“Hey, I’m wondering if you would want to grab coffee this week?”
Have you ever had that text (or something like it) sent to you? Maybe you like the guy, maybe you don’t, but it’s fun to be asked out on a date! And then your brain starts to wonder . . . Wait, this is a date right? Or maybe it’s just a ‘friends getting coffee’ situation? Is he just trying to find out if he likes me? What is this?!
As I’ve talked with friends who are girls about their experiences, there’s a common thread through each conversation. I’ve re-created a version of those conversations for you to overhear.
Me: “So, are you talking with any guys? Or dating anyone?”
Girl: “Well yeah, there’s a guy I’ve been texting for a few months now.”
Me: “Awesome! Are you seeing him a bunch?”
Girl: “Well . . . we’ve gone out to coffee once. But we mostly talk on the phone and text.”
Me: “So you’re dating?”
Girl: “Well not really. Maybe? I don’t know what he’s thinking, because he hasn’t said! But he’s really cute.”
I have to confess, I 100 percent used to be one of those guys. I’ve been on a bunch of coffee and dinner outings with girls and never called them “dates,” which means my intentions were as clear as mud.
Last year I realized the need to be upfront with someone about whether we were going on a “date” or just doing a friends-getting-coffee-deal. When I wanted to take a girl out earlier this year, I was honest and told her I wanted to get to know her to see where it would lead. It was clear and out in the open and amazing!
Normally, I would tell guys this story and then suggest they be clear if there is a girl in their life they want to date. (Guys reading this: If it’s a date, say “date.” Don’t leave your intentions unclear.) But LYWB isn’t for guys, so I’m going to attempt to tackle how to clarify a relationship from a girl’s side of things while still letting your boyfriend (or future boyfriend if you’re not dating yet) lead the relationship. These are all from my perspective, and I definitely missed some, so drop a comment below and add on to the list!
Step 1: Have patience.
“What?! Have patience!?” You might say. “You just said we should be up-front!” Yep, I did. But give both of you a little time to figure out if the other person is someone you want to continue dating and can see yourself with in the future. It shouldn’t take long, say a month or so. But do give the guy a short window to figure out if he really wants to date you, and if, in that window, you realize you don’t want to date him, then let him know. Be nice about it though.
Step 2: Don’t let him use you.
I’m not talking about using you in a sexual way (although that can happen). In this case, we’re talking about a guy who uses you because you’re fun to be with. Who wants to kayak a river alone or have a picnic by themselves? It’s way more fun with a friend! If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been spending a lot of time one-on-one with a guy, and it’s been going on for months without him clarifying where the relationship is headed, stop. If he wants to date you, hopefully he’ll get the message and ask you on a proper date!
Step 3: Ask him.
This is the final step and I don’t recommend doing it unless you must. And here’s why: You want a guy who’s going to be a leader in life (1 Tim. 3:1–13). Therefore, you want a guy who will lead in a relationship with you. Which means you want someone who will lead in clarifying the relationship. If you have to lead the conversation about where the relationship is going, I want you to ask yourself, If I’m leading now, am I going to have to lead in the long run?
If his intentions aren’t clear, you might say something like, “So . . . are we going somewhere with this?” Let him lead from there. If you’re getting no feedback whatsoever after asking, or he’s avoiding an answer, you should probably hit the pause button on going out.
Relationships are a tricky thing. They can cause us a lot of stress, but with open communication and clarity, so much of the stress and worry and questioning can be avoided. Clarity isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on all this in the comment section below! Can you think of any additional ways to seek relationship clarity that honors Christ and the other person? Tell us about it!