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Friday, November 30

The News Is Depressing Lately

As I was reading an update on a sad shooting where a student took his own life in front of his peers, I peeked in at some of the comment boards.  So, whoever you are Jennifer B your words ring true to me based on what I've observed in my students,

"Maybe one of the problems is that too many parents are bullying their children, so they in turn bully others. Could it be that there is the wrong kind of teaching going on in the home, do we belittle our children without realizing it. Are we creating bullies. I vote for kindness, giving others the benefit of the doubt, forgiving others, and just being kind and loving, even when we have been disappointed."

Sunday, November 11

Dating: What Girls Need Guys To Know--PART 3

If I could, I might re-name my title "Dating:  What This Girl Needs Everybody To Know" but I'm too lazy to go through the blog posts and change it.  Sorry 'bout that.  On with the list of topics...

...We know it's just a date, not a marriage proposal.

I promise we do.  This should help you to freaking calm down.  I hate to patronize you by quoting prophets or anything so I won't.  You know you should be dating.  You know you should be getting to know us ladies one-on-one and not by spending time with a large group of people.  So, when you're with a large group of people and you'd like get to know one of them a little less superficially you have to make plans with them to do something conducive to getting to know them a little less superficially.

Do you know what I think when I go out on a date with someone?  I think, "Cool, he thinks I'm interesting enough to take a few hours out of his life to get to know me a little better."  So chill out.  We know it's just a date.  We are happy to go on them with you.  Please don't think that we have extravagant expectations.  We just want to enjoy your company for an hour or two and learn a little bit about you.  Hopefully you feel the same.

Stop hanging out with us and being our best friends.

Please, please, PLEASE stop doing this.  For women everywhere, I beg of you.  I'm not talking about being friends who spend time together occasionally and usually with a group.  I'm not talking about being friends and catching up every now and then or helping someone out.  I'm talking about the kind of friends where you talk/text frequently, where you share a lot of personal and meaningful stuff, where you spend lots of time together (I say more than once a week) and where part or all of that time is just the two of you.

It's very frustrating for a girl to feel like she is such a priority in your life, that she means so much to you (and that you've come to mean so much to her) but the dating thing is never going to happen.  Guys, why you do this, I will never understand.  I never know what to say to my friends when they run in to this problem, and believe me, it happens ALL the time.  The message you are sending to the girl is this:  I like you but you are not good enough to date me.  Stop investing so much time and energy into relationships with girls that you don't feel will progress into a dating relationship.  Either consider dating her or set goals to get to know girls that you would consider dating.  I'm sure it's much easier to just keep doing what you're doing, to stick with these girls you are comfortable with and make you feel needed and oh-so-good about yourself, but please know you are damaging them and causing you both to miss out on other dating opportunities.

I am very thankful to good guy friends who have been there for me but knew where to draw the line.  They have taught me that I can have meaningful platonic (spell-checker says that's how it's written) friendships with the opposite sex.

How we want men to treat us:  It's really not that hard to make us fall in love with you.

Simply put, on a date we just need you to be men.  We appreciate any time that you consider our feelings or needs and put them before your own.  When you sacrifice for us it makes us feel important.  When you spend quality time with us we assume that we are one of your priorities and it makes us feel good.  When you honestly plan or put thought into a date, that's super impressive.  

Let me give you a concrete example.  I went on a blind date a few weeks ago.  He was given my number from a friend on a Sunday.  He text me that Sunday night to say "hi" and see if I was  available for Saturday.  I was pleased that he hadn't waited until Thursday night to see if I could go out on Friday.  He told me he would contact me later in the week to figure out the details.  A few days later he called me to get to know me a little bit and find out what I liked to do.  During our conversation (15-20 minutes...not too long, not super short) I mentioned I liked cultural events and that maybe there was something going on in Salt Lake because Friday was Day of the Dead--a Mexican holiday.  The next day he researched all about the holiday and found several events we could go to.  He told me exactly what time I should expect him to pick me up, he said to dress warm/casual and listed off a bunch of restaurants in the area for me to choose from.  I appreciated that he had put forth the effort to plan something I would like and that he communicated what to expect.  What's more, when we went,  I could tell that he genuinely enjoyed it and that made me feel good.  By the way, the first event we went to wasn't actually happening until a few days later, I was glad that he had a plan "B".  About 20 minutes after he dropped me off for the night, I got a text from him thanking me for a fun night and saying that he hoped I had felt treated well and had fun.  

I was impressed.  If this is how he treats someone he barely knows, imagine how he must treat his friends and his family.  And so my friends, that's all it takes.  Be nice and be thoughtful.

How we show you we're interested.

If we want to see you again, we will say or do something to let you know.  We will go out of our way to see or talk to you again.  If you are constantly approaching us and never the other way around then we probably aren't interested.  Girls who are interested won't turn down a date, if they're busy they will suggest another time to go out because they don't want to miss an opportunity to spend time with you.  Girls who are interested will look you in the eyes and smile at you.  They will remember details about you. 

We probably spend way too much time thinking about how to let you know if we are interested without just coming out and saying it.  Why don't we just say what we're thinking?  I don't know.  I have found that just asking, "hey, are you interested?" isn't as hard as you would imagine.  It's better just to know.

Be honest (even painfully so) about your intentions and feelings the minute you realize we're not on the same page.

