Must dating be so complicated?

The Matchmaker

The Matchmaker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That didn’t take long!

Not two weeks after returning to a town I spent a significant chunk of my life in I was asked the one question I’m sure many single adults have been asked by well-meaning friends. Keep in mind, while people here still know me, I’ve been gone for the large part of three years.

After inquiring about my age, which in itself was kind of awkward, I was asked by my married friend: “Are you dating anyone?”

I could immediately tell where this conversation was going. Wanting to be perfectly candid I played along and answered her questions about my interest in dating and possibly being introduced to someone.

Is it just me, or does this seem so much more awkward than putting yourself out there on eHarmony?

Maybe it’s because the one other time someone I knew played matchmaker on my behalf they didn’t bother asking, but simply invited me to have dinner with them. When I arrived it didn’t take long to tell that this was a set up. What made the situation even more difficult was the brief history between me and the woman I was being set up with.

AWKWARD!

Or, maybe it’s because I have absolutely NO CONTROL over who I’m being introduced to or how the introduction will take place. Will it simply be between services at church in a non-threatening sort of way like “I’d like you to meet…” or will it be at the request of my friends to meet them and this person over lunch or at their home for a barbecue?

In today’s world where we’re all running different directions and find it difficult to meet people we may be interested in, it’s certainly reasonable for established friends to help facilitate introductions on your behalf. After all, how else do we meet new people if not for a mutual friend to make an introduction, whether it’s in a business setting and strictly for those purposes, or for more social reasons?

Is there a better way?

Reading through some blogs this afternoon (Sunday afternoons are good for this!) I returned to one I like to read and sometimes respond to. A recent post carried a common theme to something my friend said after church services this morning when she offered to introduce me to a friend of hers. In short, she seemed to be lamenting the very same things discussed in this particular blog post.

What is it about today’s culture that makes meeting someone for the purpose of dating so complicated? How does a guy go about the process of seeking assistance and a non-threatening introduction in a dignified manner? I’m open to ideas and suggestions.

Given the plethora of dating websites, all which seek to part people from their hard-earned money through enticing marketing campaigns, it certainly makes economic sense to enlist the help of friends when trying to enter or re-enter the dating arena.

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5 thoughts on “Must dating be so complicated?

  1. Brother, some of it sadly is “the church itself” today. Let me try to explain this as clearly and politely as I can.

    I sometimes have wondered “how” do even single Christians even get a chance to know each other today or have the chance to let love bloom so to speak in church today. I have been a member of mine for over four years, and not one wedding…even our pastor “laments” this!

    Many Pastors (Mark Driscoll comes to mind, among others) here and there give a thunderous “real man” sermon about how men are not “stepping up” and not getting married, not asking or dating women in the church, and that it is their problem. The Bible says men have to lead! They’re not, and the pastor is here to tell you all about it!

    Well…that’s great.

    At the same time, we men are being told not to look with lust at women. That’s following Christ. We are being told to “let God do the work” and “Not to be like the worldly men” and “Christ should be first and foremost in your life” and “You have to pray harder, and look women in the eye.”

    I agree with all these statements 110%

    Bear with me a few more, I will make my point shortly….

    Women are in the “Home League” I have Cub Scouts. After church, people are scrambling to meetings, ladies auxiliary, family events……I work weekends. I am in band practice, fellowship lunches are busy with other needs in the church, I have men’s fellowship, I am a prayer warrior as well.

    There isn’t TIME to get to know someone in church, and even if there was…..
    the above rules of real behavior of a proper Christian man….how does one flirt with, or chat up or learn her personality when the opportunity is almost nil…..and I think that is why some Christian ladies say “Christian men are boring / don’t ask / are shy / are not exciting”

    Perhaps these men who are Godly. Who love Jesus. Who want to serve, who are working for Him, and not the world are in the state they are in. They’re afraid to upset the “apple cart” of church……I’ve said this in posts before…..if a guy asks a girl out in church, and she says “no” all of her friends are now off limits because of this. People talk in church, and a Godly man doesn’t want a reputation in church of “He’s only here to ask out women”

    And it WILL happen.

