Ron and Alisa Hammond
Dating skills quiz

For LDS singles, going out on a first date is a rite of passage. It is viewed as an activity that should be simultaneously fun and purposeful. A February 2011 study of Utah Valley University students indicated that both men and women who dated did so about three times a month.

Surprisingly, the study indicated that about 16 percent of UVU students had not yet dated. Many of them were freshmen.

What is the best advice for the brand-new Latter-day Saint dater? Start dating. Dating is a skill best learned through practice. Where do you find your date? Most singles report finding their dates through friends or at church, school or work. So pick someone you are interested in getting to know better, and work up the courage to ask him or her out. The advice given from daters in the survey suggests keeping the date simple and fun, and, for the first few dates, in a public place.

What do people talk about when they first meet other singles? A common error some make is to talk too much about themselves. The easiest strategy is to ask questions. Be willing to share who you are, but focus your attention on your date: where they are from, what their interests are and where they want to be in a few years.

Those who had already dated and those who had not were very similar. When UVU researchers compared the nondaters to the daters, they found nearly identical concerns: not wanting to have their hearts broken, not wanting to be harmed in any way, and feeling social pressures about dating and marriage.

They also had very similar attitudes about preferring to go on a “real” date as opposed to just "hanging out." But who should do the asking? Most girls felt it should be the guy, but most guys would rather not. So, the actual request for a date happens in many different ways.

Finally, what skills does an LDS dater need these days? The Free LDS Dating Skills Quiz was developed after considering more than 19,000 pieces of information gathered during the UVU Dating Survey. Take it and keep it close by as a reminder of the traits many found to be ideal among LDS daters. The quiz has 19 basic skills and traits desired by more than 400 single respondents.

Ron J. Hammond, has a PhD in Family Studies from BYU. He is a senior professor in the UVU Family Studies Dept. His wife, Alisa, and he are co-researchers on a number of family-related studies. Their website is