Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why Aren't People Dating???

Why Aren’t People Dating???

I’m sure it has become obvious by my past blog posts that I am kind of opinionated about dating.  And this post will not be an exception  :)

One of the things I have noticed (at least in Colorado, not sure about Utah yet) is that the majority of people aren’t dating.  And I don’t just mean there are a lot of girls who weren’t being asked out (even though that is a HUGE problem, but more on that later) but the majority of guys I knew weren’t going on a date for sometimes months at a time.  This was becoming a widespread phenomenon, I saw it across the Denver metro area.  It became enough of a concern to me, that I asked our branch president if I could give a lesson in Elders Quorum about dating.  I figure if he wasn’t going to make me EQP, then I could at least teach  ;)  

I started asking people as much as I could, trying to figure out what the problem was.  Here is what I found.  And of course, I’ll give my advice on how to change it  :)

And let me clarify upfront, girls are just as much at fault with this as the guys are.

“They read too much into a first date”

This is probably the number one reason I have heard from guys why they aren’t asking more girls on dates.  They worry that if they ask someone out casually, the girl will fall madly in love with them and assume they are now in a committed relationship and just days away from a proposal.

Is this true?  Yes and No.  We should all be dating, frequently.  But there are a lot of girls I know, attractive, smart, spiritual women, who have not been asked out on a date for over a year.  When that happens, if a guy asks you out, it is only natural to be excited (not saying you wouldn’t be excited about any date with someone you are interested in).  Most girls I know are more than aware the this is just a first date.  Only on rare occurrences (with very unique people) do they ever take it to the extreme.  

Solution?  Go on more dates!  In my opinion, if you are an able bodied male, you should be going on at least two dates a month, minimum!  Honestly, I think you should be going on a date a week, but let’s start with two a month.  If girls were getting asked out more frequently, then it would be even easier for us to learn that a first date is just that, a first date.  First dates should not be a big deal.  It’s a chance to see if you have a spark with someone.  The real test is if a second date happens.  And if it doesn’t, that’s fine!

If you are really worried she will take it too seriously, make it a double or a group date.  Keep it casual.  If she knows you date frequently, she is less likely to read too much into it.  Maybe you will find out you have a spark that you didn’t expect.  And if not, hopefully you have made a new friend.

My dear friend Steve Hodson is the master at first dates.  He is able to date frequently, while still making the date fun, not leading you on, but making you feel incredibly special.  Seriously guys, you all need to take notes from him.  In fact, I asked him to write a little something  :)

Let’s impart on the wise words of the elders in my family: Mommy and Daddy Hodson. They remember back in the day, when Abraham was dating Sarah, that when a couple was officially a “boyfriend/girlfriend” combination, they were labeled as “going together.” And for a couple to hit the “going together” status, they had to date to do so. So chew on this for a moment…chew…keep chewing…swallow…digest…ok I’ll stop there.

Somehow, as we have passed through the generations, the idea of dating has been a little skewed. “Dating” has turned into a word that implies a lot of commitment, the planning of your future children’s names, and how many pickets you want on your white fence in front of your little cottage in the woods. I can understand why “dating” has turned into this, because usually, people date before they get married. Odd, right? Dating believe it or not, can be a good tool to help you to make a new friend.

Usually, when you meet a girl or guy for the first time, it is at some social event, where the bass is thumping and the chips and bean dip flow like water. Odds are that there is more than one person who wants to talk to you and the girl or guy that you met at said shindig. To get to know a person better, take it away from the party, and go on a date some other time, when you can have their full attention, and they can have yours. But fear not! This is no promise ring! You can go into the date, for the purpose of making a new friend!

I have noticed more times than not, when I try to be Dr. Romance on a date, I crash and burn. I’m not myself, and my date goes to the door feeling awkward and just wanting the misery to end! But when I do the opposite, when I’m myself, and when I truly just want to make a new friend, the date goes so much smoother. Do something that, if it doesn’t work out, won’t cause your wallet to be crying because of a failed date. Make it cheap and joyful. Then if there is no real romantic spark, then crap! You just made a new friend that you had fun with! Gah! Having friends is so terrible right?! Wait! This just in: having friends is actually totally awesome.

