Monday, July 2, 2012

The Great Dating Dilemma - Part 1

Rejection. Tears. Drama. Ruined friendships. Anger. Cold shoulders. Whispers. Gossip. Insecurity. Vulnerability. Awkwardness.

These are all risks that come with high school dating. Let me tell you - they suck. Not just for you, but for the person you were dealing with, your friends and their friends (which are normally the same people), and family members on both sides.

BUT DON'T WORRY. There are precautions you can take to avoid these issues. Don't let these scare you into not dating. That is something that is occurring more and more often in our culture now. People come up with the best excuses not to date. How many times have you heard these lines?

"Well, I would ask her out, but I can't drive yet."
"He's nice enough, but he's my FRIEND! I could never date him!"
"She's not ready for commitment."
"I'm not ready for commitment."
"She would expect so much from me! There's no way I can live up to her ideals of the 'perfect boyfriend.'"
"Well, I couldn't tell if he was joking or not, so, I said no."
"He won't ask me out!"
"He's shorter than me. It would never work."
"He's too... bland. I can't be with someone who can't like that."
"I don't like her."
"I could never be more than friends. Why lead him on?"
"I don't have any money."

I am going to address each of these statements. This is the first in a mini-series I'm doing on dating. One of my friends told me to wait until I left for England to start this one; just to be sure nothing gets awkward after I open my soul and share my dating philosophy. It is frustrating to watch this generation (MY generation) screw up dating. Come on, guys. Think it through. I have a very different idea of what "dating" means than popular culture does. I am going to break it down for you.

A date is made up of 1 or more couples spending time together to get to know one another better and to have fun at a pre-determined time. Simple. No one said anything about "relationships" or "commitment" or "pressure." That makes dating unnecessarily complicated. If a boy and a girl go into an evening both knowing this purpose, they can spend less time trying to analyze each others' moves and motives, and more time actually having fun.

Now on to the excuses...

1. "Well, I would ask her out, but I can't drive yet."

Guess what? You don't need to drive. Sure, it may be more impressive if you can, and you will have more freedom to change plans. Still, there is NO shame WHATSOEVER in having your mom or older sibling drive you to a date. It is not an issue to meet your date wherever you're going. You asked her out, didn't you? My bet would be that she'll be too excited to notice that you're not driving. Especially in places where a graduated license system is in place; she will understand that the laws make it impossible for you to drive her right now.

2. "He's nice enough, but he's my FRIEND! I could never date him!"

This one bugs me a lot. He's your friend? Oh that's nice... Maybe that's why he wants to spend time with you! Ladies, no one is asking you to continually, or steady, date a young man who asks you out. If he had the guts to ask you out, he obviously thinks you're pretty cool, and he just wants to spend time with you without the rest of the gang. Maybe he does like you. MAKE HIS WORLD. You don't have to go out with him over and over again, or hold his hand, or kiss him, or be his girlfriend. But, if he's nice, and he's your friend - go out with him. Unless he is absolutely terrible, he should at least get one date. Just be smart.

3. "She's not ready for commitment"/"I'm not ready for commitment."

These statements are both correct. No teenager is ready for the type of commitment that is required for the "relationships" we aspire to have. Why should that keep us from dating? Remember the definition of a date above- nothing involving commitment (except showing up on time). If you only will date people in high school that you think will lead to long and happy relationships, you are not going to date much. Why isolate yourself from learning what you want and don't want in the person you end up with? It brings you one step closer to finding that person with whom you will live happily ever after. In the meantime, make friends and have fun. High school is about learning who the heck you are, and the qualities you want in a long term companion can only be discovered once you know your strengths and weaknesses.
 "Commitment" is so over used in high school dating.

4. "She would expect so much from me! There's no way I can live up to her ideals of the 'perfect boyfriend.'"

Read number 3 once more. Take a breath. This one is lame. Have you talked with this young lady to know what she wants from dating right now?  Maybe you've heard her talk to her girlfriends about all the sweet things she wants a guy to do for her. That doesn't mean she expects it to be you. I mean, I tell my girlfriends about how my life is going to be once I inherit a million dollars and marry Richard Armitage. How likely is that? (Next to impossible.) But, that doesn't mean I expect the boy I go out with a few times in high school to be a Hollywood hunk or a period drama god. I expect him to be a teenage boy - who will mess up sometimes, but just be a good friend.

5. "Well, I couldn't tell if he was joking or not, so, I said no."

If you can't tell - ALWAYS SAY YES. That'll teach him not to joke like that again. Besides, he now has a date with you! Lucky chap.  If you can't tell if he's joking, he's probably only half-joking. Asking someone out can be scary, even if they're your friend and you know they'll say yes. It. Is. Terrifying. Using the "Haha... I was just joking" line is a way to defend their pride and hide insecurity. Just assume he's asking you out.

You might be surprised, gentlemen, how often I hear this one, especially with prom. Now you know what I told the girls... Don't actually joke about this, or you'll end up with a date you weren't expecting.

