By Kristen Buccigrossi
Here is a glimpse into what the dating world is like right now: The past few months I was talking to a nice gentleman. There was semi-regular texting/Snapchatting happening, to the point that feelings developed.
I was asked out on a date by this gentleman, but we decided it was best if we just kept it low key and watched a movie instead of going out. After that, there was a shift in the “relationship” and no follow-up with that originally planned date.
Still talking on the regular, I called him out on it multiple times and he just kept avoiding the question. Finally, I got to the point where I couldn’t take the ambiguity anymore and asked him what was up.
He fessed up that while he did have feelings for me, he was not ready for a serious relationship, and a date would be leading into that.
Here’s something that they do not teach you in school: Life is not like “The Bachelor.”
Relationships take time to develop. Dating is supposed to be a fun way to have a night out on the town and get to know someone.
Why is it that we live in a society where there is no middle ground; either you are sleeping with someone, with no guarantee of ever dating/marrying/calling them in the morning, or you are in an extremely serious relationship where after two months you are living together, spending your weekends at the Home Depot and picking out the next dog you want to adopt for your new little family.
While most singles hate the awkwardness of dating, it is an absolutely necessary part of life if you do not want to grow up to be a hermit. If you like the hermit life, playing TV game shows by yourself, spending your Friday nights at the grocery store with your binder of coupons and owning a million of cats that you make outfits for, mazel tov to you!
If not, you have to attempt to put yourself out there and date. I know you may not like the sound of it, but hear me out.
Here’s why dating is necessary before calling up Elvis to get you hitched in Vegas:
1. Hate to say it, but looks mean something when it comes to a relationship.
If this is a set-up or a Tinder/internet meet-up, does he match your friend’s description of a younger, hip Tom Hanks, or does he look more like a douche form of Justin Bieber with a Kate Gosselin hair cut?
This is your chance to see if he truly does look like Ryan Gosling circa “The Notebook,” or if he googled that image and really looks like PeeWee Herman.
2. Habits: You cannot have a relationship with someone via text.
You have to see what they are like in person.
Do they chew their food like a cow? Do they burp, fart, wheeze, have weird and random bodily functions? Do they chew their nails?
Weird, gross habits that you might not necessarily think of until you get up close and personal with it. Necessary things that could make or break a relationship or gross you out for all eternity.
3. This is the opportunity to see this person’s personality.
Not only do you get to see if they have the traits that could potentially lead to them to being a serial killer, you can see if you mesh well with them.
It is better to find out if they can handle a “that’s what she said” joke now, rather than five months down the road when you’re watching “The Office” with no laughter coming from the other party. You are looking for a Jim, not a Ryan.
4. How well do they interact with other people?
Are they using manners with the waiter/waitress or just barking orders? Now is the time to take mental notes of how they behave with complete strangers.
If they are rude to someone who they have never met before, how do you think they are going to act with you down the road? Please and thank you can go a long way in telling you if you are dealing with a crazy person.
5. S*** is gonna get weird.
There is always a bit of awkwardness to a first date. Or a lot of awkwardness. Hell, I barely eat in front of my family half the time, so to put me in front of a stranger and tell me to eat while getting to know them is beyond exhausting and nerve-racking.
That is why it is always good to get out of your comfort zone and see how things could potentially go. Make the weird fun!
6. Last but not least, dating is supposed to be fun!
Dinner and a movie is so typical and doesn’t offer up any talking points other than the movie itself.
Find something different and interesting to do that will make it less like a job interview. Go out to a baseball game, try a paint night, take a tour of a museum, and, my favorite, mini golf!
Keep in mind: Dating is supposed to be a fun learning experience! Not only are you learning about the other person to see if they can mesh well with you, you are learning about yourself. What you do and do not want in a person, what you want to get out of a relationship, and what are your limits.
Bonus: You get to meet some nice people while doing it!
In the end, if it doesn’t work out, that is fine. Take what you can from it and use that towards your next experience. Just remember, they are missing out on someone awesome!
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Kristen Buccigrossi is a writer whose work has been published on Huffington Post, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Unwritten, and more. Visit her website for more.
This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.