Wondering about the couple status of some of your friends? Maybe I can help.
In the past year, I can't tell you how many times people at my church have asked if I was dating some of the young ladies there. It seems there are rumors about a different girl each month, so it's time to set things straight on how to address these questions. Here are some tips to keep from aggravating your single friends.
First it needs to be said that if two individuals of opposite gender are sitting next to each other in church, it does not mean they are dating. Is it really that hard to believe? If you're married, think back to those days when you weren't. Were you an item with every member of the opposite sex that you sat next to? Probably not. Neither are your single friends. To the other singles, we're guilty of this one, too. This rule extends to the parking lot and casual dining as well. Walking a lady to her car may simply be a gentlemanly act or good conversation (maybe about how frustrating it is to always be asked if you're dating a specific someone).
Ask in General Terms
To avoid putting pressure on folks or prodding beyond what they may be comfortable with, simply ask, "Is there a special [guy or gal] in your life right now?" and follow up with how the deserve someone special or that you're praying for guidance in the area. I was blessed to be able to chat with my pastor for a long while during a Lamar football game in the fall and he executed this flawlessly. "Any special ladies in your life?" he asked, and followed up with, "Any blips on the radar?" It showed me a genuine concern for me and my future wife and after I said no to both questions, Raymond said, "Maybe it's time to start praying." It cracked me up and I love telling the story, but it does bring me to another point. If your friends aren't in a relationship, don't assume they're not trying or putting themselves out there. They may not be. But use discretion in bringing it up. I don't think that's what Raymond was saying to me; his statement was more an encouragement not to put off the blessings of marriage, but you get my point here.
Ask the Guy
Don't get upset yet. Just let me hash this out and you'll see where I'm going, then you can disagree. Spiritually, the dude in a relationship should be the leader. I'm not saying that he's going to be more mature or that he's closer to God, but that he should be the one to take spiritual initiative and set the tone for the relationship. I think this extends beyond spiritual application and that the dude has the responsibility of bringing definition and direction, as well. Since I know some of you are laughing right now, I'm not claiming I'm good at it, but that this is how it should be (now stop laughing and pray for your brother!). That being said, if you are wondering about the couple status of specific friends, don't ask the girl. If the folks are just friends, you run the risk of raising doubts, questions, and emotional confusion in the lady. I've felt this way for a long time and saw it happen just this month. Think the guy needs to make a commitment? Why would you talk to the lady about that? I guarantee it won't help here.
When in Doubt, Don't Ask
Look, if you're close friends to the folks you're wondering about, they're going to let you know when a relationship has reached a level of commitment. When things are casual and folks are trying to discern God's direction for their lives, they may not want the pressure that comes from being prodded and probed about a potential dating relationship. If information is not offered, it's probably best not to ask. Let me tell you, when I'm in a serious relationship with a girl, you're probably going to know. I'll tell you or facebook will tell you. It won't be a secret and this is true for most of your friends, too. If you're not that close to the folks you're wondering about, chances are that their status is none of your business. I'm sorry to be blunt, but that's how it is. The exception here is if there is an obvious issue of sin that needs to be addressed. Intimacy without direction falls into this category. Walking together in the parking lot or going on a friend date does not.
I hope these help you or that they give you something to think about in you interactions. Let me know what you think.
Blessings and Shalom,