In our grandparents’ era, for the most part dating was simple. Two people would be in an monogamous relationship and it would be labeled as such to the outside world as both people have come to that conclusion. But nowadays, young people are avoiding being in relationships and dating for that matter. I must admit, that my views on dating have changed from being old fashion since starting college to more ‘radical’ but I still think that people should engage in some level of the process, in order to learn about themselves and learn from other people. Below are the terms and rules that I use in reference to the dating process:
Shotgun effect: Throwing yourself out there to/hitting on lots of people. The best way of doing this is to not have a care in the world. First step in finding prospects. “If you throw yourself out there enough, at least one person will get hit/take the bait”.
Prospects: People you would like to date.
Dating: Going on dates to get to know people. Dating multiple people at the same time is acceptable but you have to make sure that each date knows what the deal is so they don’t put all their eggs in one basket. Your status during this time is single.
Hooking up: Making out and/or fooling around with people you are dating. Does not include sex and is meaningless.
Seeing: Dating one person. You have eliminated all of the other options down to one person you really like. You let them know that they have your focus and that you are only seeing them, however your status during this time is still single. During this time, commitment to each other is really tested; whether the two people acknowledge their single status or not. You only have milk and cookies (sex) with people in this level and the following level.
In a Relationship: I have no verb for this but this is when the single status changes to taken. I also reserve this level of the dating process for two people who are in love, or think they are. This level is a test to see if love can really conquer all because the next step is marriage in my book.
Now with the society in which I live, I have come to the realization, that they don’t view the dating process in the same way. The terms that most people use are:
Friends with Benefits: On the same level of the following term, “talking”, but one does not progress from this level. This is level is just sexual fun between two friends.
Talking: When you are texting/talking to someone you like but aren’t quite dating them yet. This is a level above friends and again a level below dating. You are single in this stage.
Dating: Early stages of an monogamous relationship. I believe you are no longer single at this point.
In A Relationship: Fully committed to that one person and now the titles of “girlfriend”, “boyfriend” and/or “significant other” are attached.
I was recently told that there is also an unnamed level between friends and talking/friends with benefits. I guess that means there are two friends who have an attraction towards each other and act on it but to an extent, verbally and physically. Comparable to my definition of hooking up, but the person claimed its more of a gray/weird area that the term “hooking up” cannot fully encompass.
But regardless of the rules, levels, and titles, it seems like relationships, whether my definition or the common definition, are hard to come by. As I get older, I realize that my generation becomes more self absorbed in the struggle to be successful that no time is available to worry about someone else. And I agree with my generation on some extent, however, to be with someone, doesn’t mean you have to “worry” about that person and put in effort. If you have gone through the dating process that I have defined, being in a relationship means that the person you have chosen, compliments your life and makes it easier whether it be a laugh when you need it, food when you’re too lazy to get it yourself, or fostering your dreams by pushing you to achieve them. Being yourself should be the most effort put into any relationship and the person you have chosen should only bring out the best of you.
I think my generation is very quick to reject caring people who approach them because they are scared to let someone in, showing their true nature to someone else. Granted, sometimes you let yourself be vulnerable for someone you think is worth it and in the end they break your heart or they have you unhappy throughout the whole relationship but that’s the learning curve of life. Just take the warning signs that you learned in that relationship and be wise when dealing with someone else but don’t completely reject them, everyone deserves a chance (and in some instances two chances). Dating is a way to learn somethings about yourself while learning from other people and to have fun while you’re young (and sometimes while you’re old). I challenge my readers to do a couple of things:
1. Open your eyes and see who cares for you the most. It may be the person whose willing to wake up early just so they could wake you up on time, the person who is willing to cook for you just to make sure you eat, or the person who asks about your day, actually listening to what you say.
2. Once you realize who the person who actually cares for you is, erase the word “thirsty” and attach the word “genuine” to any and all thoughts of that person.
3. Give that person a chance and allow happiness into your life. And if there are multiple who you think care for you, give them all a chance and begin the dating process (as defined by me).
*Sidenote: one is not a hoe, slut, or trick for getting to know multiple people at the same time. Remember this process (dating) does not include sex*