Have you ever been on a date without knowing you were on a date?
It is always interesting to me when a guy asks a girl to spend time with him, but he doesn’t clarify his intentions (most guys are vague about their intentions). Here is what I mean, most girls think that if a guy asks her to hang out with him, or if he invites her to do something fun, he either just wants to be friends or he does this sort of thing with all the girls. Their vagueness is probably because they think that if they asked girls out on dates, they would say something terrible like, “Ew, gross; why would I ever go on a date with you?” Fear, rejection, the unknown, and the stereotype that all women are “Man-Eaters,” makes dating a little confusing sometimes. It also doesn’t help the situation that most women, are like I was – oblivious to when a guy is interested in you. Most girls have been burned in relationships. And, at one point or another, most girls have thought a guy liked them only to find out that he didn’t. These experiences, even if they happened in grade school, teach a woman to never assume that a guy likes her or is interested in her until he either asks her on a date or he tells her he likes her.
When I was in high school this guy from my karate class asked me if I wanted to “hang out” sometime. First let me clarify that I was not attracted to him. I was not interested in him romantically, but I was nice to him as I feel everyone ought to be to everyone. Therefore, I assumed we were friends. Just friends. We were probably more like acquaintances if I am being honest -because I didn’t know anything about him – but that’s beside the point. Friends “hang out,” romantic interests go on dates.
Of course I understand that it can be hard for a guy to ask a girl out on a date. Shoot, it can be intimidating to just talk to a woman, let alone make yourself vulnerable to rejection. But wouldn’t you rather ask a girl out on a date than take her on a date without her knowing that you thought it was a date? Especially if you had a great time; wouldn’t you feel better knowing if she was interested in you versus just thinking she was “hanging out” with her guy friend.
It was my junior year in high school and I spent the majority of my time golfing. I was trying to earn a scholarship to college and since I didn’t learn how to play until I was fourteen, I had a lot of catching up to do. In the off-season I decided to learn karate; I thought it would help with my balance, posture, and core strength, that and I thought it would be really cool to break boards with my bare hands! There was a guy in the class who – after sparring with him one day – I found out that he went to my school. He was a little shy and socially awkward; I kind of felt sorry for him because he didn’t seem to have too many friends. Any time I see someone like this, I try to compliment them somehow or do something else to sincerely validate them.
One day after class he asked me if I wanted to hang out with him… I thought of it as an opportunity to show him more of Jesus. I was always thinking this way. Whenever I spent time with people, I hoped that they would see how important my faith was to me and how loving God is. So when this guy asked if I wanted to “hang out,” I thought, sounds great. He said we should meet at Red Robin; I was addicted to their all-you-can-eat steak fries, so it seemed like a harmless way to get to talk to someone.
While we waited for our food, I asked a ton of thought provoking questions (yes, I was the same way even as a teen). Before I could share my faith with him, he randomly told me that his mom hates Christians. Wow, this was not exactly the way I saw the conversation going. To help ease the awkward silence that was ever-present while we ate our dinner, I made several attempts to make conversation and tried to make him feel less awkward. Truly he looked like he was uncomfortable and desperate to leave… so you can imagine my surprise when our server came to our table to ask if we needed anything and my “friend” said something to the waiter along the lines of “and my date would like…” WHAT DID HE SAY? Whoa, waitt. I didn’t know we were on a date. He never said it was a date. My head started spinning. Now what?
Well, now I knew I had to have a somewhat unpleasant conversation with him sometime before I left the restaurant to let him know that I thought we were just friends and that is all I ever saw us being. From that point on, I just tried to play it cool and to eat a bit faster. No big deal. The date will be over soon and everything will be fine, and then this bad non-date date got worse. He began to talk about how he loved to perform magic tricks and he asked if I want to see some. I thought it would be a good diversion to my thoughts so he pulled out his cards. I thought it would just be a simple, “pick this card and I will tell you which card you have” kind of trick… oh but it wasn’t. He pulled out cards alright, but he decided he needed an audience. During one of his card tricks (yes I said one because there were several -he did card tricks until the bill arrived) there were at least 6 servers surrounding our table and drawing attention to us. At any given moment there were six servers surrounding our table watching his tricks and listening to him refer to me as his date. I was a teenager. I was embarrassed and confused. I was only trying to be nice to someone who looked like he needed a friend.
I learned a lot from that non-date date. I learned that it is hard for guys to ask a girl out on a date. I learned to clarify when guys asked me if I wanted to “hang out” sometime. It’s okay to want to ask a girl on a date, it’s also ok to let her know that it’s a date. If not, it it’s okay too, but I think ladies deserve to know what the guys’ expectations are for the evening. I also learned to encourage guys as often as possible; they have insecurities too and it doesn’t hurt to give them an occasional encouragement boost.
*This gorgeous featured photo is courtesy of: Jonathan Mold