those who are new to the realm of dating. It's crucial to acknowledge that there is no need to hurry or succumb to external pressure if you are not ready. Take the time to understand yourself and discern your desires in a partner.

Approach dating as an enriching experience, and I encourage everyone to embark on this journey from a place of self-fulfillment, without relying on someone else to complete them. When your own cup is full, compassion naturally overflows onto others. Loving yourself also enables a clearer perception of your desires and needs, facilitating a non-judgmental assessment of potential partners.

Consider dating multiple people, not simultaneously, but sequentially, as each relationship can illuminate aspects that help you flourish or identify what does and does not contribute to your growth. Reflect on your criteria for a partner, as self-awareness guides decisions in meeting new people.

For those venturing into dating, commence with small steps such as joining social activities or online communities, creating a low-pressure environment to meet new individuals. Expand your social circle through events, clubs, or groups aligned with your interests. Participate in activities you enjoy, fostering connections in a relaxed setting to alleviate dating-related anxiety.

Explore online dating platforms if they align with your comfort level, offering a less daunting way to initiate conversations from the sanctuary of your home.

Inform your friends of your openness to meeting new people and going on dates. Their introductions may alleviate the pressure of meeting a stranger.

Engage in open communication with your parents, expressing your feelings and concerns about dating. Acknowledge their support while emphasizing the need to proceed at your own pace.

If the prospect of dating becomes really overwhelming, seek support from trusted friends, family, or mental health professionals. Conversing with someone you trust can alleviate anxiety.

Keep in mind, there is no set formula for dating, and placing a priority on your well-being during this journey is crucial. Advance at your own pace, trusting yourself to make choices that align with your comfort and happiness. 

Tharshiga Elankeeran
Healthcare Professional
Brampton,  Canada
I embody a tapestry of identities, each woven with threads of significance. Daughter, m...
I embody a tapestry of identities, each woven with threads of significance. Daughter, m...
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