Hanging Out vs Dating
(This was sent into us by one of our viewers)
Tiffany’s excited but feeling a little anxious, on her first day working her new job at the popular restaurant she has just been hired at. As she spends time cleaning the counters, trying to be as productive as she can, a fellow employee approaches. Joe, is a college student and attends the local university, BYU-Idaho, just like Tiffany. Following a very short and concise hello, Joe blurts out, “Tiffany, I know I don’t know you very well, but do you want to date?!” Tiffany replied with a confused, “What do you mean?” Joe adamantly replies, “date!” “You mean go on a date?” states Tiffany. At this point Joe’s heart is pounding and sweat is beginning to bead on his forehead. He’s quickly loosing his confidence, as he says, “Yeah that’s what I mean.” “Ok,” comes the reply from Tiffany. With obvious surprise, “really?” comes from Joes’ mouth. “Yes,” again comes the reply from Tiffany. According to Tiffany, the date did not go any smoother than the awkward ask out went.
This is an all too familiar tale for many BYU-Idaho students in the dating scene, especially with the increased emphasis on dating caused by Elder Oaks’s may 1, 2005 address to the youth of the Latter-day Saint Church calling for the youth to go on dates rather than “hanging out.” In the address Elder oaks gives a definition for hanging out by stating, “Hanging out consists of numbers of young men and young women joining together in some group activity. It is very different from dating.” Elder Oaks widens the chasm between dating and hanging out even more with his definition of dating, “Unlike hanging out, dating is not a team sport. Dating is pairing off to experience the kind of one-on-one association and temporary commitment that can lead to marriage in some rare and treasured cases.” (Oaks, 1) There is unarguably a very real difference between “hanging out” and dating. Now it’s up to me to decide which one will be most helpful as I meet girls and search for a girl I can connect with.
Warren Buffett, one of America’s riches men, gave this advice, “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.”(brainyquote.com) As a college student with a very limited income, money is about as rare as days where the high temperature rises above 50 degrees. Between tuition, food, and having a place to live, I’m not left with too much spending money for recreational activities, such as dates, especially when I’m expected to pay for myself and for my girl of choice for the evening. As an alternative I could invite a group of girls to go to a comedy show, or concert, or any fun activity where everyone pays for themselves, while we still have a great time. Hanging out can also save us from uncomfortable situations such, as when the check is brought to the table on a date. The girl feeling guilty goes for her purse, while the guy has to animatedly affirm that he’s “got this one.” Sometimes a girl without a strong background in formal dating, will not even be sure who is suppose to pay, she’ll ask herself, “is he paying, am I paying, are we going dutch?” situations such as these, over money, can really put a damper in the date, and could be avoided completely by hanging out.
Contrast I have, on more than one occasion I have heard girls at BYU-Idaho mention how they enjoy having a guy pay for them, in many ways it resembles the financial co-operations married couples live by. Girls who are looking for a potential spouse can not help but be impressed by having one man pay for everything the entire night. Us guys don’t need to be Warren Buffet either, to be able to pay for a date. There are many date ideas guys can use which are either free or very inexpensive, such as flying kites in windy Rexburg, or even going sledding on a nearby hill, which are plentiful in Rexburg as well.
Just like Tiffany’s experience being asked out and the actual date, they were made uncomfortable, because she hardly knew Joe. I’m sure Joe would admit as well that asking out Tiffany maybe wouldn’t have been so choppy if he already had a friendship with her. Brittany B. a BYU-Idaho student stated her feelings about not knowing her dates previously, “dating a guy before I get to know him as a friend makes the dating experience awkward, I’d rather get to know him at least a little as a friend before going on a date with him, it makes the date more comfortable.”(Brassel) What kind of guy or girl would ever want to experience the discomfort of an awkward date? Having been on blind dates where I don’t really know the girl at all, previous to the date, makes things a little gawky for both of us. If Tiffany and Joe’s story could be rewound giving Joe the chance to ask Tiffany to hang out with him and a group of friends rather than going on an official date, Joe probably would not have been so unpolished and Tiffany would have been able to get to know Joe without any pressure.
If you were to ask most guys if they’ve ever been in the “friend zone” before they would probably give you a laugh or chuckle followed by a yeah. The friend zone is where you are interested in a person romantically but they don’t share your feelings, and it’s like swimming against a powerful current, to try and get out of. Guys are terrified of the friend zone, but one of the easiest ways to get dragged into it is by not letting a girl know clearly that you’re interested. An invitation to go hangout with a group of friends can easily be interpreted by a girl to mean, “Hey I’m looking to make some new friends and nothing more than friends, do you wanna go hangout with me.” To avoid the “friend zone” I have to make my intentions completely clear, and asking a girl on a date will say loud and clear to her that I am interested in her romantically.
One of the most humbling experiences a guy can have during his life at college has to be rejection from the opposite sex. Jessica Gower a BYU-Idaho student and writer for the Scroll student newspaper shared some of these experiences. “Now for the big date. You are watching a movie with a girl of your choice. You wouldn’t mind holding her hand. Rat’s her arms are crossed. Maybe you can slyly… wrong. There’s your first hint. Did you miss it? Rewind. Her arms are crossed. That’s it. Her arms are crossed, that’s a pretty big sign that she’s not that into you.”( Gower, 23) Dates with their rigidness and formality can make me feel like I’m playing a grueling game of chess. The game is between my desire to show my interest versus her lack of ability to decide if she likes me or not. Even something as simple as holding a girl’s hand can be mentally exhausting trying to make happen. If I was able to hang out with this same girl without the title of a “date” and everything that comes with that, and just do something fun in a laid back environment, she will definitely be herself. This would make it easy for me to decide if I really do like her and also to read whether she’s interested in me or not, turning a mentally exhausting game of chess into an effortless game of tick-tack-toe.
On the flip side, girls are attracted to confidence and assertiveness, and logically if I let fear of rejection keep me from asking a girl out, I may lose my chance completely to pursue a relationship. She may get bored of my lack of courage and give up on me. According to the national census on average age of marriage in 1980, about the time my parents were married, the average age for marriage was 24.7 years for men, and 22 for women. As of 2003 the age has increased to 27.1 for men and 25.3 for women (http://www.census.gov). I’m sure that has increased even more by today. Along with that, birth rates have decreased among Latter Day Saint families. Most of those who are part of the dating scene at BYU-Idaho have marriage and children on or near the top of their list of things to accomplish in life, but according to the census, this isn’t happening until later in life and for some not at all. The culprit for this trend may actually be hanging out. According to Elder Oaks, “Knowledgeable observers report that dating has nearly disappeared from college campuses and among young adults generally. It has been replaced by something called “hanging out”(Oaks). As one of those young adults spoken of by Elder Oaks, I must admit that excessive hanging out, especially when fueled by fear of rejection or commitment, will not help me find Miss Right. At some point I do need to ask girls on dates, but hanging out can be a very feasible way to meet girls and decide if I am interested prior to asking them on a formal date. I guess I’ll really never know for sure though, until I give it a try.
(This was sent in by one of our viewers and does not reflect the opinion of byuidating.com)