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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Turning Down Dates

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm turning 16 this week and I’ve been very excited to start dating and to get to use the advice that I had read about on your column. I had talked to a lot of guys that I have been interested in from Church, but unfortunately no definite plans have been made.

The reason I am actually emailing you that I was actually asked out by a non member guy that I really have no feelings for at all. If I go out with him it would be my first date.

And quite honestly I don't know if I would want to date him at all let alone have him for my first date. Now I have read all about how to get guys to ask you out and the rules for dating, but I’ve never read about when it’s ok to say no. This leads to my questions...When is it ok to say no to a date? Is it ok to just say no just because you don't want to date them? and How to do it in a way that won't hurt their feelings?

Thanks so so much,


Dear Guilty,

At 16 dating shouldn't be limited to only guys you're interested in.

Casual Group Dating is not about the guys you "having feelings for"; it's about practicing social skills and having fun. Unless a guy is Creepy or Scary, so long as he's willing to follow the Dating Rules, I think you should go.

Now, he may very well be Creepy or Scary, and that's certainly a good reason to say "no thank you". But "not interested" and "not good for my social status at school" are not reasons to turn him down.

As far as how to turn him down gently (should he fall into one of the acceptable categories), as I see it you've got four options.

1. Hedge your bets. Tell him that you only go on Casual Group Dates and that he'll have to follow Church standards and some additional rules. That alone might be enough to turn him off. When he hears that you expect him to Plan, Pick up, Pay, meet your parents before hand, and have a Good Group together, he may just decide you're not worth the effort. (No offense.) But it may also be a big risk. It may just motivate him. (Guys do like a challenge, you know.)

2. Level with him. Tell him he's a nice guy and all, but you're just not interested in dating him. You'll have to be clear; anything less and he may start stalking you. He'll probably get hurt, but if you deliver the news in a nice way, then it will be easier for him to get over it.

3. Get a date with someone else. Call a guy you know and say "so and so just asked me out, and I've told him I might be busy; can you or one of your friends put together a Casual Group Date and ask me out? I'd SO much rather go out with you." This one has its obvious benefits, but it does require some courage. If it means anything, the Jo Boys have gotten this call . . . a lot.

4. Lie . . . sort of. Not a big fan of fibbing, but sparing someone's feelings can be more of a Christian act (IMHO) than brutal honesty. Frankly, I'd rather you say "I can't" and leave it at that (even when he pushes for an answer), than "my parents said no" or "I already have plans . . . forever!", but if your parents are willing to help you out (and, believe me, we often are more than willing to help you avoid bad dates), you may find that "my parents said no" isn't really a lie.

"Mom, Dad, can you please tell me that I can't go out with this guy on Saturday?"

"Sure we can, honey."

Not exactly a lie, right?

But, again, before you say no, make sure you have a better reason than just being a snob.

Because, and trust me on this, those girls that are too stuck-up eventually don't get asked out by any of the Good Guys, if at all.

- Bro Jo


Christopher Cunningham said...

Bro Jo, perhaps this is kind of an out there comment, but while I agree that YSA's should say no to date those they think are creepy, for teenage casual group dating, I think you might have a surprisingly good time with someone that seems creepy at first. If dating is to learn social skills than those brand new sixteen year old boys may have learned zero so far, and any reasonable person would look at them as kind of creepy. Of course they're creepy! They've never had a chance to learn how to be uncreepy. Now if they're scary, that's a different story. Just my two cents.

Dave Johnston said...

excellent point

- Bro Jo