Dating is one of those things that isn’t really mentioned in the Bible but that EVREYONE has an opinion about. It’s amazing to me how much advice gets tossed around and how often people are told how to date. …when in fact, no one knows anything about dating. I don’t write this because I am of the 1% who does know but because I am of the 100% who messes everything up.
Now some would argue, “hey, I dated the same girl since I was 17 and then we got married without every making any mistakes.” And I would respond, “Congratulations. That’s great and it also disqualifies you from offering any actual advice on dating, breakups, and relationships.”
I know that may seam harsh, but it’s true. Those who dated 1 person and married that 1 person by and large live in a fantasy world of what the struggles of dating actually look like for the rest of us.
I am blessed to be a part of an amazing community of about 50 people who are in their 20’s and 30’s and mostly single. We love each other, pray for one another, and serve each other.
And occasionally, we date each other (enter fireworks and explosives)… (enter more fireworks. more explosives.)
And when we do, THAT. CHANGES. EVERYTHING.
Not just for one person, or even for two people. But for all 50.
And even wilder, take dating out of the equation… if one person simply happens to like another person …and someone else happens to like that person too – yes, THAT. CHANGES. EVERYTHING. Not just for 1, 2, or 3, but for all of us. Even if one person likes one person who doesn’t like them back. Yep, changes everything too. It’s crazy.
People in our demographic get told how to date a lot. By people who have never been part of our demographic. They, those who know who to date really well, they tell us we need to ask more people out and that we need to spend more time alone with guys/girls and not in such big groups and a lot of other things like that.
What most of the experts don’t understand is the ripple effects of doing just that. There’s no taking a girl to coffee and moving on. No, its taking a girl to coffee and then everyone choosing sides, hearts are getting broken, and group dynamics have changed. (I’m not saying it should be like this, but it just is)
This group of 50 has actually had about 300 different people at any given time in the last couple years. But then someone dated someone, and half the group had to leave because they didn’t “approve.” Then another half of the group had to leave because they liked that guy/girl too. And then finally, if it didn’t work out, another half had to leave to support the one that the ‘jerk’ called it off with. Even if it was just one date. And then 25 new people come in to fill their spots.
Sorry, I can’t make this stuff up. I am part of this demographic. Is it crazy? Yes, absolutely. But it’s just how it is.
NOW… this may not seem like its headed nowhere but hold on, it is… Some people get upset with people in our demographic for this happening. They say guys/girls get too invested with each other after a date (or before a date!), they say we are dating the wrong people, they say that we just don’t know what we are doing. And the ‘they’ are often the experts within our own demographic as well. Experts are everywhere.
But the truth is – we are real people with real emotions and real feelings. And unfortunately, often, when those are involved… it does change everything. And that’s not bad, that’s real. I wish it was different. It hurts to see people have their feelings hurt. It hurts to see one person in a close group hurt another (almost always unintentionally). And it hurts to see what we inevitably put each other through. But that is inevitably part of the dating process whether it should be or not. Can we ease those strains? Yes, a bit. But likely, this cycle will continue. Why? Well, the answer is the title.
Do I have a point to this blog yet? Sure…
Everyone sucks at dating. No one has the right answers. So rather than telling someone how and what they should be doing, simply: Listen and Show Compassion.
That’s it. We are all messing up royally. And no one’s advice has ever worked for us. So you might as well just support each other and help each other pick up the pieces along the way. I don’t think people need more answers. I think another shoulder (to lean on) will do just fine.