How do you #justadate?

4:50 PM

“Nah man, I’m not going to take her out! I don’t want to lead her on!” my roommate was telling me. “Dude, it’s just a date!” I combated. “How is she supposed to know that?” he quipped.

One of the most challenging aspects of the dating culture here at BYUI (and many other places) is the idea that a date is seen more like an invitation to court (or be exclusive), rather than just a fun opportunity to get to know someone and be kind to those around us. That’s why we push for #justadate. But maybe part of the problem is that we don’t know what #justadate actually looks like. We’ve heard these questions:

“How is the girl supposed to know that it’s just a date?”  

“What is the guy supposed to do so that he doesn’t inadvertently express more than friendship?”

“On the girl’s end, how should she respond if she wants it to be #justadate?”

“What should each person do after the date?"

While each situation is going to be a little different, here are a few principles that you can include in your dating methods that will help you send a clearer message that it is #justadate.

Don’t be too flirty or touchy
Guys, it’s fun to flirt and tease girls, and while that’s all good and fine, it can definitely send the wrong message to your date. If you want your date to know that you value her friendship and that’s as far as you want to go (at least at this point), reign in some of your flirtatious comments. This is NOT to say that you shouldn’t compliment how she looks when you pick her up (it’s gentlemanly to acknowledge the effort that women put into looking good for a date), but what it does mean is that you don’t linger on it and you don’t look for every possible moment to compliment her and how she’s making you feel.

Just as important is that you avoid touching her too much. Touch (especially on a date) is often interpreted as a desire to be close to someone and that you are interested in becoming closer to that person. That means that other than a goodbye hug at the door, you want to keep touch to a minimum. “What if I’m a touchy person?” you ask. Guys, even if you are comfortable with more physical touch, think about the message that it is sending to your date and how she’s interpreting it. If you don’t want her to think that you’re head-over-heels for her, avoid being too close to her physically.

Ladies, this section was addressed to the gentleman, but the principles apply equally to you! Avoid coming across as too flirtatious (constantly catching his eye, laughing at everything he says, and over-the-top excitement at the possibility of another date) and touchy (such as touching his arm, leg, etc.). 

Don’t hint at future dates
One common mistake is that, at the end of a fun date, guys might feel pressured to ask her out again. If you are interested in getting to know her better, then feel free to drop a hint (“Hey, we should do this again sometime.”) Just be sure not to act too eager.  If you are not sure you want another date, then it’s okay to thank her for the super fun date and to say that you’ll see her around. Because it was #justadate, you don’t have to ask her out on future dates, so don’t hint at it unless you are planning on it. Girls, the same applies to you. A hug goodnight and thanking the guy for taking you out, is sufficient. Don’t linger waiting for him to ask you out again and don’t bring it up unless he does. 

Go on group date 
Although group dates are not necessary, they can help. Group dates are nice because they are usually interpreted as an opportunity to have fun with others and thus it inherently takes some of the edge of “wanting to be more than friends” off. Make sure to apply the same principles mentioned above. 

Keep the date short and simple 
The longer the date and the more one-on-one time you have with your date, the more it can be interpreted as you’re being interested in the girl. Guys, even if you ARE interested in being more than just friends, too much time can also be uncomfortable. So, keep your dates under an hour and a half. To better understand this idea, check out 3 Ways to Mess Up a First Date 

What do you do after the date? 
If sending a post-date “thank you” text is something you do, that’s fine. If you do, it doesn’t have to imply that you want further dates, but just that you had a good time. However, if you said you had a good time at the end of the date, a follow-up text may not be necessary. If you do get a follow-up text that gives you the impression that he or she wants to keep going on more dates, but you were happy with just the one date, then a simple “thank you” text back works. 

Also, in regard to other post-date communication: you should give it some time before you contact that person again. Contacting too soon suggests that you are eager for another date. If the guy or girl you took out is on the fence with how they feel about you, your eagerness may push them away. 

With all of this said, remember that #justadate is about meeting new people, being kind, and having fun. Applying these principles will help you send the message that your date was #justadate and will help you avoid leading people on. And, perhaps, maybe if we all #justadate more we can help make a positive change in our dating culture! 

-Chad Olsen

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