Starting Great Relationships With Awesome People
There’s probably someone in your life that you’d like to get to know better and haven’t yet. Maybe it’s a leader, a person at church, a coworker, or a crush. Whoever it is, the reason you want to get to know them is that there’s simply something about them that’s attractive to you. It doesn’t have to be a romantic attraction, they might be really funny, or have a great personality. But if you’re like most people, months can go by, and the two of you never spend time together. Why is that?
The short answer is that you probably aren’t good at dating. Dating is the process of getting to know someone to see if you should invest more time in the relationship. It’s not just for singles; it’s for anyone who wants to see if a casual acquaintance should become a deeper friendship. Just to state the obvious, before the religious police try to arrest me, married people shouldn’t try dating someone for romantic reasons. The same goes for single believers and unbelievers dating romantically. But we should all learn how to connect with the people we like. The more great people I have in my life, the more I grow.
I am willing to bet that if you haven’t hung out with the people you would like to, it is probably because you don’t know how to ask someone out. So you just avoid it. You hope and pray that one day God will magically do your job for you and set you up. Yet He never seems to do that. Why? Maybe it’s because He wants you to grow into a person with the character, and to be able to face potential rejection rather than be held back in life.
I know what that’s like. I have been there and done that, and I am done with it. I know what it’s like to feel left on the outside, live in a prison of loneliness created by fear, and to miss out on great relationships. I also know how powerful it is when you push pass that, and let people you admire into your life. You become alive, and new opportunities start to open up.
Learning how to start relationships is such an important topic that, if you are single, I do not recommend reading this while thinking about how to ask out your crush. The tips will work for that, but you will gain much more if you practice what I say on building other relationships first. If you start with a platonic relationship, you are more likely to get successful responses. This will build your confidence, and set you up for success in your romantic life. Trust me.
What’s holding you back?
The number one reason that people fail to ask someone to hang out is because – drum roll please – they don’t know the purpose of dating. Most think that dating is about getting someone that you like to like you back. False.
If you are trying to get someone to like you, then you are being codependent. Not only is that a lie, but that idea sets you up to fail.
If you must have someone like you before you hang out with them, then you will not ask someone out until you know for certain that they like you. Which is never. How can they like you? You don’t know each other yet.
However, the purpose of dating isn’t to get people to like you, it’s about getting to know each other. That’s it. Let that sink in. When I changed my belief about what dating is truly about, it changed my attitude.
Now I see it this way. You and I are both valuable people. I’m not trying to get you to like me. Rather, I am simply getting to know you better to see what role you will play in my world.
I know that some people are going to connect easily, and others aren’t. I’m okay with that. I am looking for people with whom I can have a win-win relationship.
If we don’t hit if off, I’m alright with that. Getting to know another brother or sister is worth the price of coffee, and if it goes well, then we have opened ourselves to the potential of something awesome.
How do you ask someone out?
That’s easy. I tell them how I feel and what I want to do. I walk up to them and say something like…
“I’d like to get to know you a little better. I was wondering if we could hang out some time, and hear your story”
Nine times out of ten the person says yes. It’s the greatest compliment in the world for someone to want to get to know about your life. I still get “No,” but every time I do I get stronger at living free from rejection.
If I’m talking to leader with a busy schedule, who might not have time to make friends, then I might say something like: “I really admire you, and would like to hang out and ask you some questions about (insert their specialty). If they say “yes,” I will get my calendar out and book a date and a place to meet. If they say no, I feel the pain, give it to Jesus, and move on.
But, “What if they think I’m weird for asking?” Glad you asked. When I fear I might come across that way, I straight up tell that to the person: “I’m afraid this might seem a little weird, but I’d like to get to know you better. I was wondering if we could hang out some time; I’d like to hear your story.” This breaks the ice even more, because it’s endearing to be so vulnerable.
Don’t use the word date. Some people will translate this into meaning that you are romantically interested in them. In this context, if they agree to ‘go on a date’ with you they are communicating that the are similarly interested. Since you don’t know each other yet, it could increase the likelihood of them saying no.
What do you do on a first date?
I do what I said I’m going to do, and I get to know them. By the end of our time I generally want to have the answer to three questions: “What are your dreams?” “What are your gifts and talents?” Lastly, “What’s your story?” The first two questions tell me where they are going, and the last tells me who they are.
You can’t know someone until you know their story. Most people respond with, “Where do you want to begin?” or “What do you want to know?” To which I respond, “Where were you born?” That usually cues the person that I’m serious about hearing their whole story.
When people share their lives with me, I find my love for them grows. You can’t love someone deeply that you don’t know very well.
I also make it a point to share my story. Frequently, I’m not asked. I’ve found it isn’t because the other person doesn’t care. Most people don’t have the social skills to know how to be intimate. The goal is to get to know each other.
Hanging out again
If you had a good time, ask them to hang out again. Dating is supposed to be progressive. First you get to know a person’s life, and then their character. This takes time.
The number one mistake that I see people making is that they try to define the relationship too soon. For example, a girl might hang out with an older couple and ask them to be her spiritual parents after an evening or two together. Or a guy might ask a girl to be his girlfriend after a date or two. You don’t know a person deep enough yet for that level of commitment. Instead, let the bond build naturally over a few get-togethers, and wait until the relationship demands it’s to be defined.
A good rule of thumb is to wait on defining the relationship until the two of you have passed a point where you have had to confront each other. Confrontation reveals a person’s character, and I don’t want to be in a deep relationship with someone who doesn’t do confrontation well.
So date everyone you are attracted to. Who knows what will happen. Sometimes it will work out, and sometimes not. That’s life. However, the more people you hang out with, the more likely you will be to build a network of people you love.
So…who do you need to ask out? I want to challenge you to do it in the next week. Nearly every person I have given this challenge to reports that one of their biggest breakthroughs came from following through.
Now, I am sure you have questions about moving forward. Here’s the deal: this article can’t cover all of your questions. But it can change your approach to life. You are either going to become someone chooses to get to know people, or someone who procrastinates by replaying possible scenarios over and over again in your head. Forget about the questions. Put on your big kid pants, and just do it. The words will come. You’ll thank me later.
Hope this helps,