October 31, 2011

Thoughts on Dating

A little over a week ago, I ran into an old friend, and we got to talking about dating. Don't worry, he's short; we were talking dating in general, not specific. During our conversation he enumerated for me the reasons he doesn't like dating. He told me he prefers to casually hang out with girls, and if it sort of turns into a date, that's cool with him, but when he goes on dates, it's just really awkward and there are all these expectations, and he really doesn't like it (run on sentence alert--mine, not his). He prefers keeping it casual with a girl and if they end up dating, cool.

I didn't state my disagreement other than to tell him that I love going on dates (It's true, I do), and if he's feeling too much pressure from his dates, it's probably because he doesn't go on many. The more dates we go on, the less of a big deal they become. But I didn't tell him how I really felt about it, part of my new attempt at life called "Sometimes you don't have to tell people exactly what you're thinking all the time."

The conversation left me a little flustered, and I've been thinking about it almost every day since I saw him, so I decided to tell you, reader, how I really feel. I fundamentally disagree with his philosophies on dating. I think that dating is good for us even when its hard. Things that are hard get easier if we practice. Dating becomes less stressful if we do it more, and we are always blessed when we follow the counsel of our living prophets. 

I agree very much with Elder Dallin Oaks, who counseled young men to, "Start with a variety of dates with a variety of young women...Men have the initiative, and you men should get on with it. If you don't know what a date is, perhaps this definition will help. I heard it from my 18-year-old granddaughter. A "date" must pass the test of three p's: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, and (3) paired off."

I don't want my disagreement with this gentleman to come off as bitterness or frustration, because I don't feel that way at all. I feel like young men have, in large measure, stepped up to the plate and done what Elder Oaks suggested. Lots of men are getting it right. I appreciate it so much when a young man calls me, asks me to do something specific on a specific day, picks me up at the front door, opens the car door for me, and treats me like a lady. I know it's scary, and I love that men are willing to do it. I love one-on-one conversations and getting to know men of differing backgrounds in a variety of settings. 

So to the young men who are taking the initiative and dating like Elder Oaks counseled, well done. I applaud your willingness to man up and do something that is hard and scary and risky and in the end, totally worth it. Keep up the good work. 


  1. Well put, but even when you have lots of practice, dating is still hard because it's usually a new girl you're trying to impress and that anxiety can lead to exhilaration when things go well and despair when they don't. You've just got to stay in the game.