I didn’t date a lot in high school or college. It was frustrating at the time, but looking back I’m thankful for how that period of my life played out. Instead of boyfriends, I had boy friends.
My lack of dating sometimes made me feel unwanted and unattractive. What was so wrong with me that no one seemed interested? It was really lonely and frustrating. It would have been easy to lose hope and give in to lowering my standards, but these guys gave me the courage to stay strong and be patient for my “Mr. Right” to come along in his own time. I also learned a lot about men, that I know helped me while I looked and eventually found my husband.
1. My guy friends set the bar high for anyone I would date. I knew how well they treated me, so anyone special who came along had to do even better than that! We gave each other back massages, watched movies, hung out with each other’s families, and sometimes even went on fake dates together. It was just nice to have someone you could go to breakfast or dinner or a movie with without any pressure. We both knew we were just friends. One friend even asked me to be his date to a really special dance hosted at his University. It was a big deal and really fun! I got to meet all his college friends and eat everything I could dipped in a chocolate fountain, and he didn’t have to worry about asking someone at school to go with him who might get the wrong impression. It was pressure-free fake dating!
2. They were my friends and like protective big brothers at the same time, so they wanted to meet and approve of any new, special guy. It was reassuring to know people my age were looking out for me, and I appreciated the peace that came when people who knew me really well thought I had “a good one.” And there’s just something about guy friends approving of a boyfriend that’s different from a girlfriend’s approval. Men I respected liked and respected the man I was with. It mattered.
3) I was able to learn about how guys show interest in girls from observing my guy friends when they were interested in someone. The male-female ‘I’m interested in you but going to act like I’m not’ or ‘act like a complete idiot because I’m nervous around you’ or ‘try to play it cool’ situations are confusing, at best! It was helpful to watch guys who were really trying to pursue girls honorably engage in this awkward dance of emotions without being involved myself. I learned from observation and was then able to better recognize what was and was not a respectful approach from a guy. I could also go to them for help deciphering whether or not a guy might be interested in me.
4) My friends taught me that guys can see girls as people, not objects. They knew me and loved me for who I was. I know some girls seem pleased when guys look them up and down, checking them out. This always made me uncomfortable, and I think it’s largely because I wasn’t used to being treated like that by guys who respected me. I knew men with honorable intentions, and they didn’t treat women like that. I recognized when I was being used, and it raised my standards.
5) Also, let’s not overlook the importance of just knowing that good guys are out there! Oh my goodness! With all the stories I’d heard from my friends who dated and some of the people I encountered on a daily basis, it could be kind of disheartening. Sometimes it seemed like the only good guys out there were taken, but I knew that wasn’t true because my guy friends also didn’t date very much. They were still available, so it gave me hope that there was someone out there like them (but not them) for me.
What was a frustrating journey of finding the “right one” to walk alongside me was made a lot better by these guys, and I’m forever grateful to them for that. And when I did finally meet the right guy, I was relieved to know he would get the “good guy” seal of approval!