Casual dating. I think that’s the biggest oxymoron I’ve ever heard. How can something as serious as a romantic relationship ever be considered “casual?” And yet I hear the phrase tossed around all the time. “Well, yeah we’re dating, but it’s pretty casual. I dunno. We’ll see what happens.” Or, “Yeah, I don’t really like him, but he asked me out so, here we are.”
Don’t be deceived into thinking this is just a “Hollywood culture” mentality, either. It has infiltrated our churches. When I confided in a Christian friend that a guy friend of mine was trying to get me to go out with him, this is the opinion she shared with me: “Well, he sounds like a pretty sweet guy, and you seem to get along well with him. I don’t see any harm in two friends casually hanging out and maybe grabbing a cup of coffee.” Really? Well, then I think I’ll just wear a flashing, neon sign that reads: “Hey, I like you back, so keep pursuing me!” That might be a little more subtle.
For me to have gone on a “casual” date with this guy would have been wrong because he would have read much more into the situation than just “grabbing a cup of coffee” with a friend. The truth is, although I could have easily gone out with this guy and remained completely unaffected, I’m pretty certain that the mixed signals I would be sending him could be hazardous to his heart. What would my actions be insinuating to him about our relationship? Saying that you are “casually dating” someone is like saying you’re “just friends.” But friends don’t ask friends out unless they are hoping to be more than friends. Are you getting the picture? There is no such thing as casual dating because “casual” only exists on one side of the relationship.
When my friend’s girlfriend broke up with him, she confessed that she hadn’t known if she really liked him or not, so she figured dating him was the only way to find out. Then she got upset with him when he accused her of playing with his heart.
Personally, I think he had a right to be upset. You know, when a guy asks you out, it is okay to tell him, “I’ll think about it,” or better yet, “I’ll pray about it.” (After all, it’s always a good idea to invite God into the scenario right up front.) I can’t help but wonder how much heartache my friend could have been spared had this girl taken a moment to pray about their relationship and seek God’s will instead of just saying “yes” when he asked her out.
But oftentimes, we don’t pray about it. We simply do what our feelings are leading us to do and “follow our hearts.” Now, that’s probably some of the worst advice you ever received from Disney. Did you know that the Bible tells us that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked? Let’s face it, ladies – we’re selfish, and our hearts are only catering to our own needs.
So, as a girl who’s a friend of many a guy, I’m begging you, please be careful with the hearts of the men around you. Relationships are not a game. And there is nothing “casual” about breaking a man’s heart. Next time a guy asks you out, take a moment to pray and truly seek God’s will in the situation. If you’re not interested in pursuing the possibility of a permanent relationship with this man, say no. I’m sure the guy will agree with me when I say that temporarily hurting his feelings up front is preferable to crushing his heart a couple months down the road.