For the past two years i've been watching friends and acquaintances endure these relationships with the opposite sex that are some weird hybrid of friendship and dating. They are to deep to be considered "just friends" but to casual and inconsistent to be considered dating. What's up with this? The guys are so unsure about really wanting to be in a relationship and the girls, while often unsure as well, are just excited to be getting the attention that these relationships go on in a vicious cycle of frustration and hope.
I think one of the main problems might lie in the phrase "It's important for there to be a friendship first". Don't get me wrong, i'm all about friendship. I understand that the motivation for this "pre-dating" dating model is to protect hearts and minimize the need to change your status on facebook. However, to be perfectly honest most of what i've witnessed is frustration, and in the end the very thing we try so hard to avoid... heartache.
Is it so wrong to get to know someone by dating them? Wouldn't that be better than trying to manipulate situations so you get to spend time with some girl or guy you like without them knowing that you like them? Dating seemed to work for our grandparents and most of our parents, why do we think we're any different? I know what you're going to say... "but the times are different now. Dating is different." I'm perfectly aware of that fact. However I still think that maybe, just maybe, evangelicals could redeem dating.
Dating does not need to be a lifetime commitment! Going to dinner does not need to mean that you are commiting to this person for the rest of your life. Heck, you don't even need to be committing to another date with this person! I'm NOT saying that I think we should all just date whoever we feel like, without atleast the intention of a second date because I'm sure that would just leave people broken and bleeding a long the way. I am saying that I think we could all stand to grow up a little when it comes to dating relationships. I'm not promoting being a serial dater (i.e. dating more than one girl/guy in a single weekend... not that anyone has the time or money for that anyway!), I am however promoting the idea of asking that girl out that you've been interested in for 3 years but haven't had the chance to "hang out" with enough so you just keep waiting.
Men. Be brave!!! I understand that rejection sucks and girls are scary. It is true that we might reject you, but we will also respect you for having the courage to ask. Obviously I cannot speak for all women on this, but I can say that the women I have talked to about this would be incredibly impressed with your boldness. We are tired of dropping hints... please don't make us do it anymore! Also, your trash gets taken out more than the women of biola do. Think about it.
One last thing. Men, if you are not ready to begin a relationship... then don't. Not even an ambiguous one. Give the women around you enough respect that you protect them from thinking that they are only good enough to be one of your friends and nothing more, even though you spend more time with them than all of your other friends combined. Do us all a favor and be straightfoward with us.
Women, give the men a chance. Don't force them into anything they're not ready for and than expect them to step up. Understand that asking you out is difficult and give them some grace. Also, stand up for yourself! Don't allow ambiguity. Don't be a crazy person, but be strong enough to know where to draw boundary lines if you see yourself heading for one of those weird hybrid relationships.
No matter what. Be clear! If you want a second date, say so. If you don't, say so! Don't leave the girl/guy wondering about where this might be going. That only leads to stalker situations ;-).
I am by no means the authority on this subject, and I'm sure this is not a perfect solution to the problem. I would love to know what you people out there think about this. Do you think we can redeem dating and lessen the frustration? I do.
P.S. Guys, I know there is a lot of a pressure on you financially and creatively when it comes to dating. However that came about, I'm very sorry for it. The girls you really want to get to know are the type that don't care if your first date is at a fancy restaurant or a park, or if your second date is bigger and better than the first. You can relax. Look for the girls that will just be happy to be hanging out with you!