Why I Did NOT Kiss Dating Goodbye: Guest Post Michelle Acker

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The countdown of Top Posts of 2011 on All Groan Up nears the end with the #2 post of the year.

#6: 62 Ways You Know You’re Becoming All Groan Up

#5: Top Websites for GenY Twentysomethings

#4: The Facebook Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making – Guest Post Therese Schwenkler

#3 {video post} The First Contraction: Lives Forever Change for Two New Parents

#2: Why I Did NOT Kiss Dating Goodbye: Guest Post

Michelle Acker

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Picture by the very talented mother of five, Amanda Tipton

 

“Dating by definition is awkward.” Has there been truer words?

Michelle Acker – the guest postee on All Groan Up of Do We Have the Wrong Expectations as Emerging Adults completes the the guest post two-fecta with this fabulous piece about the woes and joys of dating.

If you’ve ever dated, Eharmonied, or “grabbed some coffee,” you will be encouraged by the recently married Michelle Acker.

Why I Did NOT Kiss Dating Goodbye

When I was 14, I read a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye and right then and there, I decided that I wanted a Joshua Harris kind of guy to come knock on my door, ask for my hand in courtship and then off we’d go to live happily ever after. However, 10 years later I started to realize that in fact is not very realistic, at least not for many people I know.

Dating by definition is awkward. It’s filled with ups and downs, accompanied by text messaging and facebook friend requesting and clicking the eharmony “closing communication” button. I think it’s pretty normal to have mostly just-ok-kinda-mediocre first dates and maybe a handful of great dates that turn into second dates. But probably more often than not if you’re like me, you have had more nights where you wonder why isn’t there anyone to date?

I could go into a long, sociological and cultural explanation about the changes in dating and relationships over the past 30 years. However, the fact is, our generation is getting married later than ever before. Thus the dating process has been prolonged, and therefore the need to learn how to date has also increased.

Why Didn’t I Say Yes?

I remember after I graduated from college, a nice guy* from work asked me to grab dinner later that evening. I fumbled with my words and said something like umm, I’m not sure if I can. My roommate was appalled. “He just asked you to dinner, not to marry him for goodness sake! Why didn’t you say yes?” Good question.

The truth is I could have given you a list of reasons why I didn’t really like this guy or why I wasn’t sure about this or that. But, how could I really know if I didn’t even give him a chance? Dating takes practice and it may mean being open to someone who doesn’t initially meet your laundry list of expectations.  But let’s be honest, who wants to be with someone who can be defined by a list anyways. People are complex, beautiful and diverse. Of course I’m not advocating that you don’t have expectations or standards. In fact, just the opposite; I think it’s wise to have thought through the kind of person you want to spend your life with before you start dating. However, I think our generation is at risk of spending so much energy and time talking about dating, and analyzing personality types and relationships, that sometimes I think we have forgotten how to date.

It seems that because we have grown up with access to information and knowledge that our parents never had we have succumb to the false belief that we can work hard, and make something happen with the right person. Ask yourself: Do your expectations and ideals of how dating should be, keep you from learning and enjoying what it is?

I know too many single people, including myself, who will make excuses and find something “wrong” with every potential date. In truth, dating is how we get to know someone else, but maybe even more importantly it’s also an excellent way to get to know yourself.

Focus on Being the Right Person, Not Finding the Right Person

What if we spent more time focusing on being the right person, instead of finding the right person? Imagine for a minute, what would happen if we viewed dating as a way to become a better person?

My advice: Become the person that you would like to date. Learn to be interested in others. Learn how to ask questions and how to share about interesting things in your life. That said, make sure you have something interesting in your life to share. Be involved. Serve others. Play on a team. Take a class. Be courageous enough to respond with a phone call if you expect someone else to do the same.  Learn to laugh at yourself. And know at least one good joke to tell. Be willing to try something new, but also speak up when you don’t like something. Nobody wants to date someone who is pretending. Focus on being the right person, not on finding the right person.

I mean think of the odds, if you keep saying no to dating, it seems pretty hard to say hello, to marriage, right? Dating can be fun. And if nothing else you’ll have some wonderfully hilarious and embarrassing stories to tell.

