Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dates: When you Reject One

I have this little philosophy.

Always accept a first date unless you know a relationship would never develop.

Pretty simple, right?   

Yet, the jury is out on this one.  I've heard two other philosophy's that friends try to convince me of:

1. Always accept a first date.
2. Never accept a first date unless you know a relationship could develop.

I am also often mistaken for much younger than my rickety ole truth.  My circumstances in life and my situation are in a different world than, say, a 23-year old.  That does not mean I write them off, I do try to give each a chance.  But let's say you are in your second year of college, live with your parents, have no job, have no vehicle, and still have the bright and dewy deer-in-the-headlights eyes looking at the "big, grown up world."  We, most likely, are not ever going to have a relationship.  More severe is someone in that situation over the age of 25.  Do I accept a date invitation?   Do I let him spend his hard-earned few dollars (or allowance) on me? 

One man friend of mine argues that a man isn't necessarily interested in a romantic relationship when he first asks on a date, simply in getting to know the young lady better.  I see the point.  But I asked this of the same man friend:  He is a sweetheart, but I'd interacted with him enough already to know we weren't the best matches for each other.  YES, I did judge based off of "position in life."  YES, I did judge based off of aesthetics.  The sum of the parts makes the whole right?  Do guys like it better if a girl "just gives me a chance."  Or do they prefer to not waste their time on a first date?  Because I am fully prepared to go on every first date extended if you honestly believe it really is better to go on one date even if you know it isn't going anywhere.  I mean, if there are three strikes in my head before I even go out with the guy, why do it?

He responded: "...The one time I've actually been turned down for a first date, even though the girl's excuse was likely legitimate, crushed my fragile little ego.  Of course I got over it, went out there again...Dating is SUPPOSED to be about making personal connections with people, that MAYBE evolve into romance.  I think so many of us focus on the latter part of that process, though, that we forget about the FORMER.  Was this guy interested in making you his "sweetie pie" right off, or did he just want to get to know you better?  I know a lot of guys go into a first date hoping to start a long-term dating relationship with a girl, but I don't know that everyone does on EVERY date.  All I can say is that I understand your reasons for saying "no," I know how much it sucks to get turned down, and, as a culture, we take the first date WAY too seriously."

I don't take a first date seriously, truthfully (I wait til date three of four before I start truly wondering about the future), but if I know (c'mon, when you know, you know, right?  We've all been there...) there is never a chance, should I go? If I am not physically attracted at all?  If I find conversation awkward and pointless?  If I'd have to be his sugar momma?

Jury?  Verdict?


jeff said...

I agree with your man friend. I wish that girls ascribed to the philosophy that, unless they are currently dating someone or would for some reason feel unsafe on the date, they would say "yes" to all first date invitations. Even if you know someone pretty well, if you haven't been on a date with them you really don't know them as a potential dating partner.

miss kristen said...

How do you know there isn't a potential for a relationship to develop unless you give them a chance first?

I agree with Jeff 110%. Any guy who deems you worthy of spending his time with deserves a first date at the very least. Yes, I understand and agree with the examples you gave-no one wants to train their boyfriend, but aside from that what have you got to lose? A night out with someone new and an opportunity to forge a relationship-romantic or otherwise? Some of my most favorite people in the world are 'one date wonders'-but don't be misled, I've had a few doozy first dates and hilarious stories that go along with them!

Mr. Wonderful and I were talking about this the other day, and he brought up a good point; no matter how tough he looks asking out a pretty girl is hard. Being rejected straightaway makes it even harder to ask other girls out in the future.

So even if you aren't interested, just think of the service you are doing to the other girls who are interested in him. :)

Janell said...

I use to go with the philosophy to never turn down a first date and to try to keep an open mind about my prejudgments.

Yet often my gut instincts were correct based on what interactions I'd had with a guy before. And then I'm left after two or three dates ('cause I tend to like to think that everyone can have a bad night) wondering if starting to say "no" now is any less painful than if I'd said "no" in the first place.

On one hand, I used the word "often" that my gut instincts were correct, I can't think of an instance where my gut was wrong. On the other hand, there were a lot of guys I thought, "Hm, maybe," and it turned out to be a "definitely not."

Aaron said...

I'm all for guys asking girls out and the girl accepting. However, if she already knows him really well as friends before, and/or already knows of a major trait/flaw that is a deal breaker for her, then she shouldn't waste either of their time.

Miss Megan said...

I think it's unfair to both sides to have a blanket rule. I tend to take things on a case-by-case basis. I very rarely say no, but when I do, I make sure the man knows how flattered I am.

What's worse? Saying no to a first date, or saying no later after he's decided he likes me and I'm not interested? Seems to me, anytime you say no (or a man stops calling) it's going to hurt. There's no easy way to approach dating.

