Over the past few years, many social observers have noted that young adults are dating less. Instead, dating is being replaced by “hanging out” with members of the opposite sex. Dating and hanging out are two completely different things.
Hanging out consists of people getting together in groups and doing stuff together. It could be going to a club, a restaurant, or just staying home and playing Wii. The atmosphere is relaxed and relations among opposite sexes never rises above the level of friendship (or friendship with benefits). There is nothing wrong with hanging out, but it is not a replacement for dating.
Dating consists of pairing off with someone in a temporary commitment so you can get to know the person better and perhaps start a long term relationship with them.
Why the decline in dating?
There are probably lots of factors that have contributed to the decline of dating amongst young adults. Here are few possible ones:
1. Young adults don’t like to commit. It seems like people in my generation aren’t big on making commitments to people or to organizations. Generation Y is too busy trying to “find themselves” in order to commit to anybody or anything. Companies have complained about the turn over rate of Generation Y. Companies invest lots of money training new employees only to have them leave after two years so they can find a new job. This reluctance to commit has carried over to the interaction between the sexes. Young adults don’t want to be tied down to someone just in case they get an itch to go on a backpacking trip to Europe.
2. The internet has retarded Generation Y’s social skills. Instead of telling a person directly that they’re interested in them by asking them on a date, Generation Y sends Crush alerts on Facebook. While the internet has made connecting with people easier, it has also made us lazier at establishing meaningful relationships. If you’re over 18 and you’re still using Facebook applications to let someone know you’re interested in them, you need to be punched in the face.
3. Feminism. Before I receive the wrath of all the feminists telling me it’s a typical man thing to blame women for the decline in dating, I ask that you hear me out. I think feminism is great. It’s great that women can choose to have a career, be a stay-at-home mom, or do both.
But it does make things confusing for men. Navigating relations among the sexes is a bit more tricky today. Men have all these questions go through their head: Who asks? If I ask, will she think I’m too forward? Who pays for the date? Do we split the bill? All these uncertainties cause men to avoid dating altogether and opt for hanging out with women instead.
4. Men today are wussies. Men today aren’t very resilient. They don’t know how to handle rejection or failure, so they avoid rejection or failure by not asking women out on dates.
A lot of men today don’t seem to believe it, but getting hitched to the right woman is a very desirable thing.
So while there is nothing wrong with hanging out, it’s not a replacement for dating. Dating is the pathway to finding your true love and eventually settling down and getting married. Marriage is a one on one relationship, so you need to start getting to know women on a one on one basis. You might be hanging out with her and your friends right now, but if you don’t take her on date, she’ll forever be just your friend. So, start dating and stop hanging out. It really is not that hard to get a date with a woman. Here are some guidelines to remember as you take hanging out up a level to dating.
So, you’re ready to start dating and stop hanging out. It really is not that hard to get a date with a woman. Here are some guidelines to remember as you take hanging out up a level to dating.
1. She wants you to ask. Despite the rhetoric you hear about the liberated woman, women still appreciate it when a guy asks her out on a date. They like when men take the initiative. I’ve heard lots of successful young professional women lament the fact that men don’t ask them out. They’re beautiful, smart, and charming, but don’t have a man. Be a man and ask these women out.
2. Asking is easy. Asking a woman out on a date isn’t rocket science. When you ask, though, do it in person or over the phone. If you’re poking a woman you’re interested in on Facebook, you lose any credibility as a man.
3. Keep dates simple. Dates don’t have to be huge, expensive affairs. Keep it simple. If you want to keep things informal, ask her out for lunch or coffee. If you want a more romantic date, invite her over to your place and make dinner for her. She’ll be impressed that you know how to cook. The whole point of dating is to get some one on one interaction with a person to find out if she is someone you’d like to start a long term relationship with. Simple and frequent dates will assist you in this.
4. Prepare for rejection. Face it. Not every woman you ask out is going to say yes. Prepare for that. It’s no big deal if she says no. Think about it. You’re no worse off getting rejected than you were before you asked. You didn’t have a date with her before, you don’t have a date with her now. Your situation has not changed.
5. Just do it, damn it. So what are you waiting for? Quit reading this post right now and pick up your cell phone. Call a woman and ask her on a date. Stop hanging out and start dating. Stop being scared of commitment. Commitment is liberating, not confining.
I expect a lot of debate on this post. Please keep the conversation civil. It’s possible to disagree and still be a gentleman or a lady about it.
Image from DeborahK.