Before-word: A few weeks ago I gave a talk to young women and men in Johannesburg who requested me to speak to their youth group on dating. Then a few days ago I was asked similar questions about dating by another young person. So it prompted me to share some ideas here.
Remember in university the fundamental courses started with code “101”? Dating-101 is starting with the basic: “why date”? When this question is asked, the answers are wide and varied and most center around reasons such as for intimacy, partnership or companionship. But, I’d say long before you’re intimately involved with someone, foremost is having a strong sense/knowledge of who you are.
Personal development is key. You should already know, or have some sense of your purpose; and, you should be content with yourself and with God.
Being content with one’s self means you are aware of: who you are, what you like/don’t like; what you need out of life; where you’re going/what is your life vision. Think of it this way: have you dated you?
The reality is that you can’t be healthily coupled till you’re fully an individual. And what does someone who’s “fully an individual” look like?
Someone that possesses what they desire to attract. Why? Because you attract what you already are.
Someone who’s self actualized? If you’re not, you’ll lose yourself in the process of dating.
Someone who’s self aware. If you don’t know you, you will constantly change to fit others’ reality or definitions of who they think you are.
Someone who knows their worth/value. Why? What you know of yourself should be independent of what others think of you. Your worth is a value defined from within that no one from without can haggle, debate or discount.
Someone who holds her/himself in high esteem/have self respect. Why? The boundary lines you place around you are based on the value you place on yourself. From within, the boundary guides you—it says: “I can’t go any further than this”. And from without it tells others: “you can’t come any closer than this”.
Beyond your being prepared to date, I’d say once you start dating, in those early periods after you’ve met someone, be intentional in getting data. Yes it’s euphoric. And yes s/he’s the one of your dreams. But before the oxytocin dictates your every thought and action, aim to gather information to determine if the person you’re interested in is indeed worth dating/“falling” for.
First, you should already be clear about what you’re looking for in a partner. And second, ask the right questions. Not detective like, but aim to know things like:
- How does he/she relate to the dominant males/females in his/her life (e.g. mom, dad)? The nature of these relationships will be a good indicator of how s/he’ll treat and/or interact with you, good or bad.
- Analyzing their close friends. My mom always repeated this old adage, “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”.
- What’s his/her work ethic?
- Who is s/he accountable to?
- Be able to distinguish between and know her/his value versus profile. By this I mean: “value” can only be discerned—you must go beyond what is seen on the surface. The Bible says it best, search the heart and test/try the spirit. “Profile” on the other hand is laid bare for the natural eye to see (no discernment required, like the info people typically post on their social media).
Those elements are what I’d say are the building blocks of DATING-101.
Having done this preparatory work or having reached this state of readiness, you should operate in the dating world confidently knowing that YOU ARE THE CATCH.
Thanks for reading. You can interact with this post/me by hitting any of the “share this” icons below or the “like” star or “leave a comment” or “follow”.In creative solidarity, Dee