Monday, March 22, 2010
Great dating advice during last night's chat!
Every other Sunday night, Emily Shupert, a relationship expert from Atlanta, GA, leads a chat for Cache' Connections. She was on a roll last night - take a peak!
Emily: Fantastic group! Glad we are all here tonight and ready to go. Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend and now feel free to begin with any of your dating questions...one at a time :)
Guest 1: I was wondering if it's biblical to wait for the man to initiate the conversations and ask for dates.
Emily: Great question (Guest 1)! I don't think it is a Biblical or not Biblical either way...it is a personal preference. I think that this is something that you decide what is best for you. If we were to put the title biblical, then we might be tempted to spiritualize it and say that it is a "sin" if a woman asks first which I don't see anywhere in the Bible.
Guest 2: Emily-- How is (Guest 1)'s interest going to know she is interested in him?
Guest 1: I guess since men are supposed to be the leader of the household, it would make sense for them to also lead the dating relationship.
Guest 3: Sounds like what most women prefer.... Wonder how the men feel.
Guest 1: If we could see how they're leading the dating relationship it would give us insight into how they'd lead the marital relationship.
Emily: Yes, that is a great concern I hear many times. Yes, they are the leaders of the household but in a dating relationship, it isn't mandatory or Biblical to have him lead. What is Biblical is ask for what you need and want, having boundaries, and being who God made you to be in the relationship. Instead of Biblical (which can be synonymous with "wrong" or "right" you can ask...do I want to date someone who doesn't take initiative with me? You can ask, if it takes him 3 months to ask you out, do you want someone who takes that long.
Guest 3: Good analogy.
Emily: Many times as a Christian Counselor, I see men and women who are unable to commit to a dating relationship often lack the initiative needed in a dating relationship or they just aren't interested enough to ask out. Many times people say, "well, he isn't being Biblical and offering direction in the relationship. However, we must ask....is it that he isn't being "biblical" or "wrong." Or is he simply not interested?
Guest 1: Thank you for your thoughts.
Guest 3: Are there early signs to look for that would indicate lack of interest in the relationship or future commitment?
Emily: Guys and girls risk a lot of pride in relationships so in order for them to ask someone out, it takes a risk. If they aren't that interested, they aren't going to risk their pride.
Guest 1: I'd like to encourage men to take the initiative and be the leaders and men God made them to be. It's very attractive.
Guest 3: I agree (Guest 1).
Guest 4: How can you tell when they are interested but to afraid of rejection to ask you out?
Emily: Yes ... great question as well! Guys by nature are "hunters and gatherers" in relationships. They are naturally made to pursue after those they are interested in. If they aren't interested, they probably won't pursue you.
Guest 5: Yes (Guest 3), I know some that are very nice and social to me. If I suggest coffee or an event it lands on dead ears.
Guest 4: How can we encourage guys?
Guest 2: Encourage without pursuing them?
Emily: You have hit on something as well. A guy you are attracted to will make an effort. You Don"t Need To Work Harder Than They Do!!!
Guest 2: Good point!
Guest 4: Am I misreading the signs?
Emily: Yes ...you don't need to work harder than them but you also do need to let them know that you are interested. They aren't going to make the risk without knowing that they have a chance.
Guest 2: Another good point.
Emily: I think that (Guest 4) was reading the signs correctly....they didn't indicate that they were wanting to go out. and we have either two different ways to look at this:
1) they are not interested in you.
2) they are not forthcoming and are scared to risk their pride (which is a deeper character issue possibly resulting in low self esteem, lack of sense of self, and inability to express wants/needs). Either way you look at it, you win if you just let that guy go. :)
Guest 4: Thanks-- I didn't expect that answer. It makes a lot of sense.
Guest 2: I agree w/(Guest 4) sounds like time to look for someone who is more interested then.
Emily: Yes and many times women look down on a guy for not pursuing her like it is a character flaw. If he isn't interested, he isn't interested. That doesn't mean he is a bad guy...it just means that he is finding out what is best for him like you would do as well.
Guest 6: If a man asks a woman out in his singles group or other group at church, he risks a great deal. That may be one reason many men don't step up more.
Guest 2: Makes a lot of sense Emily!