Cinderella's-ma said...

For me, it depends on why you are rejecting the date. Since I always felt like a date would lead somewhere else, I did not want to end up in a relationship with someone who did not have the same goals as me. For example lets say a guy hates children, doesn't like my religion, plays video games all day and has no intention of getting a job. I am not going to date him. It isn't nice to put his hopes up and it isn't nice of me to tell him that he has to change everything for me, because, let's face it, he will have to if we ever get married. If you are turning down a guy, because he is a little odd or not your, "type" you could really be missing out. I don't know how many of you are married, I am so my perspective may be a little different, But my husband was nothing I expected. He is wonderful and has the same goals and perspectives as me, but we are two different people. He is even from a different country, something I never thought I would do. But we are super happy and have four awesome children. I only rejected dates that I felt like I was in danger, they were unkind or our goals were so different it would never work, but those were extremes so I guess I said yes a lot, and only married one of them

Dashbo's no-brainer math for right-brained folk. said...

I don't know which philosophy I subscribe to. As I am not a girl, perhaps it doesn't matter. But I will say part of the fun of asking out a girl on the first date is the gamble of putting myself out there to see if I "win." If I knew she would always say yes, then she might as well be a robot.

I don't usually get rejected for first dates but it has happened. Did it hurt? Yes. But those times have really given me opportunity to man up, reflect, and improve. If a man is a fragile little sapling, he doesn't become a sturdy tree without the hard times. By saying "no," you may be doing an even bigger favor to the next girl.

Ladies, do you want boys or men?

Anonymous said...

I follow the philosophy that you should always accept a first date unless you're worried harm could come to you--and I don't mean boredom by harm, lol. If any of us are serious about finding a good relationship, I think we need to prove to God we're willing to take a look at every situation. Lately I've been going on a first date with the attitude of finding out if there isn't something about the man I didn't know that I would find interesting or intriguing. I try to delve into several areas (music, movies, philosophies, etc.) to see if I really am or am not a match for this person. In doing this honestly, we're giving the guy a chance to see whether or not he matches up either. I've been on a date where we both chatted and both left feeling fine that it wasn't a match. On that date, I didn't feel any particular interest in the boy, but I wanted to prove by experience that was the case.

Second dates I'll say yes to if the experience was at least fine. People are nervous on first dates, seconds give them a chance to show you they aren't that awkward (or that they are). If you're still just not interested after date 2, it's then usually I start to say thanks but no thanks. But the majority of guys can usually see this. The few that aren't, well, if all of us girls followed this philosophy, they'd at least be brave enough to ask for a first date, and then maybe eventually the guy you are looking for will have the courage to ask.

But I totally understand the feeling of "why bother if I 'know' I'm not interested." Story of my dating life... ;)

Doug Marsh said...

Frankly, I think a lot of people have a distorted image of the importance of a first date. Turning somebody's offer for a first date because you don't think there's relationship potential there seems somewhat foolish to me, for two reasons. First, it puts the cart before the horse. How on earth are you supposed to know whether there's potential for a relationship with somebody before you've spent time with them on a one-on-one basis? Second, it leaves an awful lot riding on two or three hours. That results in a lot of unnecessary pressure on both parties, increasing the emotional cost of dating (and, typically, the financial cost, as well).

The long-term relationship calculus needs to be relegated to its proper place: the long-term. A first date is an offer to take a few hours and do something fun. Absent some other conflicting reason why you have to turn somebody down (be it a prior commitment, or where you are already in a relationship, or whatever else), you should probably not turn down an offer for a first date except where you're fairly certain the experience will be an unpleasant one. Save the relationship consideration for the second date-- and maybe even the third.

I'm not saying my experiences are the ideal example for everybody else, but I went to great lengths to keep the pressure low on the first few dates with the girl I'd eventually end up marrying. I actually found out later that she didn't even consider the first few dates we had gone on to be "dates." They were planned, paired off, and all that, and I wasn't lazy in thinking of stuff for us to do, but for the longest time, she didn't think what we were doing was any different from hanging out with her friends, except that I was the only friend with whom she was hanging out. The fact that we were so comfortable around each other one-on-one factored very heavily in her decision weeks later that there was future relationship potential-- and she assures me that it was a very close call.

Enjoy dating for the sake of dating, and there will be a lot more of it going on. Worry about whether it will go anywhere with one particular person later, once you know more about them after having spent time with them. In the meantime, enjoy the dinner.

Julie said...

You have some long comments here...I don't believe much in karma, but I have learned that karma is real in dating. Always accept the first date, unless there's a HUGE prompting to not go. The current philosophy about dating has changed, and many people are on the fence about a lot of the rules. No more of has everything to do with karma. Done.