How to Date
When you’re just starting out, feel free to start light. Proms and other “big” events can be hugely expensive. Big school dances like that are nice in that they give you a set opportunity to ask a girl on a date or to see if you can’t get a shy fellow to ask you—and so forth.
But as a first date, they’re intimidating. You might have to spend hundreds of dollars. Prom is kind of a “big deal,” so going might be more nerve-racking than it needs to be—even if you go as a group date, which is appropriate.
|So see if you can’t start out small. Go to lunch instead of to a fancy dinner restaurant. Go out for ice cream. Go to a movie. Go to a church dance (the Mormon Church has them fairly frequently, and free). Go skating or sledding. See if you can’t figure out something you’d like to do and something your date would like to do that you have in common—and doesn’t cost too much.Be sure to plan—although spontaneous dates are good, they’re hard to do in groups without immediately turning into a group hang out. Know what you’re doing and when you’ll be doing it.|
And do tell your parents where you’ll be and for how long. In fact, you might find your parents pretty helpful in this case. It’s been years since they dated, yes, and fads and fashions are going to be different, but certain things are going to remain constant. Or, if you have an older sibling or cousin, ask them. They might know the area you live in pretty well—what’s fun to do, what’s overrated, what cheap restaurant tastes cheap and what restaurant actually serves pretty good food for your money. Mormons believe that families should help each other. What better opportunity! They’re likely to be happy to tell you.
Don’t go to places that seem at all iffy to you. It might be pretty obvious that going to a bar and club isn’t a good idea, but listen to the Spirit. Some places that should be safe might not be. Even school dances can turn weird. Just be alert.
Pray before you go. God can give you guidance on what to do, how to treat your date, and what options really might not be as nice as others. And He can prepare you against hard situations.
What if your date starts behaving a way that makes you uncomfortable? It does depend on the kind of uncomfortable. We all mess up socially and embarrass ourselves and others. It just happens—so we should try to be pretty tolerant of little upsets like that.
Now, if your date wants to proceed pretty quick to a physical relationship, it’ll help to know beforehand what you’re going to do. Making out on a first date really isn’t a good idea (in Mormon belief, heavy kissing should be left until marriage, at that) and one of the nice things about group dates is that being alone enough to pull off a make out is rare. What if everyone else is doing it, though? What if what was supposed to be a casual group date turns into something else?
You need to be ready to back away and go home if you need to. This is true for any situation. Don’t give into the crowd if what they want to do is what you know you shouldn’t, even if it makes you stick out or provokes teasing. It’s all right. This is far better in the long run.
But, altogether, group dates can be safe, fun, and wholesome, and are a great way to get to know each other.