6. "He won't ask me out!"

Then ask HIM out! Some guys have no idea in their adorable minds that you want to go on a date with them! They just don't think about it. Ask him out, and have fun. NO SHAME. Some of my best dates have been when I asked my date. Then you get to plan it too! If you're really nervous, get a girlfriend to ask someone, and double. It's actually a whole lot of fun.

7. "He's shorter than me. It would never work."

Come on. Remember - no one is asking you to go steady with the guy. No one wants you to marry him. GO HAVE FUN WITH HIM. He had the guts to get past his insecurity and ask you out. Please move past your vanity and learn to see him for the person he is inside, not the way he looks to your friends.

8. "He's/She's too... bland. I can't be with someone like that."

Think about this seriously for a second. By "bland", do you mean "good?" Or "sweet?" Or "responsible?" Remember how guys always complain how girls like "bad boys", and girls whine about guys chasing "skanks?" It's true. I've been saying over and over again how high school dating should be about self-discovery and making long-lasting friendships. If this is the case, why would you shun those who would actually treat you with respect and be a good friend? They may not be that Hollywood dream guy/girl, but they are real. Think about it.

9. "I don't like her."

Maybe not now, you don't. Have you noticed how I haven't said a single thing about dating someone you have a genuine crush on? Let me explain. There is nothing wrong with liking someone, or multiple someones. It's age appropriate. This is a big reason why teenagers shouldn't attempt "long -term relationships." You may like one person one day, and another person another day. Of course, this is a general, and there are exceptions. There are teenagers who are so loyal that they struggle liking someone new after liking someone for a long time, just because it's weird not liking person one. There are also people who meet in high school who end up getting married and have long, happy, successful relationships. Those people are champs. In teenage dating, there is nothing wrong with going on dates with someone you like. Just don't try to lock things in place. Date multiple people, but don't be in a "relationship" with multiple people. Keep things light. High school is fun. Don't let "relationship" drama ruin that for you. This means that even if you don't like the person, you can go out with them for a night and have fun with a friend.

There was a study done a few years ago, and the results found that guys were more romantic than girls. This means that guys were more likely to fall in love, and do so quicker. Girls were more tentative with their hearts, but once in love, loved longer.

This means that guys, you may like a girl one day and think that you are going to marry her and be with her forever. Don't say that to her. Chances are you're going to be over her and into a new babe in a little while. It's just the way your high school brains are wired. (It's not an excuse to be a player. Be smart please.)

Girls, don't give all of you. If you are hearing "I love you"'s and "I want to be with you forever"'s from a guy, feel flattered, but don't read too much into it. His brain is ADD, and if you don't believe it, you will end up hung up on somebody that you used to know. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

*NOTE: This is really bad "relationship" advice. It is not intended for people in "committed relationships." It is good advice for teenagers looking for dating and not DATING.*

10. "I could never be more than friends. Why lead him on?"

If you've read this whole post, and are still wondering my opinion on this one, you weren't paying attention. There is no need to be "more than friends" right now. I mean, you can have friends, good friends, and good friends (if you know what I mean), but why do you need a boyfriend or girlfriend? It's a lot of work. If you don't want to lead him on, don't hold his hand or kiss him. Don't say things to him that would be interpreted as you liking him. (Not that all guys read a ton into this, but some definitely do. I'm friends with a few.) I know this is a lot to ask of high schoolers, but just be smart.

11. "I don't have any money."

Dates don't have to cost money! Make a picnic and bring a soccer ball. Go to an outdoor movie in the summer. Heart attack your friends' houses. Have a photo shoot in ridiculous outfits. Document the adventures of an invisible man. Write a song. Build a fort. Have a mud fight. Play with water guns. Watch a movie and make sassy commentary, or turn off the sound and add your own dialogue. Dating can be so fun. Just go have fun! Don't worry about drama. Drama only happens when there is a misunderstanding or lack of communication from the start.

WOW. You have finished a novel-length post. Congrats! Look out for Part 2 and Part 3, which will be "How-To" guides for girls and guys. I will get to them ASAP, because, well, this is a fun topic.

Think about it.

Comments or questions?? I would love your imput! Send me a message or comment below.


  1. Sarah...I'm speechless. I love this post of yours. It's soooooo true!!! And I applaud you for bringing up these major issues. And just so you sorta lingers into college as well. People have these stupid excuses that get in the way of what life could truly be. And it's a pity because it proves how people don't want to take that leap of faith when given the opportunity. It's such a pity. But I sincerely enjoyed reading this well as all of your other posts. ^_^ Love ya chica!!!

  2. Eurgh.... I still feel awkward with the possibility. Like, mormon-dating has a lot less gravitas then "HIGH SCHOOL" dating, from my perspective, because there is a much greater impending separator for mormons, being the mission. Like, with college, long distance relationships actually work on some level. I feel less awkward though. Come out with part 3...