In the Signal Office, we’re always bouncing ideas off each other, the walls, the ceiling, and the topic of dating came up last week. It appears that dating has slowly become a fading habit rather than a common practice to be replaced with the new trend of “hanging out.”
Gone are the days when the boy shows up at a girl’s door with flowers and asks her “Will you be my girlfriend?” — that age old question that makes the heart flutter, the cheeks flush and the soul swoon.
Nowadays, actual communication is being replaced with texting, Facebook, Snapchat Instagram and all sorts of various technologies, asynchronous and simply not the same as picking up the phone and actually talking with your significant other.
There was a certain charm to looking forward to that hour-long call each night, wrapping the telephone cord around your hand as you pull as far as it will go in an effort to gain some privacy (mind you, I still have to do this!). You’d giggle and laugh as you went back and forth with, “I love you- no I love you more- no you hang up,” until either you fell asleep or your parents yelled at you to free up the line.
There is no more of that, and instead people don’t even want to commit anymore. I’ve always been a one guy at a time kind of girl, but the general practice now calls for one to be seeing multiple people at the same time, get to know them better and then make a decision.
I can definitely see the benefit to that, since it lets you figure out if you have chemistry with someone before committing, but it can also lead to complications. Too often someone in the friendship ends up getting hurt since it is very easy for one of the members in the relationship to come across as unclear due to miscommunication or over-emotional scenarios.
To avoid this, if you are seeing multiple people at once, be open with them. Honesty is the best policy. If you’re really serious about a boy or a girl, even if you’re not ready to commit and want to explore your options, you owe them the courtesy of informing them as such so they have the liberty to explore their options as well.
Jealousy can be a nasty emotion, so if you do make the choice of seeing various people until you find the perfect match, don’t throw a hissy fit when they choose to do the same. If they find someone they feel ready to commit to, be a lady or a gentleman and congratulate them.
Then come the questions — what’s the difference between ‘hanging out’ and ‘dating’ someone, and when can you make that distinction? The answer is simple: when you sit down and discuss how you feel about each other, specifically stating that you’re choosing to be monogamous or polyamorous or whatever else you choose to be.
In my book, the moment of commitment is when you go from being more than friends to actually dating. Yes, the conversation can be shy and awkward, but it’s much better than the hurt of miscommunication. If you like someone, man or woman up and take that step forward into “The Talk.”
Even if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of bringing up the subject, it is better than the alternative of being kept dangling. If someone cares, they won’t dangle you but will be clear about their feelings in regards to you.
It’s as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee in a private corner of a coffee shop somewhere where you can either gloat or mope in peace upon receiving your answer and asking, “Are you interested in making a serious commitment to me? I understand you want to keep your options open, but time is something precious, and I’d for us to both be wasting our time.”
If they refuse to answer you or play about the subject, the ultimate decision is yours to make regarding whether they’re worth keeping around or if you want to move on. In the end, all that matters is how you really feel about someone.