Let me set the scene for you. Imagine a town full of young, like-minded individuals who value family, faith, and self-improvement above all else. You’d think these 20-somethings would vibe pretty well. You’d think the dating scene would play out like a Nick at Nite sitcom. We’ve got it made here in Rexburg! A bunch of young adults looking for love in all the right places, right?
I’m not sure how it happened. Was it the evolution of social media? Have we become a generation so fixated on perfection and immediate results that we aren’t willing to play the dating game? Have Netflix binges and video game marathons replaced human-to-human interaction? Does the fear of vulnerability cause us to isolate ourselves instead of going out on a Friday night?
I really don’t know.
What I do know is we need a change. C’mon people, we can do better! Myself included. So, what’s the first step? How do we get from Cheetos and sweatpants on our own to Cheetos and sweatpants with bae?
I know, I know, I said the F-word, but we need to have an adult conversation about this. Flirting is the first step in the direction of a relationship and if your ultimate goal is to not end up sad and alone, you might want to listen up.
Scenario 1: You think a girl in your ward is cute. You’re nervous to ask her out because you don’t want to get ‘tied-down.’ You also don’t want the whole ward to think you’re ‘dating.’
Listen, going on a date does not mean you’re dating. Repeat, going on a date does not mean you’re dating. I get it. We live in a small town and you’re worried it might get awkward. But seriously, one date is not going to do that kind of damage. Politely ask her out, keep it casual (no extended road trips, temple sessions, etc.) and leave it at that. Or, go out again, get married, have babies, you know, the works.
Scenario 2: You are holding out for the perfect guy. Rexburg just doesn’t have what you are looking for. You’ve dated nice guys but you are holding out for someone ‘better.’
Hi, the perfect guy does not exist. Even Ryan Reynolds… wait, okay…nevermind. But, ladies, really, if you are holding out for a man that checks every box on your ‘husband qualities,’ list, you are going to be single for a long time. There are so many incredible guys here. Give them a chance! Ask them out. If you hold out for Mr. Right, he might walk right past you.
Scenario 3: You hang out with a girl all the time and you two are good friends. You start catching the feels. Not only are you annoyed at yourself for not being able to control it (newsflash, “feels” answer to no one!) you also don’t want to tell her and lose your friend.
Real talk, this scenario sucks. It’s scary to open up to someone you really care about, in more ways than one. Instead of trying to suppress how you feel, it’s better to be honest. Tell her. She might not feel the same way, but you’ll feel a whole lot better getting that heavy secret off your chest. And, who knows? She might be crushin’ on you too. Girls, if your guy friend opens up about liking you, and you don’t feel the same way, be kind. Don’t ghost him. Don’t feed him the ‘you are SUCH a great guy’ or ‘the girl you end up with will be SO lucky!’ That is the literal worst.
Scenario 4: You don’t date because you don’t like dating. So instead you pretend like you enjoy the loner life when in reality, you hate it.
Yikes! Haven’t we all been here at some point? Instead of trying to convince yourself that you are fine, how about you accept the fact that you are lonely and do something about it. We are human. We need people. Start with finding friends and get out there! There’s so much to do in Rexburg despite what newcomers might think. Join a club, get a job, participate in church activities or just go for a walk. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people are abnormally friendly here. Have fun, enjoy your college years, make friends, and if you find love along the way, lucky you!
Some final thoughts.
Try not to let the pressure of dating ruin dating. Like I said before, just because you go on a date with them does not mean you have to marry them.
Make sure you have your priorities straight. You are here in Rexburg to get an education. Don’t go out on a night you have a 10-page paper due. Obviously, dating is important but you know what helps? Getting a degree so you can make money to actually go on dates.
Please don’t compare yourself. Some couples get married after dating for 2 years, some get married after 2 months. Your best friend might have gotten married at 19 and now you’re 24 wondering, ‘where the heck is my man?’ Dating is not a race.
Lastly, don’t date for the sake of dating. What I mean is, don’t date because you feel like you should. If you aren’t ready for the demands a relationship requires, pause. Take time to get to know yourself. Focus on developing the qualities you’d like in a significant other.
You guys, dating is supposed to be FUN. Let’s toss the pressure, social stigmas, and fear. It’s time we refocus our dating perspective and get out there! Flirt. I will if you will.
Dating should be FUN. Get to know someone. Ask that guy/girl out. What do you have to lose?