For some reason, I always find myself being asked for advice on how to get a date. Probably because I’m a psychology student, I’m analytical (hello being an ENTJ female), and I got married pretty young.
I love helping my friends out, but I find that they tell me the same problems again and again. And I think that part of the problem is that no one actually knows how to date. Which is a problem, because relationships are a huge part of our lives. For many of us, marriage is one of the most important things we’d like to do with our lives. So it really affects me when I see people who so desperately want to find love going about it in the wrong ways.
So, from my vast experience dealing with other people’s relationship problems as well as my own dating experience, I though I’d give you the 3 things we do wrong in relationships that make them way more complicated than they need to be, and how to fix it! Enjoy. (And just remember, I say all this in love and from experience.)
1. We obsess too much
I’m going to make this really easy for everyone:
If you like someone, just ask them out.
Guys: seriously, that’s all there is to it. Don’t know how to get a date? It’s often as simple as getting to know her, or, if you literally just met someone and it’s going really well, why not just ask to continue the conversation over coffee? Super smooth, super simple. This isn’t a “Will you be my girlfriend and go out for coffee with me” type of deal. This is literally just asking her to grab a cup of joe with you. Non-committal, no strings attached. You could ask the same question of your aunt and it wouldn’t be strange. Which also means there’s no touching, no expectations, nothing. You’re literally just getting to know each other.
Don’t make it weird when you do it, though. Knowing how to get a date can be as simple as just saying, “Hey, I’m having a great time chatting with you, but I have to run–any way you’d want to pick this up over coffee sometime this weekend?” You have no idea how powerful that line can be. When I was in high school, even though I was never in a relationship, I went on dates with quite a few people, and it was almost always because of a line like this. Even if I didn’t even like the guy–you hear that invitation and think “Yeah, I’ve been having a good time, too, and coffee sounds really nice.”
I find that a lot of guys, when stressing about how to get a date, spend a lot of time thinking about IF they should ask her to coffee. But if he had just asked her out when he started thinking about her three weeks ago, he’d know for sure by now if it would work! But now he’s spent 3 weeks of emotional energy obsessing over “what if.”
Girls: a lot of the reason a lot of guys are not comfortable just asking girls out for coffee is that we over-react and we don’t give them enough encouragement. So when a guy asks you to coffee, don’t over think it. Just think this: do I feel safe, am I having a good time talking to him, and am I free at the time he asked. That’s all. Not “Can I marry him? Would he make a good father? Oh dear, what if he wants our sons to play soccer and I want them in ballet?” Just say yes, go for the coffee, and then decide if you want to continue from there.
Give the guys a break, give them a chance. It won’t hurt anything since you’re not committing to anything, you’re in a public place, and it’s a very casual setting. Also, if you like a guy, why not just ask him to coffee yourself? It’s perfectly acceptable, so why not take some initiative?
2. But PLEASE be realistic about it
Relationships are hard because often we get infatuated with people who are really not at all good for us and we fixate on them, and then we get our hearts broken over someone who we never even had a chance with in the first place.
If you’re wondering how to get a date, you’ve got to be willing to engage a bit of critical thinking so you can go above that infatuation and figure out if this is realistic. That’s not to say you should never go for someone out of your league–that’s not what I mean at all. I just mean honestly look at why you think they’re out of your league. Are they more intelligent, more attractive, more athletic, AND more social? Is she or he just different from you in every way and that’s why you’re attracted to them? I’d seriously recommend considering if you like them (a) because you think you would make a good couple or (b) because you’re infatuated or engaging in hero-worship. And I’m saying that as someone who has definitely been there.
Related: 7 Signs You Should Break Up
The main question is this: do they make you feel inferior, or equal?
If she or he is out of your league because you think they’re the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen, give it a shot! I have a friend who told me his strategy for finding a girlfriend was to look around the room and ask out the most attractive woman there. And you know what? She ended up becoming his wife. Taking a risk can sometimes be how to get a date, but taking a risk for someone you think is out of your league is different than taking a risk on someone you’re hero-worshipping.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s OK to think someone is amazing. But I think it’s a bit unhealthy to go for someone because they’re who you want to be–you need to be with someone who doesn’t make you feel inferior by comparison. So when I say “be realistic,” I mean look for someone you think is absolutely wonderful, but you consider to be your equal.
3. Don’t expect someone to date you if you wouldn’t want to date you.
Ouch, harsh, I know. This problem is hard to deal with because it’s hard to tell a friend “Well, maybe you’re just not the kind of person the kind of people you want to date would want to date.” But a lot of times, it’s the truth.
Are you looking for someone who is serious about their faith, does daily devotions at 6:00 in the morning, and volunteers with the elderly? Well then you’d better be someone who is serious about faith, does devotions at 6:00 in the freaking morning, and volunteers with adorable retired people every Saturday morning.
If you’re having a lot of bad luck with dating, seriously take a look at whether or not you’re the kind of person YOU would want to date.
This is something I had to deal with in first year of university. I was rejected by a guy who I had been interested in for a while, and I realized one day, while I was crying to my best friend Hillary:
I don’t even blame him one bit! I wouldn’t want to date someone emotionally dependent like I am! If I want to end up with someone like him, I need to smarten up and grown up into the kind of person who would make a good partner to a successful, good, Christian man instead of being the kind of girl who needs rescuing.
And you know what? Then, when I met my now-husband (who is 10x better for me than anyone else ever had been), I was ready for him. I had dealt with my emotional dependency that stemmed from self-esteem issues, and when we started dating, we were able to have an actual relationship–not a saviour complex.
Take a look at your life. Are there areas that make you more or less attractive as a dating prospect to the kind of person you want to end up with? Then, be honest with yourself and ask “Is this something I should/can change?” And if it is, sweet! Work on that! Maybe it’s by improving your prayer life, or maybe it’s by hitting the gym a couple times a week. But if it’s something you can’t change, then figure out why you can’t change it, and be OK with that. You are you for a reason. So embrace it!
The great thing about these three problems is that none of them are character flaws. It’s just about just learning dating etiquette and putting it into practice! And I’ve been guilty of all three of these–believe me. Maybe we’ll get into embarrasing-storytime-with-Becca sometime later. So I hope this can help you, because these tips have certainly helped me!
What are some things you’ve learned in your experience figuring out how to get a date? Share them in the comments below!
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