Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Not Dating"

JT, the mature guy who was recently dippin' in my sauce this last weekend and I have decided not to date. Yet.

We want to. We both like each other very much, and think highly of each other. But for reasons that are not mine to disclose in a semi-public forum, we cannot be together right now.

So what do we do in the meantime? We want to be friends and continue to see each other. However, because of the highly random way in which we met, we don't, currently, have mutual friends with whom to buffer our time together, nor do we run into each other incidentally. It's always on purpose. And so, when it's just the two of us, and it's planned and paired off, it very much resembles a date.

How do we avoid that? What makes two heterosexual people of opposite genders spending time together not a date?

We decided it was the attitude we have going in. On a date, there is pressure to impress, to be on our best behavior, and eventually snag a mate. On a non-date, you're just you, hanging out and having fun with a good friend. We likened it to a difference between flirting just for fun and flirting to get into someone's pants. Those talented in the art of flirting are very much aware of the difference.

We didn't vocalize this, but non-dating also requires abstaining from anything friends wouldn't do. Kissing, especially. This one's hard, especially if you've already kissed each other before, and you know how much you enjoy it. However, not kissing can be achieved. Even if you have to put a physical barrier between you and the other person. Hugging, on the other hand, is very much allowed. I'm not sure that JT and I could survive without hugging each other.

We both went into our "non-date" on Saturday thinking it was a non-date. Again, it essentially was, and it obviously ended more as one, but we didn't see it as such. As a result, we were just being ourselves, not on our best behavior, and just focusing on having a good time. Even though we didn't talk about it until this week, the lack of pressure to impress each other is actually really nice. Since the best relationships I've ever been in have come out of friendships, this could actually be really good for us. We're getting to know each other's true selves right away, and hopefully, when we do actually get to date, it will be an easy transition.

There is a trick here, and this goes for both dating and not dating. Both parties have to know exactly what is going on. Obviously, if you don't know whether or not you want to pursue something with someone, you don't have to communicate that until you do. But, once you know, you should alleviate confusion by discussing it. If it's dating, that's easy, you just have to say "I'd like to take you on a date this Saturday." If it's not dating, and you think that the other person is trying to date you, then you should also be clear of your intentions. In our case, we were just being friends, and then we kissed, and we needed to make sure we really knew (again, via video chat, as face to face as we can usually get during the week, but it's WAY better than IMing or texting) what was going on.

And we do. And it's good. I like that we talk as much as we do, and we make sure that, at least in regards to us, we know what the other person is thinking. I plan on making sure that continues.