I’ve heard from a lot of young women recently who lament that they’re in their mid-20s, and they’ve never been on a date. Having been mostly single throughout my 20s, I understand the frustration all too well.
First of all, if you’ve never been on a date, don’t panic. Going on dates isn’t crucial for marriage-minded singles. (I know several couples who married the first person they dated.) And the number of dates you go on doesn’t predict success in getting married either. Shortly after college, I had an older friend who would occasionally be asked out on a date. She told me matter-of-factly that one date was usually all it took to discern if she liked the guy and he had potential. She rarely (if never) went on a second date. She probably only went on half a dozen dates before she met and married her husband at 28.
Similarly, I didn’t go on my first real date until sometime in my early-20s and averaged one to two dates per year. If you’re female and have never been on a date (and would like to go on one), here are a few questions to ask yourself that may jump-start your dating life:
Are you getting out?
I always like to ask my single friends if they’re finding social outlets (rather than succumbing to the Netflix culture). Unless you’re using online dating exclusively, dates are usually generated by in-person interactions. Even if I didn’t feel like it, I often forced myself to go to a party or church group event to interact with people. For more than a decade now, “group dating” has been the new “dating,” so it’s good to stay connected socially if you hope to date.
Are you friendly?
While typically the guy initiates a date, there is a lot a woman can do to give him the encouragement he needs to ask. If there’s a guy you are hoping will ask you on a date, be friendly. “But I don’t want to come across as too forward,” you might say. I used to feel the same way. I wrote about it in “Boy Crazy:”
While the version of boy-craziness I had observed as a teen was unproductive and lacked self-control, I began to wonder if too little emotion toward guys was actually hindering me from developing the types of relationships that could lead to marriage. By guarding my emotions too carefully and avoiding any interaction with the opposite sex that could be considered flirtatious or forward, I essentially cut myself off from the benefits men could bring to my life.”
The truth is, guys appreciate friendliness from a girl. It makes their job a bit easier. This really came into focus for me when I “confessed” to my now-husband, Kevin, the times I had “made a move” by stopping by to see him at work or seeking him out at church to chat. He looked puzzled. “You did? Huh.” He thought nothing of what I considered to be borderline flirtatious behavior. But my actions helped to move our friendship along until he initiated that first date.
Are you saying “yes”?
If you’ve never been asked on a date, that’s one thing; if you’ve never gone on a date because no one who seems perfect has asked you, that’s another. Sometime during my 20s I decided that as long as I trusted a guy’s character and had a peace about the situation, I would go out on one date with him. I’m not saying you have to say “yes” to every guy who asks, but perhaps give someone a chance who you’re not 100 percent sure about. If nothing comes of it, just don’t go out a second time.
My sister-in-law, Anna, was pretty dead-set against my younger brother (two years our junior) when he asked her out in college. But she had coffee with him to hear what he had to say. Three years later they were married. Thirteen years — and five children — after that, Anna can’t imagine life with anyone else.
If you want to be married, but you’ve never been on a date, take heart. It only takes one good date to lead to a long-term relationship. In the meantime, take some steps to be more “date-friendly” and see what happens.