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Friday, August 9, 2013

How Can a Return Missionary Start Dating Again? (The Don't List)

Dear Bro Jo,

I just got off my mission 2 weeks ago and I want to get back into the dating scene again but I feel a little nervous about going out with girls again (I still have the missionary mentality here by the way).

What advice can you give for Recently Returned Missionaries?

What is the best way for someone to start dating again?

-Recently Returned Missionary

Dear RM,

The best way to start dating is . . . ask a girl on a date.

That's it, bro.

No need to make it any more complicated than that.

If it helps . . .

Bro Jo's "Dating as a RM - The Don't List"

  • Don't sit around waiting for a light to beam down from the heavens and a voice to boom "thou shalt date this one!"
  • Don't only date girls you already know really well.
  • Don't limit yourself to a predetermined picture, look, or body-type.
  • Don't make a first date out to be a bigger deal than it is, no matter how smitten you might be.
  • Don't feel like you have to make it a big production. A simple walk through the park and get an ice cream is a great date!
  • And don't sit around doing nothing, making excuses or refusing to leave the safety of your own little sofa.

50 dates a year, RM. That's what I recommend.

That's one a week.


I understand the culture shock . . . but I'll tell you now the best way to jump out of the airplane is not to linger at the door. Take a deep breath, buckle your chute, and GO!


And go have some fun!

Remember:  Serious Single Dating is:

1.  Serious, in that you're not playing around anymore; the dates themselves should be mostly fun and casual
2.  Single, because you're too old to be hanging out or going on lots of group dates; ward activities, dances, apartment movie nights and parties are great ways to meet lots of potential dates, but don't make these you predominant social activity
3.  Dating, meaning:  Get Out There!

Back to our list . . .

  • Don't forget that Communication is the key.   Which means . . .
  • Don't leave her guessing; be man enough to use the word "date" when you ask a girl to do something.  Be Upfront:  tell her that you don't expect the first few dates to imply any kind of commitment, that you think she's a neat girl (or whatever you non-gray-haired people say) and you'd like to get to know her a little better.
  • I think it's helpful if you Don't Kiss on the first date or two (three dates is my general rule) so that nothing gets confused.
  • And don't use girls for your physical needs; kissing is fine; holding hands is recommended (even on the first date); but that Non-committal Make Out thing happening on campus is not cool.

It's Friday.  Go make a date for this weekend.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

To the question asker: are you in a place that is predominantly LDS? A place with a large YSA ward/stake? Are you at a church school? Small town? Knowing where you are would be helpful so I can give more specific advice.

Bro Jo said...

@ Anon,

All of those sound like excuses to me. I don't see that any of those things matter when it comes to the Don'ts.

Now . . . if you're hoping you can narrow down where this RM is so you can do some setting up . . . THAT I strongly endorse!

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

If he goes out with a different girl every week won't he get the player rep? That's a turn off for a lot of girls

Anonymous said...

He won't get the player rep from me (girl). I don't even understand why there is a player rep. How is this being a player? I've heard of sooo many guys having this happen to them and it makes no sense. At the very least, with the worst definition, a player is someone who isn't making a commitment because they don't intend to; a guy who intends to date quite a few girls a time or two isn't a player--he can't make a commitment before then. It could be a turn-off to me if I know a guy who has dated the same girl for a year and still isn't more serious, but knowing a guy has just dated a few girls a few times? No.

Anonymous said...

That depends if he goes out on 3 consecutive dates with a girl the kisses her and moves on to the next girl then he'll get that rep. If he goes out with many girls, doesn't hide that fact, and stops pursuing any other girls if there is one that he is more sure about then he'll be OK.
Also Bro Jo didn't say a different girl every week, just one date a week. Even married couples are
advised to go on one date a week, and those are definitely not supposed to be with a different
person each week.

Anonymous said...

@Bro Jo: I'm the first anonymous commenter. Relax, through the nose out through the mouth....don't go on an excuse-calling spree. I'm not telling him not to date. I just want to know what the area he's in is like. Dating in a place full of Mormon YSA's is different than in a place where there aren't many, especially nowadays for us non-grey haired folks.

@the second anon: it depends on the location, but sadly, yes there's a chance that happens. Girls want dates to be casual while expecting guys to not date so many different girls....that might make them not feel "special enough" or whatever. It's what happens when you have girls that aren't taught that their worth isn't measured by the amount of guys that want her. Or it happens when they watch too many crazy romance chick flicks. I swear that the equivalent to pornography for men is those ridiculous crazy romance chick flicks for women....

Bro Jo said...

@ Anon - I don't think you're telling him not to date, but it did (and it does) sound to me like you believe that there's a difference in the approach one can take based on where one lives or how many Latter-day YSA's are there.

Regardless of whether one is in a multi-stake town or an area where one is in the only branch for hundreds of miles, I stand by my list of don'ts.

Sure, the experience is going to be different, and we could probably agree that each would present it's own unique challenges, but the quantity of Mormons available for dating, or lack there of, does not mean that one should:

- Only date girls you know well
- Limint yourself to a paticular look or body-type
- Make a first date out to be a bigger deal than it is
- Sit around doing nothing
- Not use the word "date" when asking a girl to do something
- Try to kiss every girl on every date

See what I'm saying?

I'm not certain which side of the Zion Curtain you're on, but the truth is that whether or not one earns a reputation as a "player" has nothing to do with location, and everything to do with how you treat the people you date.

I think YSA girls OFTEN make too big of a deal out of a simple first date. (I sense you'd agree with that.)

And I agree with you (and have said so often) that we can all do a better job helping our sisters, wives and daughters to understand that their Individual Worth comes because they're Daughters of Heavenly Father and as such have Divine Nature . . . not because of whether or not they're in a relationship with some guy or lots of guys seem to think they're attractive.

Are girls' ideals of romance skewed because of watching Tangled and Pride and Prejudice so many times they can (and do) act out every scene from memory?

I think so.

But the hyperbole of equating it with porn is a bridge you get to cross without me.

I get your point, but it ain't the same.

- Bro Jo

PS: Thanks for your concern regarding my qi, but I'm quite relaxed. My focus does not need more focus.

Anonymous said...

You definitely need some time to adjust to dating after your mission. First things first is to learn to date again before focusing on specific girls that you like. My mission president told me to date any LDS girls for the first couple of months whether or not I was into them, mostly to learn how to date again. Then when I felt comfortable dating I would be more ready to date girls that I was interested in and I would have a better idea of what I wanted. One of the worst feelings as an RM is to be interested in a girl and not knowing how to date while there are other guys she goes out with that seem to be better at it. So I suggest you date any LDS girls that want a date for the first couple months. Then when you're better at dating you can focus more on the girls you like. Who knows, you may have found a girlfriend by then out of the girls that you took out just to learn how to date. But if you're still single then you can move on to those girls that fit your tastes better.