Back to the dating series! (I'm starting with the girls, but guys, you may want to read this too.) I know I say that proper dating begins when a young man takes initiative and asks a girl out, but, ladies, there has been some not-so-great dating going on on our part too. I'm going to break things down and give you just a few guidelines to help you out.
1. Accepting and Declining.
So, a boy asked you out. How do you feel? Excited? Flattered? Anxious? Repulsed? Confused? Maybe you feel a mixture of these emotions. That's okay. It may be very new to you. It can be intimidating. You may not have been expecting it at all! You have approximately 4.3 seconds to come up with your answer. (I just made up that number.) What do you say?!
Say yes. Unless you have a valid reason to decline, (which we will discuss below) you should pretty much always say yes. Ask him then what the plan is - what day, if he's driving or you're meeting somewhere, what the activity is (so you know how to dress), who else may be there, etc.
To accept, say something along the lines of "Thanks so much for asking, Tom! I'd love to! What is the plan?"
Invalid reasons for declining:
- You don't like him "like that."
- He's "just a friend."
- He's too awkward.
- You don't want to date him.
- You think he's joking.
- You don't want to be in a "relationship."
If you don't know why these are invalid reasons, please refer to "The Great Dating Dilemma - Part 1"
Reasons why you may decline:
- You have prior plans.
- You're grounded.
If either of these are the case, say "Thank you so much for asking, Tom, but I can't go out that day. Is there another time that you'd like to go out?" and continue to arrange other plans. If you say "I'm busy," guys will assume that you don't want to go out and NEVER ASK YOU AGAIN. Seriously.
- You already have a date. (In the case of dances and such.)
Again, thank him for his invitation. Apologize that you can't go with him, and ask him if he'd like to go out some other time. He may not get his prom photos with you, but you can still have fun together another day.
- Going on a date with him would make you feel unsafe.
I'm serious about this one. If a boy makes you worry about your physical or spiritual well being, just decline. Thank him for his invitation, and tell him you cannot go. Do not make up an excuse about being out of town or something. Just say you can't go that evening or that your parents don't want you going to that party or concert. i.e. "Thanks for thinking of me, Jeff, and I'm flattered, but I can't go to that concert - it's past my curfew."
- He's your best friend's ex-boyfriend. (This one I think is a valid reason. Don't break the Sister Code.)
If he asks you out, give him a look. That's all you need to do. If you choose to accept, go for it. High school shouldn't be super intense anyway. These things are always more complicated than they should be.
- Your parents do not want you to be out with him.
Go ahead and blame it on your parents. Thank him, of course, but say that your parents don't want you going. It's not your fault, and there is nothing wrong with letting him know that.
- He is actually repulsive. (i.e. Doesn't shower or do laundry, coughs all over you, eats like a pig, and doesn't brush his teeth.)
If you are uncomfortable being alone with him, but want to be kind and accept, ask him then who you will be doubling with. That brings up the subject without being rude or pushy. i.e. "Thanks for asking me out, Tom! I'm excited! Who are we doubling with? I have a friend who I know could get a date."
Make sure you know what the plan is. Nothing is worse that getting somewhere and realizing that you are dressed totally inappropriately for the activity. Also, your parents will be more comfortable letting you go if you say, "Tom and I are going to the park for a picnic. I'll let you know if anything changes," than if you say, "I'm going out with Tom. See you later tonight!" Besides, if you know the plan, you will have less awkwardness milling around than if you didn't have an activity planned.
3. The Date.
Once you're there, remember: you are on a date with this young man. It is your job to keep your full attention on him. Do not text your friends, do not check out other guys, do not act like you wish you were anywhere but there. If it's a double or a group, do not spend the whole night chatting with your girlfriends. They didn't ask you out. He did. Have fun! Don't worry too much about what he's doing, or what he meant by that remark - most of the time, he meant exactly what he said. Just relax. He's your friend already. Take this as an opportunity to get to know him better. Is he different in a one-on-one conversation than he is when he's part of the crew "hanging out?" Does he have a dream or hobby that surprises you? Probably. Just talk. I can't say this enough: HAVE FUN. That's what dating is for.
Paying: If he asked you out, expect him to pay. If you asked him out, be prepared to pay, but accept if he offers. Allow him to be the gentleman he has the potential to be.
Once he drops you off, or you turn to leave, give him a hug and thank him once again for asking you and giving you an excellent evening. If it's awkward and the rest of your group is there, thank him in person, but also send a text or a message saying once again how much fun you had. The next time you see him, act totally normal. PLEASE don't be one of those girls who think that everything is going to change because you went on a date with this boy. Just be chill. Don't be offended if he doesn't ask you out again right way. It's nothing personal. He just, like you, wants to get to know all sorts of people.
Ok. So, what if you like him?
First, accept politely as stated above.
Secondly, get home, go to your room, shut the door, and have a little jam session. Just jump around and be excited. HE ASKED YOU OUT! There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating.
Third, keep in mind the reality of the situation: you are young, he is young. You don't need seriousness right now. The goals are friendship and fun times.
If you have a boy who you like, and he likes you as well, then you are a lucky one, aren't you? Don't feel like you can only go on first dates. You can go on more than one, two, three dates with the same person without being in a "relationship." You could hold hands and be cute without "long-term commitment." I may sound like a terrible person, but this is realistic. Do not try to pull a boy into a "relationship" right now. It makes things messy. Take this time to learn the basics of dating so you don't screw things up when you start looking into marriage. Most young women, as wonderful as they are, don't know how to say yes or no to a date, let alone know how to handle the ups and downs of a "relationship." Just make sure that you are on the same page as your "Tom".
Dating is complicated, with many variables. It would be impossible for me to cover every scenario or situation that could occur. I hope that you ladies find this helpful (and maybe some of you guys find it insightful). Dating is complicated, yes, but it is also wonderful. It is so much fun! Spending time with a good friend is and should be fantastic.
Think about it.
Questions or comments? Please send me a message or comment below! I'd love to hear your opinion.