Recently, I was having a conversation with my 20-something-year-old cousin and she was explaining to me how their generation truly doesn't understand or know what it means to date and court. It's really no surprise considering the fact that we live in the age of Instagram, Snapchat, and Netflix & Chill.
However, I like how the Urban Dictionary sums it up – and still refers to it to this day - simply by noting the difference between the two: "Dating is for fun. Courting is for marriage." In other words, dating is typically done between a few or a number of people for the sake of deciding who you're most compatible with, if anyone. Whereas, courting has more intentionality behind it and it's primarily focused on one main person that you could possibly see yourself with in the long run.
So, I wanted to go beyond my previous blog post and find a way to further explain what it actually looks like to proactively pursue a woman.
1. Thou shalt approach or pursue her.
They always say in the airports, "if you see something, say something," and I say, if you see something you like, then say something…with respect of course. It can be as simple as introducing yourself or giving her a compliment. Regardless of what it is or how you do it, have enough courage, and gumption to approach the woman and let your interest be known.
2. Thou shalt be honest and clear about your expectations.
In a recent interview with Robin Roberts and in her book Becoming, our forever First Lady Michelle Obama talked about how President Barack Obama was clear about his intentions. "He was very straightforward. He wasn't playin' games. I say that to the ladies out there. Not a game player. Very clear about what he wanted."
In other words, keep it real and don't lie. Be honest about your intentions and expectations for the relationship. Contrary to popular belief, women actually appreciate and want to know if you're merely trying to date just for the fun of it, or if you're looking to develop and build something more. The more honest you are upfront, the less room you allow for disappointment and frustration that usually results from a lack of not living up to those expectations.
3. Thou shalt be intentional.
You can tell a lot about a man who is interested in you based on how intentional he is towards you. Being intentional simply means "dating with purpose" and being deliberate with your actions. Often times, people get confused and lost in what I like to refer to as the "gray area" because more times than not, someone hasn't made it crystal clear about the status of the relationship (i.e., are we dating, dating other people, exclusive, courting, working towards engagement or marriage, etc.).
It's especially important to date with purpose and be clear and deliberate about your plans for the future when the two of you have moved from dating to the courting stage. No one should have to constantly wonder for months or years about where the relationship is going, if anywhere. Instead, it should be clear through words and deeds as to where the relationship is headed and what the future looks like for the two of you.
4. Thou shalt plan actual dates.
In case you didn't know or needed a friendly reminder: texting is not courting. Furthermore, although quite enjoyable and convenient on cold, winter nights, "Netflix & Chill" is lazy, and Snapchat does not count as an official in-person date. Sometimes, going on dates and pursuing a woman will often times require some creativity and energy on your part.
It's easy to find fun, creative, and even affordable ideas through a simple Google search. You can search things such as: "date ideas," "cheap dates in XYZ location" (and include your specific location), "fun date ideas," and so much more. Moreover, you can always enlist the help of your female friends as well if necessary.
5. Thou shalt put forth an effort.
During an interview on the daytime talk show The View, the hosts asked Taraji P. Henson about her fiancé and when she knew he was "the one." Her response was so real and something I've learned in my own life. She said: "I shut him down for four months. He fought. He was relentless…If he's about it, he will fight for it. You have to be willing to risk it all and walk away from it all, and if he's about that, he will come find you and fix it."
If that ain't the truth. One thing I know for certain is that if a man wants to be with you, he'll be with you. Instead of making excuses, he'll make an effort.
6. Thou shalt be consistent.
Where there is consistency, there is commitment. When it comes to courting that special someone, ask yourself: Is my love consistent? Can she depend on me? Am I reliable? Do my actions line up with my words?
It's not enough to merely say "I'm feeling you," "I want to be with you," or "I love you," but then everything else about your actions say otherwise.
There's no greater sign of a man who is truly committed to woman than a man whose actions align with his words.
So, instead of being committed to constantly breaking her heart, be committed to being a good man to her and for her. Remember, boys play games, but men make plans.
7. Thou shalt not ghost her.
To disappear with no heads-up, explanation, warning, or anything, and to go from talking to someone practically every day or every week to not talking to them at all can be quite confusing and simply put, it's rude. Instead of taking the cowardly way out, just be real. It can be as simple as saying, "Hey, I don't think this will work," "I'm not interested anymore," or "I'm moving on." It may sound harsh initially, but at least it will be the truth.
8. Thou shalt get to know her.
Before you attach certain stereotypes her or before you assume certain things based on what she looks, take the time to get to know her. Ask her questions and engage in conversation that will allow you to find out things like: her interests, her goals, her aspirations, her dreams, her experiences, her background, etc. The more you get to know her, the more you'll know if the relationship could work or not.
9. Thou shalt be open and vulnerable.
"We need to talk about this and sort it out."
It's only fair that if a woman is going to allow herself to be vulnerable with you, then you, too, should allow yourself to be vulnerable as well. It may take some time, but it will allow for a deeper connection. Instead of sending the "representative," be yourself and allow her to get to know you for who you really are.
10. Thou shalt communicate effectively.
I know it's 2019, but just because you're on social media doesn't necessarily mean you're being social. Texting is convenient, but it isn't enough when you're trying to get to know someone. Plus, it can often lead to miscommunication. Hence, make it a point to communicate by actually talking whether on the phone, via Facetime, or in person as much as physically possible.
It is my hope - through these examples and the real-life examples – that we will begin to truly see the rebirth of courtship through the actions of our male counterparts.
Originally published on Shonda Brown White; Featured image by Getty Images
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