Emily: Many times women will say "what a jerk" for not asking her out, but why does that make him a jerk? He just isn't into her and that is ok. Does that make her a jerk when she doesn't like every guy that she meets? Let's not make character judgments on people who aren't interested. Let's look at how we can focus on ourselves.
Guest 3: There are a lot of Christian Frogs in this pond, both male and female...so it seems hard to get to or connect with the one the Holy Spirit is leading us to. So each frog that does not seem interested in, that you thought would be a good catch...well that is God fine tuning your senses to discern what.
Emily: Yes, and we can't count it as being a total loss...we can see it as a situation where we can learn more about ourselves in the process. Every relationship is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.
Guest 2: I would agree....amazing how we learn so much about ourselves by the way we respond in a relationship.
Guest 2: And as you always say....learn about boundaries.
Emily: Let's look at how you can learn from every relationship with the opposite sex, regardless of whether they are a dating relationship or not. Yes, always learning!
Guest 6: I enjoy online dating because there is relatively little risk in asking, and at least a man knows they are interested in dating some man, at least, which isn't always the case at church. If I send a message and three weeks go by and get no response, I know she isn't interested.
Emily: Yes, online dating is an easy way to get to know people without the threats of rejection for sure....but then there comes a time to step out and take a risk to ask someone out.
Guest 4: Emily, I still have trouble making connections.
Emily: (Guest 4)....let's look at how you can get better results. Work smarter, not harder.
Guest 4: I'm all ears.
Emily: I suggest that you listen more and talk less on every interaction. I can pick up that you are sometimes outspoken which can be intimidating for guys. I suggest that you talk 25% and listen 75%. Even though it might not be norm for you, try it out.
Guest 4: Lol-- You read my number. I can also type pretty fast.
Emily: I suggest you ask questions about that person and that being the majority of your talking. Then listen...really listen. Not because you are thinking about what you are going to say next but listen for what he is really saying and be focused on him....he will appreciate this!
Guest 4: I've been told that I ask too many personal type questions.
Emily: Before trying this out with guys, I want to encourage you to commit the next 5 days to doing this at work and in your social life. See what response you get from others and you will see it has a profound affect on your interactions.
Guest 4: Ok.
Emily: When you ask questions, make them light and comfortable for the other person. Really personal questions are only appropriate for very close friends and not people you just met or in a social setting.People think about themselves mostly, whether they are Christians or not...this is universally true. So, they will appreciate you continuing that dialogue that is already in their head :) Ok, that was a bit sarcastic, but many people are thinking of themselves and you are able to engage with them. They want to know you care and that can't happen when you talk about yourself all the time.
Guest 2: That was good....people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Emily: Great quote...that is so true in my profession as well as for all of us as believers.
Guest 2: In the past you have mentioned intentional dating....any suggestions on what that looks like?
Emily: Intentional dating is when you make it clear that you are interested in someone and you make it clear. You don't say "let's hang out" but you do say, I would like to get to know you more and I'd like to spend some time together on Saturday night. Would you like to go on a date with me. Intentional dating isn't super intense like courting but it does honor the other person by letting them know that you are interested with your intentions, etc. A lot of people "casually date" and when there is a loss of interest, there is no need to "break up" because they were never dating in the first place. It is very gray for those involved.
Guest 2: I was just going to ask if there are benefits to casually dating....until you meet someone that you want to be intentionally dating?
Emily: I think that casually getting to know someone is fine in a group setting but when interest is expressed, it needs to go further into being more intentional if you both are really interested.
Guest 7: How about when the man picks you up and takes you out, spends time with you, pays for you, but does not call it a 'date'. Any distinction in that? or it does not really matter.
Emily: If it is one or two times like (Guest 6) said, that isn't a big deal but if it continues like that for over a month, I would consider having a talk about if you were intentionally dating or not. And yes, if you are intentionally dating someone then that is one person at a time...but if you are going on first dates, you can go out with several people in the same week....i don't see an issue with that at all.
Emily: Ok, guys and gals...it has been wonderful talking with you all tonight. I look forward to you all joining Cache and continuing this dating process as you grow personally and in your dating process!
Guest 2: .thoughts before you leave Emily?
Emily: Just a word of encouragement....be strong and courageous in the Lord and let Him shine through you! Good night folks!