I Don’t Want to Hang Out
Here are two pathetic stories.
*Names have been changed because this isn’t a Taylor Swift song.
Part I: What fresh hell is this?
I met *Brody my freshman year of college. He was handsome, athletic, smart, a musician, and Facebook suggested he was passionate about his faith. Being only 17 and the reigning queen of shy girls everywhere, I reverted to my default posture of hiding behind large pieces of library furniture in the presence of very attractive men. It didn’t work. He found me. The first time he texted me, I almost jumped out of my skin, but I was determined not to get ahead of myself. Calm down. This was just a boy sending casual, friendly, platonic texts.
He texted me for hours almost every night for a month and a half, his texts growing more and more flirtatious. When midnight struck, I would insist that I needed to go to bed or I’d turn into a pumpkin.
“No don’t go!” he’d write. “I love talking to you. Please don’t go yet.”
I mean…I could stay up for a few more hours…
I admit it; I was smitten. He seemed smitten, staring at me when we sat together in the library, texting me into the witching hours, inviting me to see him play with his band at gigs. Maybe I wasn’t getting ahead of myself. Maybe this guy was actually…about to date another girl.
His friends dropped the nuke. Brody was going to start dating this girl at his church. I sat on the floor outside of my classroom, sucker punched to the stomach, hurt, angry. In my 17 years of life, no one had prepared me for a maneuver like this.
Part II: In which I am a ‘great encouragement’
Four years later, I met *Kyle, another handsome, athletic, smart, ‘godly’ young man. He convinced me, my parents, and our friends that he was head over heels. Mutual friends kept asking “Are you guys dating yet? We know he likes you.” Strangers assumed we were dating! We weren’t. We were ‘hanging out’. Though, it got a little confusing one night when he said “Sam, I want you to tell me: as a woman of God, how do you want to be pursued?”
When I confronted Kyle after 7 months of ‘hanging out’, I asked what was really going on. His response was “I realized I’ve been playing with your heart, but I’m not going to do anything about it.”
That’s verbatim, kids. There’s more.
I had “been a great encouragement. He “knew now that there were beautiful, godly women out there, but he wasn’t taking ‘us’ any further.”
Three days later, as we stood talking with our friends, he put his arm around my waist for the first time…like nothing had happened. I walked away.
Part III: My Conclusion – Orangutans hang out. Grown men and women don’t.
I don’t go looking for trouble – it usually texts me and wants to spend large chunks of casual time together one-on-one. The first time I ever went on a date I was 22-years-old and I didn’t even know it was a date because I was told we were ‘hanging out.’ It took me three hours to understand what was going on.
Here’s what I know: I don’t want to hang out with you, gentleman. I love you, really, but no. Hanging out in a group is great. But one-on-one ‘just chillin’? Sorry. I’m a woman now, and high school is over.
I don’t want you to text me when you’re bored. I don’t want to be ‘casual’. Old Navy $1 flip flops are casual; hearts and humans are not. I won’t let you have open access to my deepest thoughts on a whim. I’m not a vending machine, comfort blanket, placeholder, or backup plan. If you want to get to know me better as a woman, then ask me like a man. If you just want to be friends, yes. We can do that – with our other friends. Together. Not alone.
I know. I’m being really difficult, and probably sound cold and closed off, but I have this raging notion that my emotions, time, attention, and energy are quite priceless. An idea that parts of me are not available for everyone.
If God could muster up enough effort to come to earth and save my eternal wretched soul from damnation even though I break His heart and betray Him every single day, then you should be able to tell me you’d like to get to know me better. And dates are not marriage. They are just dates. I’ve been on first dates where I was like ‘Nope. No second date necessary’ and vice versa. We all survived.
After watching friends fall into this same trap (girls do it to guys too), and reading blog after blog from writers across faiths and experiences about how the modern dating system is horrible, I’m starting a rebellion. This is me painting my face, grabbing my hatchet, and chucking my phone in Boston Harbor because this casual, nondescript, fluid thing we millennials call dating is longshanks backwards bunk.
Don’t text me. Call me. Let me hear your voice instead of reading your emojis.
If you want to take me on a date I need to know it’s a date. I got a D-minus in Introductory Mind Reading, so humor this silly lady and use your words.
And men, we know it’s scary to tell a girl you want to get to know her better. We really get that. There is a 50% chance we will say no. But the ability to tap your courage and take the next step is so ingrained in the DNA of who you are meant to be. No one became an Olympian sitting on their butt. You have to go request what you want to win.
Come on friends. We can do this.