It's a date

It's a date

Navigating the world of relationships can a rewarding, but arduous task – and rightly so. Think of all of the variables you must sort through: differences in gender, culture, connotation of terms, personality, finances, spiritual understandings, character qualities, family backgrounds, beliefs and baggage. With all of that, it’s a wonder anyone has successful long term relationships.

But, glory be, it is possible. And all of that sorting has to start somewhere… it’s called a date.

Now, for clarification purposes, dating is a generic term I use for the time spent between two people whose intention it is to investigate whether they wish to form a more serious attachment to each other. I know some people call that all sorts of other terms. But for our purposes here, it’s dating.

The problem is, lots of people have all sorts of different ideas of what constitutes a date and honestly, it gets confusing. So, for my 10 or so readers, I would like to provide you with a little list of clarifying points. Now, it’s not like any one of these alone push it into dating mode, but if several or all of these components are present, it’s a date. Period. Here it goes:

If they calls a week or so in advance to see if you’re available to go to a specific event, movie, or restaurant, it’s a date.

If the plans involve only the two of you, it’s a date.

If a day or two before, they confirm details and let you know they’re looking forward to seeing you, it’s a date.

If they offer to pick you up at your place and drive to where you’re going, especially if it’s out of their way, it’s a date.

If they bring you a gift, it’s a date.

If they pay for all or most of the day’s activities, it’s a date.

If they go out of their way to open doors, it’s a date.

If they compliment your outfit, hair, jewelry, or appearance in general, it’s a date.

If the majority of the conversation centers around “learning more about you questions” such as family, job, interests, hobbies, etc., it’s a date.

If they ask to make plans to see you again, it’s a date.

If they walk you to your door, it’s a date.

Like I said, any of these alone isn’t much, but when stacked together clearly indicate that you’ve just been on a date. The issue I have is that it really shouldn’t be this complicated to determine. What ever happened to people boldly letting their intentions be known? When did it become so embarrassing to clearly say, “I would like to take you on a date?”

I realize that rejection isn’t a pleasant experience, but that can easily be remedied by a simple shift of perspective. What if we went on dates not assuming a “one size fits all” mentality? What if we’re simply exploring a possible match, not claiming that we’re soul mates before the first date. What if we could walk away and say, “That was a lot of fun, but we’re not a great fit. Let’s be friends.” without making a value statement on the other person’s worth. It might not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but it’s a whole lot less awkward than, “I could have sworn we went on a date two weeks ago, but I haven’t heard anything since. And now I’m being ignored when we see each other in passing at mutually attended events.” Now, that’s what I call awkward.

I guess it all comes down to a few telling questions. Can we respect each other enough to clearly communicate? Can we approach relationships without tying our self worth into whether one person reciprocates our feelings or not? Can we be honest with one another? Can we treat them well even after we decide we don’t want to marry them?

Let me assure you, I’m not pointing fingers here. Like I said, the ins and outs of dating are difficult to navigate. However, from a girl’s perspective, I’ve been on the receiving end of both very obvious and very ambiguous attentions and intentions, and while obviously I didn’t marry any of them, I can say that I SOOOOO greatly respect the guys who were secure enough in themselves to be up front with me. It gave me the boldness to be up front and honest with them and left us in a much, much healthier state in the long run than the “I’m almost positive that was a date” crowd.

Just something to consider.