Remember the good old days of passing a note across the aisle when the teacher wasn’t looking? A simple note with a simple yes or no question and the ease of a built in response option:
Will you go out with me? Circle YES or NO
It’s so funny to think of the simplicity of elementary schoolers. No need to think of anything but the moment. Never asking what will I do if she says yes? Could he actually be “the one”? Will I be able to financially support this endeavor long-term?
No, none of those things mattered in the world of primary school dating. It was a simple question with an even simpler answer.
While I look back and laugh at the lack of understanding I possessed about dating in those days (hence the two simultaneous “boyfriends” I had in first grade) part of me misses the simplicity of it all.
As we mature our perception of life changes for the good and the bad, but either way…in our maturity, it seems that life gets complicated. Sometimes a little too complicated.
Maybe instead of racking our brains to answer the list of unanswerable questions before the first date…we should relax a little, and just focus on trying to snag a first date to begin with, here’s how:
1. Make sure to Relax: Everything good in life happens as a result of time. Growth, intimacy and commitment in a relationship are all things that require life’s natural unfolding to bring them into full bloom. If time brings things into fruition, why do Christians psyche themselves out into thinking that they have to know if that person is “The One” within 24 hours of meeting them? Or if they will be able to financially support a marriage? Or if their views of parenting and family values match up?
Talk about some serious pressure. It’s no wonder she’s afraid to text him back, and he’s afraid to ask her out for coffee. There is a time and place for all those answers to be addressed…but let’s just focus on the first date and more importantly, the development of a mature and edifying friendship with someone of the opposite sex.
2. Meet some people: I get a lot of questions from singles who are having a hard time meeting eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. The truth of the matter is that there are so many places to meet people, it just takes a little creativity and an open mind.
I’m a firm believer that you should meet someone in a place that you want to be. Research proves that only 9% of people actually meet and marry as a result of the bar scene. With those low statistics, it boggles my mind that there are still people cruising around the bar scene in hopes of finding true love.
Meet someone where you want to be. If fitness is important to you- join the gym, an aerobics class, or run a half-marathon. If the arts is your thing, join your local theater, take a photography class, or spend the afternoon at an art museum. If service is where your heart is, continue to pursue volunteering and serving others- keeping your heart and eyes open to the prospect of finding true love. Get to know people, build friendships, and learn the give-and-take that comes with all healthy relationships.
And by the way, statistics show that one of the top places to meet a mate is a direct result of friends and family! So tell your friends and family that you are looking to meet someone, and be open to the suggestions of the people that know you best. There’s nothing shameful about a blind date or a casual get together. In fact, I absolutely love match-making . I am proud to say that I have successfully matched a few of my closest friends who are happily married now, and am hoping to match many more! (Any takers out there?)
3. Make a Move: For some singles it’s not the who, but the how. Maybe you are interested in getting to know someone better but aren’t quite sure of how to make the first move.
In these social media days of “passive interaction”, I personally suggest steering clear of texts, emails, and Facebook messages to ask for a first date and instead ask face to face. You know- that awkward, face to face moment, usually accompanied by minimal eye contact, anxiously waiting for that “yes” or “no”. Yah, that face to face (though I know for online dating, this is not always possible- but that’s an article for another day). See if he wants to grab a coffee, or if she’ll meet you for dinner or dessert. If the prospect of a 2 hour dinner date is too much for you to handle, try something a little more casual like catching a movie or a sporting event. Make it simple, make it clear, make it easy. But no matter how you ask for the first date, what matters most is that you take the pressure off and just do it.
Dating is confusing, exciting, difficult and really fun. But it’s time to change the subculture of fear and complexity we as Christians have sometimes created around it.
It’s time to stop freaking out about dating and see it as an opportunity for connection and growth. It’s time to take the pressure off of “finding The One” and instead learn to glorify The One through every interaction that we have with those around us—dating included.
Happy First Date!
Comment below: What is the HARDEST part about dating?
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!