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The frustrating ambiguity of millennial dating

By Erika Carter

I can count on one hand how many times I have heard the phrase, “Would you like to go on a date?” since I’ve been in college, because it’s zero. This by no means is because I’ve had no “dating” life in college. I’ve been in relationships, but none of them started from this phrase. For some odd reason, the concept of starting off a relationship by explicitly asking another person out on date has died.

In today’s dating world, when you like someone, it’s a series of giving hints of your feelings without being too obvious. It consists of things like analyzing how many times they like your posts on social media, how often they watch your Snapchat story and overanalyzing your carefully crafting text conversations.

Once you are pretty sure the interest is mutual, one might think this would be the point one asks the other out on a date, but no. Now the two people start “talking,” a commonly-used concept in our generation. I don’t know if any of us can explain exactly what it means, because we have created an ambiguous and passive dating environment that is frustrating and confusing for both parties.

Communication is already hard enough — why are we making it more difficult for ourselves?

I have been a part of many conversations complaining about our generation’s dating culture, but no one seems to be changing it. That is my challenge to you. Guys: If you have been crushing on a girl for a while, ask her out on a date. Girls: Be open to going out on these dates. Don’t write a guy without really giving them a chance. Take a risk and get to know someone new.

It’s okay to go on a date or two and then tell the person you don’t want to pursue a relationship with them. But, it’s also important to realize it’s okay to be rejected every now and then.

Let me clarify myself. I am not saying to ask someone to hang out, go to coffee or grab lunch. These phrases go back to the issue of being explicit. Even though asking for a laid back “hang out” is easier, it is also ambiguous and confusing. Be straightforward about your intentions. It will make things easier in the long run.

Some guys may give the reply, “Well, girls should ask guys out on dates too! Why does this burden always fall on us?” Here is why it’s frustrating for girls: It may sound like a great solution in theory, but the reality is girl’s don’t hold the control in the dating social norm. As nerve-racking as asking a girl out on a date is for a guy, it’s even more so for a girl. Not only would the girl be taking the normal risk factors of possible rejection, but there is an added risk of the guy being uncomfortable with being asked out by a girl. The reality is it’s still really awkward, especially in a dating culture where guys aren’t even asking girls out on dates anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s wrong for girls to ask guys out. I just want guys to understand that it isn’t as easy as they seem to think it is.

So the next time you find yourself admiring someone from afar or developing a crush, take action. And if you’re being asked out on a date, don’t be afraid to say yes. With a little work, we can change our confusing dating culture together.


Erika Carter is a senior at Oklahoma Christian University. 

The opinions of guest columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Talon or Oklahoma Christian University. Guest opinions are presented to foster public debate on important topics and comments should be respectful and signed.

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