Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Date, or not to Date, that is the Question

I remember the first time I ever really crossed paths with "dating." I was in the 5th grade. Yeah, 5th grade. Spider Man 3 had just come out, and I was a HUGE Spider Man geek fan at the time. I was talking with some fellow guy classmates, who were all planning on going to see it together. I'll never forget my shock when they asked when my parents could drop me off and who I was going to "ask out." We were a bunch of 12-year-olds in the 5th grade, and they were already going to movies alone, asking girls out. To me, none of it made sense.

Today, I go to movies alone or with a little brother or sister pretty often. I no longer need my parents to go to a movie with me A) because I'm so freakin' tall that no one would DARE threaten me just cause I look like a giant and B) because I'm almost 16. I can sit somewhere for an hour or two on my own and not have an issue I can't solve on my own. My biggest crisis yet has been whether to snag a good seat or wait in line for a box of candy.

But one thing that hasn't changed since 5th grade is my "relationship status" for all you Facebookers out there. I have remained a single guy and intend to stay so for a while longer.

To some, what I'm saying seems nuts. As a friend of mine said in a similar post of hers a year or so back, "Why not date?" Allow me to give a brief rundown of my witness  to the dating world: Part 1) guy gets interested in girl, or vice versa. they talk for approximatley 10-15 minutes and then, if things seem to hit off well, its an instant relationship. Part 2) New couple changes Facebook status/breaks the news and everyone is so happy for them. You'd think they had forever pledged themselves to each other. Some of them do. Part 3) Couple goes on dates: skype chats, movies with friends, hanging out at the local ice cream shop, the mall, etc. It seems like anytime they appear in public, they're together. Cute right?

Hmm, maybe.

But the sad thing is that's where most relationships end. Some girl attracts the boyfriend because she's newer than his girlfriend, or they just decide commitment's run its course and its time to move on. Que rants from friends about how jerky the person who just broke up with their friend is. Enter in new matches for each part of the broken couple...

And hit the repeat cycle button.

We live in a world that is devoid of love and stability. We who haven't been blessed with a loving spouse (yet) or feel like we don't have a constant, unconditional display of love in life, look for it anywhere we think it could be. And while its a sad statement on society, its a real thing. So what do us teens plunge in for? Dating. Forget friendships, where you're focusing on knowing the person more than focusing on the romance. Bring on the full-fledged, life-long committed relationships and bam, your problems are solved.


The problem is, meeting someone and instantly going out with them is like putting diesel fuel in a sports car. You turn on the thing and the engine revs like a monster truck. Then you get 2 1/2  miles down the road and your engine burns out. In the same way, immersing yourself into a serious relationship before you've even "test driven" it so to speak, is going to burn out your connection as quick as used metaphor. And lets face it, like it or not, we teens have raging hormones. Being in a time or place where you're trying to find your true identity while keeping things cool with a person of the opposite gender is a bit too much to put on our plates, when we also have school and lives to live.    

I have a friend who's a girl I met over the blogosphere about a year and a half ago. We started e-mailing, and e-mails turned into instant messaging over google. IM'ing turned into voice chat, voice chat to phone calls on birthdays, special phone calls to texting, texting to skyping. That list also includes Facebook now. And the ironic thing? We're JUST FRIENDS. People laugh at us when we say that because it seems seriously odd. A guy and a girl, who are close in age and have talked for over a year, NOT going out? Long distance relationships are so, like, totally romantic :D We just smile and let it slide. And honestly its been more enjoyable to just talk to someone, regardless of  what culture would demand us to do because we can talk whenever and enjoy a friendship without worrying about trying to honor a serious commitment in such crazy schedules as we have.

So is dating worth it as a teenager? Well, I don't know. There are wholesome Christian couples out there who are trying to keep God in their relationships at all time. But I think its safe to say that friendship has a whole lot more friendship, and a whole lot less raging hormones in store for you. ;)


  1. Hi Caleb! It's Carolyn, and while I'm sitting here in the library, procrastinating writing a philosophy paper, your blog popped up on my facebook I figured I'd check it out! Why not add one more thing to my list of procrastination? =)

    Anyway, I felt the need to comment on this particular post of yours. Growing up in my family, whether this was fueled by religion or not, my parents stressed boundaries- especially to me, their "fearless" child. As I got older this became the boundaries between the sexes, and although at first I couldn't fathom why they wouldn't let my friend, who happened to be a boy, hang out in my room with me, it eventually made sense. I didn't do all that much "dating" in high school, in fact the first boyfriend I had was post-highschool, even if there were semi-serious flirtations before that.

    The first real boyfriend I had, we got very serious (emotionally) very quickly, and I think this is relatively similar for most people. A "first love" so to speak, even if in hindsight you realize it wasn't really love. Although I often wish I hadn't dated this particular guy at all, I also know I learned many valuable lessons from that relationship. I've also learned something important from each relationship since, whether it be just a flirtation reminiscent of high school or a long term relationship.

    I suppose my (long winded) point is this: dating is important. The first person someone dates is rarely the best person for them, but every relationship is important in it's own way, if you're smart about it. You learn things you can't stand in a partner, and things that are relatively necessary. So take your time, definitely, and when you do start dating don't lose yourself in it: keep your values, and definitely keep your head on straight.

    You're a smart kid, and I'm sure when you (and perhaps your parents) do decide it's time to start possibly dating, you'll do just fine. Remember, no matter what those around you are doing when it comes to dating (as you were citing your peers) you're not dating for them, you're dating for you, and you have your own rules and your own standards.

    As far as opposite gender friends are concerned, they're the best. People will always question whether or not you're "just friends" but you'll get used to it. And honestly, sometimes those friendships do morph into great relationships. But once again, you're'll be able to figure out which is which. =)

    OK...I suppose I should stop bothering you now and focus on axiology. I hope you're doing well!

  2. Love this post Caleb! Can I have permission to link to it on my blog? Please email me as I have another question for you too!
    forhisgloryhandiwork (at) gmail (dot) com