Dating Within The Catholic Community: A Survey from HIS Perspective

In my last blog I shared some data from a study we did of young Catholic women on their dating experiences within the Catholic communities. As promised, here is what the young Catholic men had to say within the same study. The general questions we had for men were, “Are they interested in going out with Catholic young ladies from Church groups? And if they are why don’t they ask out them out more often?
On the first question, the findings revealed that men are interested in the Catholic girls they see at young adult events. 85% of guys mentioned they had seen a girl they like in the Catholic community. However, 45% of those mentioned they had not asked her out. Why are they not asking the girls out? The following are a few of the top reasons.

We presented them with the scenario: You meet a nice young woman at a Catholic event, which reason best describes why you would not ask her out or ask for her number?

First on the list was “I’m not sure if she’s just being friendly or if she likes me more than that.” Naturally, as I explored in the past blog Catholic young adults aren’t the best at being forthright about their romantic feelings. It’s almost as if it were un-Christian to tell someone you find them cute, smart, or attractive and you want to spend some time together.

In addition to that, according to the responses we got both Catholic men and women seem to score low on the art of flirting. Generally, the way they express interest in each other is by asking about the career or trying to find mutual interests. It’s a nice attempt but those are all things we also do at platonic networking events to source new clients or make a business connections. Romantic interest needs to be something more. The more flirtatious expressions like direct compliments or even physical touch were less common among the participants. Consequently, the Catholic men claim they don’t ask young ladies out because they don’t know if they are interested in being asked out. Most men need that probability of success to take the risk on “rejection”.

The second reason they don’t ask out girls is the “I’m not sure if she’s single. She could have a boyfriend”. Normally you can tell if someone’s single by how much interest they show in you. However, once again, that line is very blurred in the Church group because most people are already nice to one another.

Additionally, it’s one thing if the girl at the bar tells you she has a boyfriend and he’s somewhere in the city and another thing if a girl at a Church group has a boyfriend and turns out it’s the guy who leads your Bible study. Tuesday nights could be a little awkward knowing that you are positively interested in his girlfriend.

A third reason men selected was that, “It would be awkward if we went on a few dates and then saw each other at events.” That’s understandable. Even after just two or three dates some people, especially those with fewer dating experiences or higher hopes, can take an “ending” very emotionally; and the last thing you want is awkwardness in your Church group, the one place you’d expect to feel at home. I f young men and women “took things lighter” as several study participants suggested, awkwardness would probably be less common.

In addition to these explanations, men cited other relevant though less common reasons for not asking the young women out. Putting emphasis (sometimes too much) on physical attraction was one of them. It can be hard to find that 5’7 curvy ginger you’re looking for in a Church group of 18 young adults. Men don’t necessarily need beautiful women though. What they’re really after is healthy women and beauty and health often tend to coincide.

How do you get men to ask you out? Show interest. Break with the idea that directly showing interest in someone is somewhat un-Catholic. Sit next to him. Talk to him. Tell him you like his sense of humor.

If you’re still not sure how to do that we did receive some advice from one of the young women who participated in our study:

“Definitely lots of flirtatious conversation. I love witty banter, so if I’m interested, I’ll keep the conversation going and I’ll tease you. Lots of eye-contact and smiles, light touches to your arm. If I’m not interested, the eye contact will be much more intermittent and general body language is a lot more closed off.”

That may be al little too forward for some and I have no idea who that girl is, but I think she will be asked out quite a bit.