Monthly Archives

June 2019

‘It’s Kinder To Say No To A Second Date’. Here’s Why

Early Dating

After going on a date, there is often the situation where one person is waiting to hear back and wanting a second date, while the other person doesn’t want to take it any further. Sadly, most people just ‘ghost ‘ and never reply. They may believe this is kinder than saying ‘I don’t like you’, but ignoring people is never kind. We need to get better at gently letting them know how we feel.  

Most of us have probably heard of the term ‘ghosting’, which is when someone we went on a date/ a few dates with, or were messaging and getting on with, suddenly ends all contact without giving a reason. 

This is often attributed to the fact that people are quite selfish, and don’t really care about the other person’s feelings. They’re happy just thinking about themselves and ending contact because that’s easiest for them, which sadly I think is true in a lot of cases. 

However, another reason behind this has been highlighted to me in a few different ways recently too, especially when we’re talking about Christian dating cultures. 

Ghosting Is Kinder, Right?

A friend of mine was telling me about her friend. She’s a Christian and is dating and hoping to find someone. She is only dating Christian men as she believes this should be an important part of the relationship. (Read Why does everyone tell me not to date a non-Christian?) 

Unfortunately, a few dates have ended with the guys not contacting her and/or not texting back. She would message them a few times, and eventually, some of them would reply but make up really bad excuses. 

They were bad excuses that just made her feel worse

‘I do like you, but I need to do XYZ, so we can’t date’. Or ‘I need to sort out my finances/relationship with God/things in my life’. Or ‘I shouldn’t really date right now’. She would wonder why they are on dating apps in the first place!

In other words, they were bad excuses that just made her feel worse.  

On the other hand, many of them just wouldn’t take responsibility for the situation, and just ignored it and didn’t acknowledge it. AKA ‘ghosting’.

Other friends have shared similar stories, which is upsetting. You would hope that Christians would be prepared to do it differently, yet it’s not always the case. 

It Causes More Hurt 

Dating is full of confusion, guesswork, and wondering ‘what if’, which it causes a lot of hurt. Dating well, dating differently, involves trying to reduce these feelings, not only ourselves but for the people we date. 

Sometimes, we can convince ourselves that saying to someone ‘I don’t want a second date with you’ seems harsh, so we make up bad excuses, or just ignore the problem. All of these things can actually leave people feeling hurt. 

Many people say to me things like ‘It would actually be better if they just let me know where they stood, rather than ignoring me or giving some rubbish reason. It’s so disrespectful.’ 

If we aren’t saying anything because it will be ‘awkward for me’, then that’s quite a selfish attitude. We’re not being kind, or loving our neighbour in a dating context, if we are just thinking about ‘my needs’. 

The kinder thing to do is to just say you don’t want to go on a second date. 

What To Say

Getting in touch to tell them that you don’t want a second date may indeed be a bit awkward for you. But it’s kinder to put their feelings first and push through the awkwardness, to let them know where you stand, so they avoid feeling confused and unsure.

We need to get better at just saying, ‘I don’t want a second date because I don’t think we’re a good match’.

Do not make it about them, or about you, just say that you don’t think you are suited

You don’t need to make up a bad excuse, you don’t need to go into detail (even if they ask why), you don’t need to point out their flaws, you just need to say you don’t think you are suited long-term. 

Do not make it about them, or about you, just say that you don’t think you’re suited. 

Easier Said Than Done 

I’m fully aware this is easier to say than do, because it’s counter-cultural, and it’s easier to ignore a problem than face it. But I think Christian dating should be different. (Read Can We Really Trust What Our Culture Says About Relationships?) 

We should be selfless, avoid hurting each other, and realise if we were in their position then we would want to know and be told. It is kinder and more respectful. 

Imagine If…

At least they were treated well and not just ignored

Imagine if we decided to date differently. If we remembered that the search for love is hard enough, without us making it harder for each other. (Read What Does Christian Dating Look Like?)

Imagine if we remembered that it’s better to let people know where we stand and got better at saying ‘I don’t want another date because we are not a match’. Even if they are disappointed, even if they have some unanswered questions, at least they were treated well and not just ignored. Everyone knows where they stand, and it will let us move on better and quicker.

