I used to work for an organization called “Young Life” that partnered with local high schools to help kids learn about Jesus, life, relationships – just about anything we could do to journey with them as they navigated their teens. It was one of the most challenging jobs I’ve had.
It was also one of the most clueless episodes of my life. I won’t list all of the awkward things I perpetrated there, partly because there’s not enough storage on my WordPress account, and partly because I don’t want to re-hash it all.
However, just to illustrate how bad I wrestle with this…
I went on a date with a friend’s cousin. Nothing huge, no fireworks, neither of us was really into it. At the end of the date, I parked the car in front of her apartment, unbuckled my seat belt, opened the door and started to get out. She got agitated and said, “No. No, it’s OK, you don’t have to walk me up.”
As someone who’s always struggled with social anxiety, trying to figure out norms, protocols, and the myriad games we’re supposed to play, especially the ones that apply to girls, I thought I had run into something new. Maybe girls don’t actually like being walked to their door. Maybe it makes them feel some kind of pressure to invite you in, or kiss you because you went out of your way.
My next date, some time later, with a different girl who worked with Young Life, went way better, until the end when I didn’t get out of the car. I didn’t want to freak her out, or put some kind of pressure on her – I thought I was doing a good thing.
So I sat in the car like an idiot and said “good night.” Read more