I understand that dating is how we are supposed to find our other half, but answer me this one thing. Isn’t your other half, supposed to be one of your dearest friends? So go out and make some friends that you can have for the rest of your life. There are no hurt feelings in the end if BOTH people go into a date with that mind set. If it goes somewhere further, then that is glorious. If not, then you just made another connection with a wonderful person.

In the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, there is a line that says, “Even a tailor is entitled to a little bit of happiness.” I believe the same for everyone! Everyone is entitled to a piece of the happiness pie. You could change a life by asking a girl on a date who hasn’t been on one for a while, or make a day brighter by saying yes to a guy who is scared out of his mind to ask a girl on a date. Help someone enjoy themselves, and find some happiness in life.
Merry dating everyone! I hope that one day, you can “go together” and find a best friend in the process.

Awww, isn’t he just great??  And before you ask why he and I aren’t dating, it’s because we both realized that our amazing friendship is as far as it will go.  But he is definitely the standard I hold other guys up to.  Anyway, moving on...

“If I date too much, I will get the reputation as a player”

Most guys I tell to date more, come back with this response.

Is this true?  No, but only if you realize a simple fact.  You will only get the reputation of a player if you kiss all of the girls you date!  

Solution?  Keep the kisses for the girls you are exclusive with (and have had a DTR with).  You’ll be just fine if you aren’t a lip whore with everyone in town  :)  Oh and the same goes for “cuddle whores”.  Yes, cuddling is really fun, but there isn’t any reason to do it with everyone, especially someone you aren’t interested in pursuing.  It’s a clear way to lead someone on and give mixed signals.

“I won’t date girls in my ward because if it doesn’t work out, it is too awkward”

Is it true?  Sometimes.  This goes back to the whole “it’s just a date” mentality we should all have.  If you go out with someone once and the spark isn’t there, this shouldn’t be a big deal.  But this goes for guys and girls.  Guys, if you aren’t interested in going out with her again, there is no reason to avoid any place she will be, or pretend she doesn’t exist.  Ladies, if you are interested, don’t be a “leg humper”.  If you haven’t heard from him since your date, remember to let him pursue you!  Don’t be texting or calling him, or showing up at places you think he might be just to “run into each other”.  Have self respect and know that you are worth being pursued.  I also highly recommend reading “He’s Just Not That Into You”, this will give you a ton of insight into dating.

Guys - you can also be the problem.  If you have been on more than two dates with someone and have decided you just want to be friends, tell her!  It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, it can even be over text (some girls might disagree, but in my opinion if there wasn’t a commitment, there is no reason that a face to face is a requirement).  If you pull the disappearing and avoiding act, that makes everything awkward, not to mention makes us feel like crap.  But most of all, it shows other girls that you aren’t man enough to just clear the air.

“Dating that much gets too expensive”

I can see where this would be true.  Most standard first dates are dinner followed by some sort of activity etc.  If you do this every week, it starts to add up.

The solution?  Dates don’t have to be expensive, or even cost anything at all!  Most girls prefer a creative date (that doesn’t have to cost more than $5!) than a fancy dinner out.  Knowing that you put time and energy planning something scores huge points with us.  Over the past few years, I have compiled a list of over 300 fun, inexpensive date ideas.  I’ll post it on my blog later this week.

Side note.  Some people expect a “marathon” first date.  There is no reason your date has to last for hours and include multiple activities.  A simple dinner is a good way to see if there is mutual interest to go out a second time.  But also remember that “hanging out” is not a date!

“I’ve been turned down too many times”

This is something that annoys me.  Ladies, unless you feel like he could possibly cause you physical harm, you should not be turning down a first date, period.  It takes a lot of courage to approach someone and ask them on a date.  I don’t care if you aren’t interested in them, you should say yes.  It’s the same thing I tell the guys, you never know who you are going to have a connection with unless you give them a chance!  And if there isn’t a spark, hopefully you have made a new friend.  

So get out there and get dating!  Guys, you are awesome and are doing a disservice to all these women by not giving them a chance to get to know you better.  Love ya  :)

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