Last week I overheard one of my guy friends make the comment, “There’s just no good girls in town to date.” The ironic, and I think unfortunate, thing about this statement is that he said it in the company of several single, godly, perfectly lovely girls. Now, I don’t think he meant to be hurtful to the ladies in the group, and there could be legitimate reasons why he wasn’t interested in pursuing any of these women. But I ran into one of these girls a few days later, and she mentioned how hurtful it was when she heard his comment. “I feel totally overlooked and as though he must not consider me the kind of girl who he would date. Really? No good girls out there? What am I?”
I’ve heard my guy and girl friends say this kind of thing, and I’ve definitely vented this sentiment in a moment of dating angst. It can be frustrating to be ready to pursue marriage but to find yourself lacking anyone to actually pursue or who you hope will pursue you. But the thing is, this kind of over-generalization doesn’t help anyone. We end up hurting each other when we assume that just because we’re in a dating slump or haven’t met anyone who has caught our eye in a while, that there must be no one available.
I found myself nodding along as I read this post on LoveAndRespectNow.com (remember when Lisa interviewed Joy Eggerichs and they talked about unicorns?) In her post, Emily set a goal for herself to not make any negative over-generalizations. She explains, “I became aware of how often I’d casually throw in ‘I hate how women are always…’ or ‘The problem with men is…’ in everyday conversation. As much as I proclaimed hope for positive interaction between the sexes, or for healthy romance in my future, I wasn’t really speaking like I believed in it. It’s easy to be cynical. It’s not hard to find a few experiences that have really hurt you and draw conclusions based on those. But rather than saying, ‘This person’s behavior hurt me’ or ‘I need to set a boundary for my own health,’ or ‘I didn’t understand you, can you explain?’ we say, ‘Women are just too emotional’ or ‘Men don’t want to commit’ or ‘There aren’t any good guys/girls left out there!’”
I’ve found that dating is no different from any other relationship interaction in that it gives us the chance to believe the best about one another and offer grace when people hurt us. I wrote about this in a previous post and how what we put in the gap between our expectations and reality matters.
“Because dating, well, every interaction with humans, but especially dating, offers us many chances to grow up into healthy, mature, responsible people. There were times when a certain guy would say he would call me, then didn’t. That hurt. But when I made a tiny choice to say ‘it hurts to be rejected’ instead of ‘men just don’t follow through anymore,’ I was choosing to grow.”
Do you find yourself making generalizations that aren’t really true or fair about the opposite sex? Have you ever set a goal for yourself like Emily did?