*authors note: I think there should be apologies to all the Mr. Nice Guys in the world who had the guts to ask her out, only to receive a lame response and rejection like mine.
_____

Michelle Acker is a “California girl with a Guatemalan heart, who is finding out that living life in-between can be somewhat complicated.” Find more Michelle at http://simplycomplicated.me/

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17 Comments

  1. Sarah Noonan

    This is great advice. Opening myself up to the idea of dating is most challenging aspect for me. I’m trying, but it’s challenging – especially because so much seems subject to the other person’s control. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way, so thank you!

    Reply
  2. Branden

    Loved reading it. my beliefs exactly!

    Reply
  3. Michelle

    Now I just wish it wouldn’t have taken me 28 years to learn this…

    Sarah, I agree. One of the hardest things about dating is it feels like it’s out of your control. And the truth is, it is… well, at least half of it.

    Braden, thanks!

    Reply
  4. admin

    So much I appreciate about this guest post.

    1. Having grown up in a youth group that heralded Kissing Dating Goodbye as words straight from the Big Guy’s mouth, it’s nice to see some vindication. If us teenage boys weren’t scared enough to talk to a girl, throw in the idea that we must “court” girls, not date them, and you have a complex fit for a Jane Austen book.

    2. Becoming the right person is the key to finding the right person. Truth!

    Reply
  5. HopefulLeigh

    “The dating process has been prolonged, and therefore the need to learn how to date has also increased.”

    I hadn’t thought about this before but you are quite right! Great thoughts.

    Reply
  6. Tanya

    Love this post, Michelle! Amazing, this is exactly the way I’ve felt for a while, so it’s great to have your thoughts kind of knock me over the head. Lol.

    “Focus on being the right person, not on finding the right person” says it all. Thanks for a great post. 🙂

    Psst…@Sarah, I see you up there! 😀

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Tanya, so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve had good friends who have had to knock me over the head countless time and remind that “dating is just as much as an individual process as a shared one.”

      What I mean is that I had to learn to change my attitude about dating (the individual part) before I was really able or willing to be get to know someone else (the shared part).

      All the best,
      Michelle

      Reply
  7. Sarah Noonan

    Hi Tanya! Yes, thanks for introducing me to this great blog!

    Reply
    • Paul

      Aww shucks…Thanks Sarah. And thank you Tanya for being a Groan Up advocate!

      Reply
  8. Tanya

    Yeah, no problem! And glad you love the site, Sarah. ^^

    Reply
  9. Holly

    As someone who has been discouraged by the dating scene lately, this is a huge encouragement. I’ve had so many bad dates, and it makes me wonder when there will be one that finally goes right, but I have to remember I’ll never discover that if I don’t press on. In the meantime it’s best to enjoy whatever is that happens, and welcome it when dating shows potential. This article sums up everything I’ve been thinking.

    Reply
  10. Michelle

    Holly, I think you’re right…the truth it seems like a lot of dating by nature is disappointment, which is not necessarily fun or exciting. But I think the thing that always helped me is to remember that you are not going to be dating forever- it’s a season, and I believe there is something to learn in every season. And then one day when you are dating the right person, the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, I think you start to appreciate how some of those dates (be it the good ones or the bad ones) actually helped shaped you to be the person you are!

    Reply
  11. Gregg Michaelsen

    Solid advice on being the right person first before finding the right person for you. As cliche as it may sounds, we can’t love other people if you don’t know how to love yourself.

    Besides, we’ll realize how hard it is to find the right person if we’re having a hard time being one. Makes you appreciate relationships more.

    Reply
    • admin

      Thanks Gregg. So true.

      Reply
  12. Camielle

    I loved that book and I too wanted a Joshua Harris to sweep me off my feet but alas I too soon realized a relationship isn’t about meeting a guy who matched my list of expectations to a tee but someone who met almost all my needs, loved me unconditionally and willing to work with me through whatever we faced.

    I loved this article – just 3 advice points and so true and simple. Forwarding this on to my single sister.

    Also I think these key points are can also apply to the job you want or career you want in life. Have realistic goals about your career, take up opportunities or look for opportunities that may not be what you want as it could lead to new opportunities or skills and focus on being the employee you want to be not what you think you deserve.

    Reply
  13. Michelle

    Camielle, I know I think Joshua Harris had us all fooled : ) Glad you liked it and thanks for passing it along!

    Reply
  14. Miriam

    I Soooo agree… I remember reading Joshua’s books and realizing some of the stuff sounded a bit far fetched . It was not realistic .Don’t get me wrong he had a few.good points but it doesn’t work for everyone.

    Reply

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