When researchers at Utah Valley University interviewed students in February about their dating experiences, they never expected the men who responded to offer such supportive advice to the LDS single women they wanted to date.
A question asked of the men in the survey yielded valuable insight: “What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to your future dates that would make the date a better experience for you?”
The survey was anonymous, online and confidential. Typically these survey conditions create an environment where a great deal of candor or even criticism could be given. There was very little criticism. Instead, many of the suggestions were given as constructive advice.
The first and most common suggestion was “to simply be yourself.” Being yourself will likely be good enough, as one man explained. “Expect the person you go with to be awkward at least every once in a while. Usually you date to get to know someone, which means things won't be super-smooth immediately.”
Many men who responded expressed concerns that when their female dates were overly self-critical or trying too hard to impress them, the men ended up feeling confused. One young man said, “Be honest and up-front and I will do the same.”
Why such an emphasis on honesty and being yourself? Another young man answered the question when he said, “I’m taking you on a date to get to know you.”
The second suggestion was to try to help women know what to talk about during the date. Many young men reported feelings of awkwardness trying to carry the conversation throughout the entire date. One very honest young man confessed, “Be understanding to us guys. A lot of us are clueless in the beginning of dating in our lives."
To the women, one man advised, “Be a talkative person. Find out about the person you are on a date with and make sure they know about you and your feelings towards them.”
The final suggestion was to remember to have fun. “Don't be afraid to just be yourself. I have no expectations out on a first date other than to just have fun and get to know someone.”
Many men expressed concern for a date developing into an interview to see if you might be lifelong partners instead of it just being fun. One young man suggested, “Just have fun on the first few dates, not thinking ‘I will’ or ‘I will not’ marry that person. A date is simply a social outing.”
Ron J. Hammond has a Ph.D. in Family Studies from BYU. He is a senior professor in the UVU Family Studies Department. His wife, Alisa, and he are co-researchers on a number of family-related studies. Website is http://ldsfree99.com/products-page-2/