That’s right, I’d like to make a case for hanging out.
Now before you gather the pitchforks, light a young woman torch and come to the ‘that’ part of Provo you know you’ll find me…hear me out.
I’m not saying don’t date.
I’m just saying that ‘hanging out’ has unjustly become a curse word(…or phrase).
Yes, Elder Tingey spoke of “the indecision some college graduates have in…accepting the responsibilities of marriage and family.”
Yes President Monson spoke of those having “a little too much fun being single, taking extravagant vacations, buying expensive cars and toys, and just generally enjoying the carefree life with [their] friends.”
Yes, Elder Oaks spoke to older single men (me, particularly), “grow up. Gather your courage and look for someone to pair off with. Start with a variety of dates with a variety of young women, and when that phase yields a good prospect, proceed to courtship. It’s marriage time.”
So yeah, fellas, we need to buck up and go on dates. I completely agree with all of that.
But we need to go on dates for the right reasons.
You can go on dates just to ‘go on dates.’ I have done that for years and the reason that the relationship clock never struck “marriage time” isn’t for lack of effort. No, perhaps it was because of too much effort.
See, when we date, we are trying to be the best we can be and, quite frankly, we are trying to find the worst in the other person.
Yes, dating is essentially trying to impress while looking for deal breakers.
When we hang out, things are usually calm, ccasualand, quite frankly, a little more realistic. I have never been married, but I imagine that a dinner, movie and making out is not the standard for a typical day for a couple. Those romantic date nights are interspersed through a string of time where the couple is just friends.
Some of the best relationships I have had started with a friendship.
Those friendships were not forged in the fires of flirtation, but rather built on the basis of a casual closeness.
When in hot pursuit, you rarely are being totally you, but rather what you think they want of you.
When hanging out, there are no expectations, so you can just be you and she can just be her.
If you aren’t going on dates, shame on you—but if you aren’t building friendships then shame-er on you. The advice is to get married and you will never do that by only hanging out or only going on one-on-one dates with 15 people at a time.
So don’t fear the dessert parties of hanging out, but be aware to not deny yourself of the hearty dinners of dating. Both, coupled (pun intended) together will create a strong bond that will both be in harmony with the brethren’s council and help you to not try too hard.