Do You Believe in Practice Dating?

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I've had countless arguments with my friend Margaret over what she calls "practice dating," which is essentially another term for "casual dating".

I've never had a practice dating mentality.

But the more I think about it, the more I'm starting to come around to Margaret's idea. This is growing out of the sad reality that I'm feeling nervous lately when I approach girls, and it's been a while since I've actually strung together some interesting dates.

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I've had a lot of drunk makeouts, late night booty calls, and Facebook flirtations.

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I've had some girls call me cute while I was out, but my reaction was to stand there like I was in the process of fossilizing.

Have I lost my ability to make a move, to get a number, or even converse with a cute girl? Or is this is all in my head.

I liken the situation to a recent divorcee. Suddenly they are thrust out into the dating world again. But, along the way, they lost touch with everything.

Understandable for a married person, but why would someone so single like me eventually lose his comfort zone. Is dating something that requires practice and maintenance to avoid rustiness?

Here is what I need to get over in order to accept practice dating:

Is it unfair?

Why would I just date someone for the sake of dating someone. What if this person I date is really into it, and I'm just out to get some dating practice? That disconnect will cause someone to get hurt and slowly build to a dramatic and awkward end.

Shouldn't It Be Serious?

Along the same lines, I wonder why I'd date someone that probably won't turn into anything special. Both the girls that mentioned I was cute recently when I was out were not particularly interesting. So what's the point of going out with them for a drink or anything of the sort? Isn't all dating supposed to, in a perfect world, lead to a serious relationship?

There Aren't Enough People to Practice Date

It takes me forever to find someone I would even go on a date with. I don't think I'm that great, I just don't see why I'd go out with someone I wasn't really attracted to. The only way I could practice date is if I approached nearly every girl I found attractive. I definitely don't do that at the moment.

I'll Have No Motivation

So, let's say I set up a date with someone-just for practice. The next step would be getting a time picked out, then getting up off my butt and meeting them out. Now, I know there's some girl out there that will trump all of my lazy solitary activities that I love to do. But she won't be someone I just casually date. If I start going on tons of dates just for the sake of it, it's going to be really hard for me not to be miserable every moment leading up to each date.

Perhaps I need to practice date, but adjust the process to fit my personality. Here is what I can do:

  • Approach every girl I find attractive, wherever, whenever. By doing this, I will increase my chances of getting a date, and ensure they will be attractive.
  • Don't expect anything out of the date. Without expectations, I can be more casual about it-the ultimate outcome will become apparent soon enough.
  • Don't overdo it. OK, I do love my independence. I don't have to give it up-I need to make an effort to keep that just as much as I need to make an effort to do this practice dating thing.
  • Save money for it...I'm going to need it.

Practice dating may be necessary for me to regain my form. Perhaps it really is like riding a bike-a few times out and I will be more at ease and comfortable. Sitting there and waiting for the perfect girl, or getting far too wasted with my buddies is getting me nowhere. I can remain picky, but it would pay off for me to give it a shot with most of the attractive girls I meet-even if it ends up being practice.

What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks of this practice dating? Can you give me any advice about how to do it, and what kinds of adjustments I need to make to make sure it works out OK? What are your experiences with casual dating?

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