Anyone who knows me well or has watched my Facebook through the years knows how I’ve never been a fan of the word “date” or the term “dating.” The guys who have asked me out only for me to respond with, “sure, we should hang out” know this all too well. I think it’s because the word date implies a certain level of commitment and expectation in my mind and honestly I don’t like that pressure, not with a guy I’m not really convinced about yet. If I have ever used the word “date” with you, consider yourself one of the few.
So I prefer to “hang out” with guys. Why? Because in my mind, I am just getting to know them and I don’t feel like I owe them anything. Maybe this is silly and maybe I over analyze a little too much but it has seriously stressed me out before. I think a big part of it revolves around the fact that I don’t want to lead anyone on, especially if I really don’t see a future with someone. I run from the word. It scares me. There have been times when I was okay with the word and that was when I thought I might actually see a future with that particular guy. So for me it’s a matter of using the word with people I like, not using it with those I don’t like or guys I am unsure about. I think we all know this deep down but are just afraid to admit it. This is why girls HATE it when a guy is taking them out but refuses to call it a date. It shows that the guy is unsure about what he wants. And there is no girl who wants to start falling for a guy only for him to say “but we’ve never even dated.” Girls desire a guy they respect and it’s hard to respect a guy when they don’t even know what they want.
There is a certain level of casualness when only hanging out, as opposed to dating. And I like that. But I will admit, if I started to like a guy, I would not appreciate just being his “hang out” buddy. I can however, to a certain extent, respect not being referred to as someone’s date, even though it can be viewed as a big slap in the face. I can’t use the word with someone I’m unsure about so I don’t think I’d really appreciate a guy using the word with me unless he was serious about me. I just can’t. I feel guilty. I feel like I’m leading someone on. I feel like I’m being deceptive. I feel like I’m wasting someone’s time. The truth is, I just don’t know about you and that’s okay. Maybe we should just get to know each other more, in a non-pressuring environment. The beauty with that is, chances are that if it doesn’t work out and we aren’t compatible we can still be friends and it not be awkward. There are ways to find love without breaking so many hearts.
There is a caveat to this and that is- I don’t think people view the word as seriously as I do and that has created this confusion and unintentional dating scene we see in today’s society, in my opinion. I think that is why one of my favorite authors, Eric Ludy, in his book when God writes your love story (co-authored with his wife, Leslie) stated the following:
“Personally, I don’t care for the word date. I think it diminishes the grandeur of a God-written love story into a common, everyday sort of thing. If you are stuck on using the word, I won’t fight you. But I prefer to think that God’s version of love and romance is miles above the culturally saturated ideas contained within that weak and ugly word. When two people enter into a relationship that is scripted from start to finish by the Author of love and relationships, they may prefer to view their relationship as something bigger, better, and more beautiful than dating. In short, if you can maintain the honor, the faithfulness of heart, the purity, and the selfless love of Christ at the center of your relationship, go ahead and date. However, if you are holding the pen in your proud hand and messing with a human heart for your selfish pleasure, my advice is, don’t date; instead, go to Jesus and ask Him to change you and change your method for building an intimate love relationship.”
Wow. It sometimes makes me sad to see what the dating culture has become. But I want to encourage you to strive for more. Below are three quick tips that have helped me stay focused on what I ultimately want and need.
- Communicate! Don’t allow a silly word to control you. If you are just looking for a friend, communicate that. If you are intentional about getting married, communicate that. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to ask for clarity. This is your life and it flies by- don’t waste it sitting around guessing what your relationship, or lack thereof, really is.
- Be realistic. While communicating is important, please don’t start discussing how bad you want to get married on the first “date.” Be intentional, but don’t put someone in a situation where they have to commit off the bat if they don’t even really know you yet.
- Trust your gut. As much as I hate to say it, it’s usually right. I know we always hope for the best and we pray for signs, but oftentimes we dismiss them because we just want to feel loved so much. If you are not feeling secure in whatever it is you are in, read tip one:p
So who wants to go on a date now?
-the virgin heartbreaker