Pre-Dating 101

So, I met this guy at a friend’s boyfriend’s birthday party and he was hilarious, which is why I didn’t turn down hanging out with him over coffee one day. Or for a movie night the week after.

I didn’t really know where he was going with it, but it gave me some time to reevaluate my emotions and reflect on how I’ve been approaching this whole dating thing. I’ve realized that I’ve been doing it completely wrong this whole time. For example, in my last attempt at a relationship, it was my fault it didn’t work out. I admit it. I wanted too much too soon and I didn’t even know the guy before wanting to spend all my time with him. So it was no surprise when he dropped off the face of the earth.

This might be old news for a lot of people, but getting to know someone even before you start the dating process is important. A lot of my girl friends complain when a guy takes them out on a few dates and then suddenly act as if they’re not interested anymore. Don’t even think of those first few dates as dates; in fact, the guys shouldn’t call them dates either, although if they’re looking for potentially more, they should acknowledge this.

These pre-dates should just be a get-to-know-eachother period. A period before you reach that fork in the road whose two branches are labeled Friends and More-Than-Friends.

A lot of times, people get caught up so much in the new attractions and novelty of dating that they don’t evaluate how they actually feel about the situation. This is actually really crucial because you have to fully understand yourself to know what you want out of this specific relationship, if you want anything. Along with getting caught up in my own emotions, I’m also guilty of pushing my ideals onto whoever I’m seeing. This is bad for two reasons: 1) you will always be disappointed that he/she doesn’t measure up to what you thought he/she was 2) you don’t give yourself a chance to explore and to learn who they really are, which will reveal potential.

With this guy, although I enjoy talking to him, his personality doesn’t appeal to me so much so that I’d want to be in a relationship with him. But at the same time, I feel comfortable enough around him—as of now—to potentially do something more with him. For the first time, if you get my meaning.

Also, I’ve gotten to know myself a lot during all my years of being single, and I… like it. Not in the way that some people claim because they feel like they have to make that claim in order not to feel somewhat pathetic. I really enjoy time by myself. I entertain myself, I get to do whatever I want selfishly. And, if I ever do get into a relationship, it has to be with someone that I’d rather be with than myself.

Also, the more I know myself, the more I realize that for me, college is a time of new experiences and new friendships. Too often, I see friends completely absorbed by their romantic relationship that they have no time to hone their platonic relationships. You don’t want to look back on college and see a string of exes. You want to look back and see the journey you made within yourself and the friends that you’ve made, and potentially still have!

I wish more people are able to come to this realization. It’s so important for both parties to reach emotional maturity so that both independent people are complementing rather than depending on someone too much.

So if things are going really slowly, don’t worry about it. Just enjoy things while they last and, if you realize you’re not enjoying something, you don’t find yourself in so deep you can’t get out without really hurting someone’s feelings.

And most importantly, always be honest about where you stand. Don’t use people or place them in the friends-with-benefits relationship without both agreeing to it.

Have fun, kiddies!

What’s your experience on these things? When have things gone smoothly—when you’ve taken things slowly or when you dived into things? 

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