This post has been a long time coming.
Lately, and especially with my 26th birthday now under my belt, I have been doing a lot of thinking about my past. This included talking about my successes and my failings. One area that my mind drifted to recently was Dating.
With chasing down a Master’s degree right after getting my Bachelors degree, cramming my education into half of the time, in order to finish early, and leaving the country to live in New Zealand…it’s no surprise that I didn’t have much time to go on dates. Very few in fact.
Dating is fun. Plain and simple. It is an opportunity to have a lot fun with the opposite sex, with the possibility of that first date turning into a longer, more meaningful relationship. Dinner, movie, and ice cream. Walks, drinks, and star-gazing. A drive, conversation, and an out-of-the-way adventure. However you design the date, it’s a fun time. That being said, don’t go overboard. You can absolutely do too much in a date. If you’re unsure, vet your plans with friends you trust. Additionally, not all dates go the way that you planned. I know that territory, ha. Once I was on a date and didn’t even know it. Talk about awkward.
And that segues perfectly into my point. Dating, as I have come to notice in New Zealand, is a passive game. (DISCLAIMER: I am speaking from my perspective and accounts told to me by women here in NZ, as well as some men. If you feel you are not one of these men I am describing, feel free to tell the world and comment below. Also, prepare for some massive over-generalizations.) Young men in NZ can sometimes take the back seat and fail to commit when it comes to dating. “But asking someone out is dangerous, risky, and scary.” Yeah. It is. But taking months to even ask her out on a proper date can most times be exhausting for the women. Assertiveness goes a long way.
To that effect, when you’re going on a date, make sure it’s actually a proper date. When I told you earlier that I didn’t know I was on a date, I was 18, and it was a group event. Being young, I must have missed something. I learned from that horrible awkward night and made sure to treat dating differently. First off: Groups. Okay for the first few times, but eventually you have to take a leap. Also, Dating should not be a random coffee meet-up, or haphazardly pulled together. That makes things confusing. An intentional, thought out, Yes, possibly even risky planned night eliminates the need for awkward conversations where you are trying to define your relationship. It’s brave. It’s assertive. And most of all, It shows you care about the person.
Like I’ve said before; going out with someone, even if it doesn’t turn into a second date, can be fantastic. Don’t hold on so tight to the result. Just be yourself and enjoy each others company.
I have to tell you, I missed out on opportunities to date while getting my professional degrees. It happens. Some opportunities couldn’t be helped. But others I wish I would have taken advantage of. Now I’m going to say something that I usually wouldn’t say because of how it could be taken out of context, and maybe it’s because I’m getting older…slightly, but we’re only young for so long. Enjoy the opportunities you have to get to know someone new, until you find the person who doesn’t make you sad that you stopped dating.
Call me a traditionalist, but there are times when I feel like the kind of dating that I have been talking about is on its way out the front door. Chivalry and kindness. Bravery and courage. Boldness and fervor. Dating can be an art if you treat it like one. Men, women, I plead with you. Reform how we date each other, and I promise you, not only will you have a lot of fun, but they will respect you above the coffee date. I mean…I really hope they do.