This week I was contacted on Facebook by a complete stranger, "I'm pretty sure we should probably hangout one of these days if you're up for it." My response was clear and succinct, "I don't 'hangout' with strangers." For those of you wondering, I was not reading into the message. I followed up with a message asking if this was his attempt to ask me on a date and he confirmed that it was.
Maybe my standards for dating interactions between human beings are too high. Or maybe I'm too old fashioned. Or maybe, just maybe, our culture treats dating too casually. Somewhere along the way, the lines have gotten really blurred about what's an appropriate way to treat members of the opposite sex.
What I really wanted to say was:
You want to 'hang out' with me? What are we going to do? Sit on your couch watching Netflix? Or play video games? Or go to the mall? Or meet up with your guy friends to watch a a sports ball game at your regular bar? Here's the thing: I'm not one of your buddies and no, I do not want to 'hang out' with you.
Rewind to the pre-Internet era (Yes, there was a time when the internet didn't exist!). People were forced to interact person-to-person and relationships were more clearly defined. What happened to these days of courting in relationships? I'm not just saying a man courting a woman, but couples courting each other. Two human beings making a conscious effort to connect in a meaningful way. Just to be clear, this does not include vague Facebook messages or endless texts.
I'm talking mutual respect and admiration. I'm talking about taking risks to embark on a journey together. I'm talking facing challenges, even ones like asking each other on dates, with courage. I'm talking genuine, authentic, open and transparent communication. I'm talking building shared experiences and, more than anything, building trust.
The reality is that we live in a time where our calendars are packed and our attention is being pulled at from all directions. Personally, it is an anomaly if I have a free night in my calendar. From industry mixers to hosting my own events, from running my business to connecting with friends. My time is so incredibly valuable and my choice to allocate it to the most important things and people is paramount to my success.
So I completely understand the trend towards shorter and less meaningful interactions. I mean, who has time to really get to know someone nowadays, right?
Actually, I take that back. I don't have the time. I make the time.
Some say that I am crazy. And that my standards are unrealistic. But the reality is -- if I don't meet a man that is willing to show respect towards engaging in authentic interactions with me, as I am to them..... then I'm ok being single. I've done it for six years and, while it might be a slightly more lonely existence, I'd rather be alone than casually 'hang out' forever.