Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dating/Relationship Series #2: "I'm just a girl who can't say NO"

Remember that song? "I'm just a girl who can't say No, I'm in a terrible fix...."

Clearly there are PLENTY of things to say NO to....(for those who can't read between the lines, I mean: premarital sex, dating a nonbeliever, abuse, etc, etc) But, still for the purposes of this post, I thought it was a catchy title.

I have spent the past 10 years of my life dating and what I have learned is: YOU SHOULD RARELY SAY NO TO A DATE OR AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET PEOPLE.

This doesn't mean you're desperate.  I know, I know - I know what you are thinking: you HATE when married people imply that you should give everyone a chance, not to wait for mr. perfect, etc-- underlying tone: "You aren't getting any younger, dear, time to settle."

and while I disagree on settling as a WHOLE, I do agree settling on parts. OR on ways and means (ie, how you meet him).... And, if you were to start surveying your married friends, those who married young and those who married recently....FEW would say they married their first love or who they first thought they would married. (a few lucky ducks did, but not many!) This doesn't mean they settled, it doesn't mean they aren't with wonderful loving men whom they adore.  It just means they compromised on some nonessentials (and I am sure the men compromised too!) or that along the way, they changed and discovered that what they thought they wanted wasn't what was best for them (I am guilty of this one, thankfully!)

Also, if you were to poll married folks OR even those in relationships, you would learn they met their significant others in a variety of ways....some are classic ways: freshman bio class, church, grew up together....but many people met by attending a random party with a friend, tagging along to a tailgate, online dating or a blind date. 

You will even find several couples who admit that they weren't immediately smitten.  Maybe they were friends for awhie before they noticed a connection OR maybe they had an okay first date and hit it off a couple dates down the line when nerves were calmed and they were relaxed.  Maybe they both went to the same church and after several sundays, one finally caught the other's eye.

So, here is my list of "Never say NOs":

1. Don't say NO to a date

......unless he is a known for being abusive, a druggie, etc.  If he's a little geeky, say yes.  If he is a different denomination, give him a shot. If he isn't as educated as you or as tall as you or whatever your criteria is, give him a fair shot. If he has a past, hear him out....  As girls, we whine about guys not giving us a shot. Give him a shot!

2. Don't say NO to a second date

So the first date wasn't long conversation with the restaurant shutting down and roses and sharing an ice cream cone...he was nervous, you were nervous. Give him a second chance.

Once again, there are a few exceptions- if he makes you uncomfortable during the first date or says something totally against your belief system (IE: I'm a muslim, I sacrifice animals to an earth god, etc) that you know makes you uncompatable.  But, even if its just an awkward first date with slow convo and virtually no attraction, you both owe it to yourselves to give it one more date.  Let him show you who he is - because who he is may not have come off correctly on your first date. Worst case scenerio: your gut was right about him not being the one and you got a free meal.

My aunt told me a story of her friend in college. She went on a date with a guy and did not enjoy it.  Just not a very good first date. She came home and told her roomates that she would not be going on a second date.  A few days later, he called and she answered (due to no caller ID and cell phones back then!) and he asked her out again.  She was caught off guard and couldn't think of an excuse fast enough and said YES. Almost 30 years later, they are still married.  Sure, one can't give a guy several 2nd chances, but giving a dating relationship a few dates could be good.

Also, its good to know that often times when it rains, it pours. My friends and I have noticed that when one many is pursuing, there will often be 2 or 3 at the same time (ha, then months of no suitors). I think that this is due to an openess and confidence that men can sense. If I feel confident because one man has taken me on a few dates, thats when other men notice my confidence and openess. (this is not a prooven theory, just an observation and guess!) So saying yes again may be upping your attractiveness to other men. (sidenote: I once met a man while on a date with another man and several months later, ended up dating guy 2)

3. Don't say NO to other men.

He's taken you on several dates. You like him and think something serious is developing, BUT he has yet to make a commitment. Then keep saying YES to other men. (1) the first man may not make the relationship serious and (2) one of the other men might be a better match for you and since you aren't "taken", you have the freedom to explore that.

One of my biggest dating mistakes ever was 18 months ago. I really liked this guy and had been talking to/dating him for over a month. I had still gone out with another man and had been asked out by another (what did I say, when it rains, it pours!)  Guy #1 found out about the other date and said I told him we had no commitment so I could see others. He told me his intention was to date me seriously and I cancelled the date.  A week or so later, he flipped out about not being ready for a relationship and still healing from his ex.  So I lost him and the shot at something with another guy.  Lesson learned.

4. Don't say NO to opportunities.

My BIGGEST pet peeve is when my single friends whine about not meeting men, THEN they do a girls movie and wine night most weekend nights. OR I invite them to an event where there might be new people and they turn me down because they are tired. An occasional night in is fine and you can't say yes to every opportunity, but I think you should be saying yes to about 75% of opportunities-- for every 1 "girls friday night in", have 3 fun nights out - at a cookout or party or grabbing drinks.  And, sometimes that means toughening up and going out while you are tired.  Moms take care of their children when they are tired. People work late when they are tired. Students study late when they are tired.  Doing something when you are tired won't kill you.

Also, join a few clubs.  or a Bible study.  or a political campaign.. Whatever cranks your tractor, do it...and while doing it, you may meet someone new-- or new people that introduce you to someone new.

5. Don't say NO to means.

Always thought you would meet the man of your dreams at church? That may not happen. I have friends who are opposed to blind dates, online dating, dating someone a little younger, long distance dating, etc etc.  I don't get this opposition, particularly with blind dates: "I've been on bad blind dates."  True, but you have also been on bad dates, but you haven't quit dating. Worst thing that will happen is that you have a bad evening.  Plus you aren't looking at the possibility that the blind date is great. Same with online dating or going on a date with a man from a different city. It may not work out, it may be too hard...or it may be great.  Life is risky, so is dating....and most people don't get the "married my high school sweetheart" story. So what? go on the blind date, let the guy at the bar buy you a drink. See what happens.

6. Don't say NO to new friends.

I can be bad about this one. I LOVE my friends. and what I originally loved about us is that we were so open to new people, so first. Then we got into our little groove.  I had to reevaluate and start reaching out again (thats a totally different blogpost topic ha: how to have close friends but not be "cliquy")

Make new friends. Why? for many reasons- new perspectives, to be inclusive, because you enjoy new people...but one reason is new friends expand your circles (and you expand theirs!) -- maybe they introduce you to their single male friend- or you introduce them to yours!  Certainly dont make friends simply to meet men, but it is one of the many benefits

7. Don't say NO to a certain type.

This is kindof a duplicate.  But I want to emphasize this.  Currently I am dating a country boy. My normal type of guy is preppy.  And I love the change of pace.  Don't be so set on a guy being preppy or artsy or dressing a certain way.

8. Don't say NO because he has a past

Don't be so set that he never drank, had sex, tried drugs or smoked or went through life perfectly.  I see this a lot.  Great Christian girls passing on great Christian guys because those same men weren't always great Christian guys (or vice versa).  People change.  Don't date a nonmotivated wild child, but don't discount someone who has a past and the Lord has now gotten ahold of. We all have pasts. I am so glad that there are guys who won't pass on me for having been a arrogant self righteous B**** most of my teen/college years. I have dated both the "perfect church boys" and the wild boys gone good...and the ones that had the most grace and wisdom were the wild boys gone good.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't address the past or work through some issues and concerns....BUT Look at who he is now and who the Lord is making him to be. That's far more important than the past.

SIDENOTE: I know I promised a post from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus on women and their emotional ups and downs but I am still reading! SOON I promise!

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