Let's talk about "leading people on" for a second.  This goes for all of us.  You've probably been on one or both sides of this unfortunate part of dating.  If you do not reciprocate feelings, just say it.  And the sooner, the better.  Don't beat around the bush, don't try to drop hints, don't try to soften the blow.  Remember, in dating, sometimes we only see what we want to see.  As obvious as you might feel you are being, unless it is super direct, there is room for interpretation or justification.  

Sometimes you might not even know what you feel for somebody.  Be honest about that too.  But the moment you know that you're not interested is the very best moment to say so.  The longer you wait to say something the more painful the rejection becomes.  We all know this is true.  Why do we wait so long then?  Why do we worry about being "nice" about it when either way the truth is gonna sting a little bit?  We wait because we are selfish.  Be more concerned with the other person's feelings than your own.  Rip off the band-aid.  Get it out there.

Remember, we get rejected too.  It's a two-way street.

You might hate what I have to say next.  If I had read this a year ago, I would probably hate it.  My perspective has changed somewhat since then.  Having said that, you have my permission to roll your eyes or just skip over the rest of this entirely, but I'm gonna say it anyway (in case you decide to keep reading)...

Embrace rejection.  Take as much time as you feel you must to be bummed out about it.  Fully accept that it sucks.  But then keep moving forward.  Disappointment is ok.  It's part of life.  It's normal.  It's usually out of your control.  Discouragement on the other hand, is under your control.  How you ultimately, not initially, react to rejection and failure says a lot about your character.  

Here are a few people who have said it better than I ever could:

If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.
-Thomas A. Edison 

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

- Steve Jobs 

Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.

-John Keats

Now, I know more of you are reading this than are letting on.  So leave a comment.  This is aimed towards dating in the LDS culture, so keep that in mind.  Are there any important points that I left off my list?  Guys, what would you want to include on your list?  Is there anything you disagree with?  Anyone have any words of wisdom?  


Sunday, November 4

Dating: What Girls Need Guys To Know--PART 2

Let's continue discussing some of these things girls want guys to know about dating.  Before we begin, will you please watch this quick little video?  It's right around a minute long.  We will come back to it in a little bit.

Be a focused dater--remember the purposes of dating.

I remember my mission president using an analogy once where he talked about "golpeando el aire"--punching the air.  He talked about how if a boxer can get in one really good disorienting punch to his opponent that's all it takes.  The dizzy boxer will keep taking swings to fight back but struggles to make contact.  With each wasted swing he loses more and more energy.  As hard as he is working to fight back, all he is really doing is attacking the air quite well.  That image of a disoriented boxer using all of his strength, swinging in the air, without making contact has always stayed with me.  There were times on the mission where I felt like I was just punching the air.  I was working SO hard but felt like I wasn't being very effective.  During those times I had to slow down for a minute, evaluate my work, remember my purpose and refocus and change some things.  I've heard this message another way, "work smarter, not harder".

How does that apply to dating?  Well I've known a guy or two who were so disillusioned with dating.  They had been dating like crazy, spending time and money on people and not feeling like they were getting the results they wanted.  Maybe their dating, frequent and frenzied, wasn't very effective.  Their dating wasn't helping them accomplish what they wanted to accomplish.  They needed to pause and reevaluate what they even wanted to get out of dating.  So, what do you want to get out of dating?  Knowing that will save you a lot of time, energy and money.

Dating won't be as scary/frustrating for you when you know what you want.

This point is very similar to the last piece of advice.  Just like you need to have a plan for what you hope to gain from dating experiences, you need to have an idea of what kind of person you are ultimately looking for.  If you haven't watched the video I linked at the top of this entry, go back and watch it or the rest of this section won't make sense to you.

Did you catch the tagline at the end of the commercial?  "It's easy to miss something you aren't looking for".  Everyone sees the moonwalking bear once they know to look for him.  In fact, you probably laughed at yourself for missing something so obvious BUT YOU WERE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE WRONG THINGS!  Guys, I hate to sound harsh, but sometimes you pay attention to the girls that are not what you are really looking for.  Stop counting passes and look for the moonwalking bear :)  Dating will be waaay more fulfilling for you.  This ties nicely into the next point... complain girls are all the same but keep dating the same kinds of girls.

Girls are just as guilty of this!  We say, "guys are jerks" even though we know that's not true.  Not ALL guys are jerks just because we keep going out with the insensitive or clueless ones.  So, guess what?  Not are girls are going to disappoint you or treat you badly.  Change it up.  Maybe you could even try to...

...consider girls that you haven't considered before--be open. 

This is a big one!  I have had several friends over the past year or so who have married guys that they were good friends with long before they ever started dating.  It took these guys a long time to sift through a bunch of distractions and realize they had something great right in front of them.  Don't discount anyone!  If you are worried about ruining a friendship, well, you're going to have to get over that because the two of you are not going to stay friends forever.  This is maybe just my personal opinion but I don't believe men and women can/should maintain meaningful long-term friendships successfully.  That doesn't mean I don't have male friends, it just means I don't really envision myself still being close friends with them ten years from now.  You are entitled to your own opinion about that :)

Well guys, there are a few points for you to consider.  What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree with any of these ideas?  Comment below!

Next time I'll be writing about these points:

-We know it's just a date, not a marriage proposal.

-Stop hanging out with us and being our best friends.
-How we want men to treat us:  It's really not that hard to make us fall in love with you.
-How we show you we're interested.
-Be honest (even painfully so) about your intentions and feelings the minute you realize we're not on the same page.
-Remember, we get rejected too.  It's a two-way street.