Sometimes dinner is just a meal

Von Lanier

Formal dates are so uncommon today that many people don’t actually possess any dating etiquette whatsoever.

This poses a serious question as to whether the traditional concept of dating has a place in a future where typically a millennial date consists of a “Netflix and chill” type arrangement in which both parties awkwardly sit in silence and stream movies while eating junk food.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Netflix or chilling, or junk food for that matter, but it seems like there could be more substance and thought-provoking ways to court someone you like other than the contemporary norm.

It took one misconceived date for me to learn that inviting a friend that you secretly admire to a formal date is not such a good idea.

I had originally planned to express my interest in taking things to the next level in a relationship with this girl. I decided to make it clear that I wanted to be more than just “friends” over dinner.

However, that plan quickly went left before the food even hit the table, as I soon discovered there was no room to address the real reason I asked her out over mundane bantering about classes and other crap that friends typically discuss. As we talked more, I quickly ascertained that maybe she wasn’t interested in anything at this particular moment other than the free meal I’d promised her for coming out with me.

I’d wanted to ask her more personal things, like life plans or about her dreams and ambitions, but she just kept talking so I just listened.

After a while I decided to just go out on a limb and tell her the real reason I’d asked her out. I told her that I really enjoyed her company and I wanted to continue our relationship on a more intimate level.

She told me that I was honest for admitting this to her and called me “such a good friend,” but that was all she could ever see us being and then we kept on eating.

I got the check for two, naturally, and told her that I respected her decision of wanting to remain just friends.

Realizing that I wanted more out of the relationship than she did was a lesson in humility to say the least, but it spared me from wasting even more of my time and precious bucks by pursuing something that was probably never going to happen anyway.

It seemed that the more serious the conversation became, the less interested she was in having a more intimate relationship. I do feel lucky enough to have gotten out of a situation that could’ve easily ended with a nasty heartbreak for me and in doing such spared her from feeling any guilt she might’ve had for declining that next step.

Ultimately, I now realize that sometimes dinner is nothing more than just dinner and perhaps I was being somewhat selfish for expecting her to want what I did. It was obvious that I wanted more out of the relationship than she did, but I was still more glad than bitter about her decision to remain friends because at least the worst was over.

I also came to realize that trying to do some serious dating at this point in life is not as ideal for some people as it might be for others, and that’s okay.

Sometimes drawing the line between intimacy and friendship seems easy at first, but maintaining friendship after the line has been drawn can be harder for one person than it is for the other.

When you’re in the proverbial “friendzone” it’s best to just play it cool as the guy but it doesn’t serve any good to linger on hopes of breaching that line if the chemistry isn’t right.

As for the girl, we’re still friends but she definitely pays for her own meals when we go out now.