“We are all fools in love,” author Jane Austen once eloquently penned 1 . Imagine what her reaction would be after sitting through a few YSA speed dating activities.
The truth is that the search for love in the singles ward isn’t all that different from how it is in a Jane Austen novel. There’s the ward Mr. Darcy, whom every girl in the ward wants to date, but who, for some reason, doesn’t want to date one girl in the ward. There’s the ward Lydia Bennet, who’s too boy crazy for her own good and probably winks at all the elders passing the sacrament. There’s the stunningly beautiful and — stunningly — still single ward Jane Bennet, who all the other girls want to be. And then there’s the ward Mr. Collins.
Oh, the ward Mr. Collins.
If you aren’t well-versed in Austen, Mr. Collins is the “dreaded cousin” in Pride and Prejudice who is expected to both inherit the Bennet home when Mr. Bennet dies and marry one of the man’s daughters. He’s an awkward and shallow man with the tendency to make everyone in a room immediately feel uncomfortable. He uses flattery like it’s going out of style and pursues women like they are, too. Nobody really wants to date or marry Mr. Collins, and the one woman who does end up marrying him only does because she wants to move out of her parents’ basement. Romantic, eh?
As much as I hate to say it, if you’re a young man reading this article, there’s a slight chance that you’re your ward’s Mr. Collins. You, like he, might be sabotaging your own efforts to find your eternal companion without even realizing it. And that’s a really bad thing, because THE PLAN.
So, for the sake of your future potential dates and personal exaltation, here are a few tips on how to avoid being your ward’s Mr. Collins.
1. Give your ward crush space.
We get it. Liking a person is a pretty big deal. It makes you feel light-headed and stupid happy. Whenever you see that special someone at an activity, you just want to rush to their side and be there with them always. Though that’s an admirable desire that will serve you well in your eternal marriage, it can be a bad plan before you’ve begun dating a person, especially if that person hasn’t communicated that they like you. Most girls like to socialize and mingle with lots of people at activities, so asking to be with one all night is potential relationship suicide that might make her extremely uncomfortable. If she says yes, but she’s taking lots of “bathroom breaks” and lots of “trips to talk with her friends,” chances are she’s not into ya, man. I’m sorry.
Say hello to that girl you think is fine. See how she’s doing. But give her some space to do her own thing. Don’t monopolize her time, but hand her a hint of how her time could be spent to keep her interested, then move on. Less is more, and in situations like this, it’s ALWAYS more.