Monday, June 30, 2014

Asking and Answering

Dating – it’s a minefield.  But I do think there are a couple of simple principles that can help spare people overly hurt feelings or wasted time.

First, guys should ask girls out directly, and not wimp out.  I know for many guys it’s scary.  But that’s part of being a guy.  Man up, and just ask her.  Because it’s better and healthier to get turned down and have that solid answer than to live weeks or months not knowing or living in regret.

By the same token, while it’s fine to engage in some group activities or otherwise try to worm your way into a relationship through being friends first, guys shouldn’t let that go on too long.  And no, it’s not that you’ll get stuck in the friend zone – it’s that same thing of just taking the plunge and doing it.

Second, girls should give a clear answer.  If they’re not interested, they should let the guy know that.  Telling the guy that she’s busy or not ready for a relationship right now or something like that may seem like it’s better for him – ‘sparing his feelings’, ‘letting him down easy’ – but I think it’s just easier for the girl.  She gets to go on her merry way thinking she’s nice, while he’s left in a limbo, either not knowing where he stands or thinking he has a shot when he doesn’t.  Honestly, I think it’s quite selfish and shows a lack of thinking things through.

Okay, a few things.  First, I’m using the words ‘guys’ and ‘girls’ instead of ‘men’ and ‘women’, and I mean no disrespect by it.  Those are just the words that flow for me, like when we say ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’.

Also, in this modern world, I do think it’s OK for girls to ask out guys, or at least make the first move in some way.  But the responsibility on the receiving end is the same – if somebody wants to know if you’re interested, you should give them a clear answer.

And let me throw this in.  I know some girls have a policy of going out with almost any guy that asks her out.  As someone who’s been on the receiving end of this policy, I can tell you that I don’t care for it.  If you don’t know if you’re interested, that’s one thing.  But if you know that you’re not (and you know that sometimes you just know), then I don’t think you should waste your time or his.

I'll leave you with this.  There was a girl I was interested in.  She was cute and smart and could carry on a conversation.  And I'd had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her during a vacation.  So, I called her up and asked her out.  Actually, I got nervous, rehearsed what I would say, thought about it, did some deep breathing, thought about it some more, then got around to calling her.  And she said yes!  Woohoo!  But two minutes after we hung up, she called back.  She explained that she did like me as a friend, but was not really interested in going on a date with me.  And in the moment, she was startled and said yes, but after having a minute to think about it, she decided it would be better to call me back and retract her answer.  Was it disappointing?  Yes.  But I have great respect for her.

Are You There God? It's Me, Matt.

I’m angry.  At God.  And it’s frustrating, because … well, let me start over.

I don’t have much going on right now.  I’m unemployed.  I don’t have a girlfriend.  I don’t have a close friend to hang out with frequently.  I’ve had any number of creative endeavors that have gone nowhere.  And I’m typing this on a computer that occasionally deletes a whole sentence or two because the key sticks.

Yes, I know: I have a roof over my head and food to eat and family and friends and blah blah blah.  And I don’t have a terminal illness and I haven’t lost my wife or child in a car accident and I don’t live in a country where people are persecuted.  I know.  I am grateful for those things.  Really. 

But, still … this is my life, and things are not going well and I’m angry.  And probably scared, too.  It came to a head earlier today and I let out some steam by screaming out loud a few times.  And then I stewed about it for the rest of the day.  And then I tried talking to God about it.  And boy was that unsatisfying. 

God doesn’t talk to me.  Before you throw out the standard clich├ęs, let me just suggest that you shut up.  I’ve heard them.  ‘You just need to learn how to listen.’  ‘God talks to different people in different ways.’  And the one I tell myself, that God stays silent with me because He wants to see what I’ll do with very little overt guidance – will I be obedient just because I know it’s right and pleasing?

But the way I’m wired is that I need to process things with other people.  It’s why I don’t normally read the Bible on my own.  I’ll read books and blogs that will include scripture, so I’m still getting some Bible.  But mostly I rely on the discussions in my small group, where we pull it apart and examine it and question everything together.

Or when I have an emotional problem.  Most issues I deal with on my own just fine.  But I know that sometimes my brain doesn’t fully process stuff until I discuss it with someone and they reflect it back to me.

This is how I work.  It is the way God made me.  And that’s why it’s especially frustrating to talk to God and get no response.  I talk to God just about every day, if not during the day, then at least as I’m going to bed.  I have little conversations, telling Him about what I’ve been thinking about and asking for His help with different behaviors and musing on some new time travel theory.  (At this point, I will be rewriting the remainder of this because my computer freaked out and closed everything and autosave only saved up to this point and my computer is a piece of shit and now I’m having trouble focusing because I’m angry and it’s not like I can remember everything that I already said.  Fuck!)  And I’ll let my mind wander, to see what might pop in there.  I think my prayer life is the healthiest now that it’s ever been.  But not satisfying.

I want God to show up in some emotionally satisfying way.  I want some kind of response.  I want to not feel like I’m just talking to myself.  And I know, poor me.  But really – I can’t figure out how to deal with this in a healthy way that allows me to understand or accept or get around God’s silence.

And that’s all I’m going to say.  There was more before, but now you don’t get to read it because my computer sucks.