    Even if he “didn’t care” and asked lots of women out and “took the lead” and “was exciting like a worldly guy” He would probably get spoken to by church-leadership about what he was doing, and gently rebuked for his behavior.

    It’s a hard catch to be in, and a lot of men in church would LOVE to date, but I think a lot of men are now at home playing video games, or whatever because after kingdom work…..we’re tired, and a lot of us have never dated, or ever had a girlfriend….we don’t know what to do…..and the sermons that Driscoll gives only seems to shame men, and make men who are married or happen to have a blessing of natural good looks or women making themselves KNOWN; regard the rest of us as if something is wrong with us.

    Am I making any sense here???? 😉

    Just putting it out there.

    • You’ve got a lot here Jason, so let me just take on a couple statements in my reply.
      For example you write: “At the same time, we men are being told not to look with lust at women.” First off, I think there’s a significant difference in “looking at women with lust” and simply asking one on a date because you find her attractive for one reason or another. Maybe it’s her smile you find appealing. Maybe it is her physical appearance you find attractive. Maybe it’s something deeper you see in her that appeals to you. In all candor I’ve known women I would put in each of these “categories,” if you will. Whatever the reason you’re attracted to her there’s nothing wrong with asking if she’d like to join you for lunch (YOU pay!).
      Moreover, you mention a fear of asking someone on a date because of what her friends might think. I don’t have any experience here, so I can’t offer any direct wisdom, but my gut tells me that if that’s the case then I’d rather not date ANY of them because I don’t need or desire the gossip that I know will result. Even then, people will talk, I know, I’ve experienced this myself. You simply need to be comfortable enough in your own skin to brush off things that might be said to suggest the date is more than it really is — just a date!
      I’ve had it said to me, so I’ll say it to you: consider a different church my friend. In some towns that may not be as simple as that, but in larger towns or more metropolitan areas it is easier. Find a church that 1) preaches and follows God whole-heartedly, because, after all, you are there to follow and worship God, then 2) begin to consider whether the size of the church and the opportunities to meet new people fit with who you are.
      I think at some point each of us needs to consider our part in the whole church spectrum and begin to participate in the process to affect positive changes in the culture. If it’s to educate or re-educate people on the issues of today’s single adult, then jump in where you can and begin to affect a change.
      That’s my two cents.

      • Good points Brother, and I know they are meant in a Christ-like manner!

        Leaving my church? Well, I would have to leave my job also. My church only has members (soldiers) under employment. I love the job, and the duties I have been entrusted with are important.

        Also, since I work in a church-environment I really, really love that my place of employment is drama free. I have zero drama at work. Everyone is nice, positive, and friendly. There is no “back-biting” and it is the first job where I have felt that my input matters.

        I am the Assistant Manager at a low-income senior housing complex (built, run, and administered by The Salvation Army). My talents are used extensively, and we operate on a Christ-centered policy. We pray at work. We staff live in the building (including maintenance). If I left my church (which is the Salvation Army), I would have to leave my employment as well. I matter too much here to leave this, and I love the people I serve.

        Agreed though on the point of just asking someone out. I probably should take more initiative there. There is a fine line of this……my church also has many more men in membership and attendance than women (unique) and it is probably because of the Salvation Army’s quasi-military structure.

        I can live with singledom if I have to……I just don’t think it should be this hard to just have a date though.

        Again, brother thank you for your kind input!

  2. Jason: It sounds as if you’ve thought some of this out, and that’s a good thing. Choosing to keep your employment and remain where you are because you enjoy it are good things.
    I just relocated to a different state and am getting to know people again. Fortunately, I’ve lived here in the past, so I still have friends here, as I previously discussed.
    Still, I’m looking for other opportunities outside of my church (I’m not willing to leave it at this point) in which to meet people and possibly date.
    Best of luck to you bro. Stay true to the faith.

  3. sometimes I just have to bounce ideas off a fellow brother in Christ, and that is at times hard to do in your own church. I stay true to the faith, because He stayed true to me! Drop a note anytime, and I love your blog!

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