Why are we so bad at letting people know where we stand? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 10/6/2019

Why We Keep Getting Hospitality Wrong

Friendships, Healthy Relationship Rhythms

Hospitality is an idea that gets thrown around a lot in church. Many people in society and from all walks of life say they like hosting people and entertaining guests. But I sometimes think we have misunderstood what it is meant to be, and try to over complicate it instead of keeping it simple. If we stopped overthinking it, our relationships would be stronger. 

I have always been involved in churches which emphasise community and relationships. They always highlighted the need (alert, Christian jargon coming up) for us to ‘do life together’. 

Essentially, it’s about realising the value of forming deep relationships, and intentionally pursuing them, so that we can support each other. Whether that means spiritually, emotionally, or just having people around us that we can laugh with.

It Feels Like A Burden? 

But the reality is that people struggle to host. Or approach it with dread. 

The number of times I’ve said to people or they have said to me ‘we need to get together for dinner or something’. Then it never happens. Or we pull out our diaries, and I’m hoping they say we can go round to theirs so I don’t need to put in the effort of organising the meal. But why is that the case? 

I think it comes down to a misconception that says: Hospitality is about impressing. 

Need To Impress 

Without trying to make too big a sweeping statement, many other cultures have the reputation of giving good hospitality. There are always loads of people in each other’s houses. People can turn up on the doorstep and the host drops everything and invites them in, etc. 

Yet there are many of us who believe we need to put a date in the diary, clean the house, go and get the best food, etc.. In other words; it’s an event. One that takes time and the thought is ‘I need to make it an occasion’.

Hosting then becomes something we gear up for

We see hosting as a time to impress. 

This is on top of the fact that we often see our homes as a retreat, as a shelter, as space we own to relax. Which isn’t bad in itself, but then having people coming over, especially if they are new, is seen as a sacrifice of that space we protect. It’s an invasion of our home. 

Hosting then becomes something we gear up for and can feel like hard work. (Read The Simple Trick For Better Relationships That Most People Ignore)

Experience Over Information 

The reason I think hospitality is important is because I think just hanging out with people, inviting people into your home and vice versa, is where relationships are formed. When we see each other just being ‘normal’ in their home, it’s when we learn from each other. 

For example, I can barely remember the advice my parents gave me. Not because it was bad, but growing up in my family home for 22 years, lots was said and I don’t remember most of it. 

But I remember seeing how my parents treated each other. I remember that they never got violent or verbally abusive towards each other. I remember seeing them going out of their way to help people who were struggling. I remember them always helping me and making me laugh. 

I have close friends I’ve known for 15 plus years now, and again, can’t remember most of what they have said, but I remember them praying for me when I needed it. I remember us hanging out lots and feeling like I could ask for support and trust them. 

Deep relationships come from spending time with each other. Despite what our culture says, more information will not result in deeper friendships with people. Yes, deep conversations are important, but spending time together I think is just as important. 

Hosting Better 

We need to learn from other cultures and people who do hosting well. Who invite people in when the house is a mess. Who are cooking a basic meal, but say ‘you can stay if you want’ and just add in an extra handful of pasta to the pot, rather than aranging a later date for when we have the ingredients to make a spectacular dish. 

It’s just an opportunity to invite people into what is already going on

We need to remember that our home is ultimately a blessing and gift from God. To be used as a place to relax, but also a place to bless others. 

We need to remember people come to see us, and not our housework.

We need to remember hospitality is about creating time to form deep friendships. It’s not an event or time to impress. It’s just an opportunity to invite people into what’s already going on. (Read Why Friendships Are Too Easy To Break, And How To Avoid It.) 

Imagine If…

We all have different challenges, different jobs and different personalities. We are all at different stages of life. So hospitality will look different and be different to different people. 

But imagine if we didn’t see hosting as a time to impress or entertain, but just as a time to share what we’re already doing with others, and build a deeper friendship and connection in these authentic moments. (Read 2 Things You Should Always Do To Build Strong Communities)

How would your culture/community define hospitality? Comments welcome below

Originally posted 3/6/2019