Wouldn’t it be great if every person we were going to date came with a rating sticker and a scorecard? That way we could know how much dishonesty or sincerity to expect from them.

The bad news is life doesn’t operate that way, and the good news is, life doesn’t operate that way! If and when dating becomes a set of standards established by a bureaucracy, we’re all in deep trouble. Until then, there has to be some way to figure out who we are dating and just what their normal behavior looks like. 

One of the first goals to establish for dating is to know what you are looking for. Are you looking for a:

– Casual dating experience and someone to share a few hours with?

– Steady girlfriend or boyfriend? 

– The ultimate dating test, are you looking for a future spouse?

For the first choice, the criteria are much lower. We often need to simply feel safe and comfortable around this person. For the second choice, longer-term compatibility is an additional factor to consider. The third choice requires a great deal of trust building and experience sharing. That is when we really need to know how to spot phony people who really are only in it for their own self-interests. 

One key to knowing whether or not we have found a deceiving or a genuine prospect is to listen to our own heartfelt convictions. Does the person offer obvious platitudes, without any apparent reasons as to why he believes what he is saying?

A statement such as “I always say grace before I eat a meal” when the person has not discussed any background of being in church, nor a family history that incorporates religious teachings, may indicate a less than honest approach to the conversation. Moreover, a general lack of a solid stance on moral issues is often a good indicator that the person you’re considering dating might be willing to say whatever is necessary to advance his or her goals. 

Conversational cues work well for assessing the intent of a prospective date as well. Does your date have recurring “slips of the tongue?” Does you date curse or use inappropriate words? Cursing in some cultural contexts appears to be more prevalent today, but is it what you would consider a great first impression? 

When trying to figure out if the other person is a fake or just awkward around people, listen to your heart. Does the person you’re dating show an honest and real concern for you? And to be completely honest, the question isn’t if they seem concerned for what you look like or how you’re dressed. The question is: Do they seem to care about your feelings?  

It also helps to be honest with yourself. Imagine for a moment that you’re sightless and can’t see the person you’re dating. If that were the case, would their words be still appealing? Would the words be as witty, as funny or compelling if you couldn’t see their appearance? Would he still have a sense of humor if you couldn’t see his face? Would she still be as appealing to talk to if you couldn’t see her figure?

If you’re ready to forgive anything and everything for those looks, don’t be surprised if looks turn out to be deceiving. Keep in mind that the end goal of dating can be important, since dating is often the prelude to some type of relationship. 

Will that relationship be built on a foundation of honest appraisal of the other person or on nothing more than a wishful attitude? Biblical concepts are often considered old-fashioned now, but it pays to remember that those concepts have stood the test of time for a reason. Those concepts remained viable, for the best reason of all — they work. The dating quandary gets bit easier for Christians, but not much. 

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? 2 Corinthians 6:14

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