LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single


Singles Give Their Definition of “Hanging Out” versus “Dating”

I had the rare opportunity, a few years ago, to live with my oldest niece for two years while she was finishing her teaching license requirements at BYU and I was back at BYU trying to finish my BA. She was still in the young BYU, early 20’s crowd (and met her husband during that time) and I was attending the “Midsingles Ward” (ages 30-45) that I’m still a member of today. In my niece I had a fun roommate, and I also had fun watching her and her friends’ experiences in the BYU dating scene.

I think it goes without saying that the dating scene among BYU students and that of singles over age 30 is different in many ways, and that anyone outside of Utah or older than 25 or 30 has fewer prospects for dating. However, I had a lot of fun recently interviewing singles of different ages and places as to their definition of what constitutes a “date” versus “hanging out.” Sound familiar?

Paired off

Paired off

As we near the 10th anniversary of Elder Oaks’ talk on May 1st…

I was recently divorced and attending classes at UCLA and the Westwood LDS Institute of Religion  when Elder and Sister Oaks gave their now classic talks on “Hanging Out.” I was a little amused by the reaction it caused, with singles worrying that he was trying to say that we should never, ever spend time with a group of friends. The singles that I knew at UCLA seemed to me to be pretty brave about asking each other out, so I figured they were being hard on themselves. Hopefully we’re not still beating ourselves as singles, but can also be aware of where we need to leave our “safe place” and take some chances. (Incidentally, most of those students that I knew are now married with children, so they must have done something right.)

As for us “older folk,” and the YSA’s, are we avoiding dating by sticking to the safety of “hanging out”, or are we still making our best effort? That was the aspect of Elder Oaks’ and Sister Oaks’ talks that I remember most. You can go back and read it here. I think people forget that Sister Oaks spoke, too, because Elder Oaks dropped the “bombshell,” (depending on how you saw it), then she got to be the comforting, “I’ve been where you are before….” because she didn’t get married until she was in her 50’s. Maybe that’s why.

I had fun “interviewing” friends at church and singles in LDS Facebook groups on their thoughts these 10 years later. It turned out to be quite entertaining, and gave me some things to think about. I hope you enjoy it at least almost as much as I did. (All names changed.) Here you go:

Brandan: for Polynesians, hanging out means eating, If there’s no food, there are no people.grilling sausageshawaii-644088_640

Isaiah: Pairing off is the important part.

Hyeon: I prefer to become friends first before a date. I tried the dating thing first – it kills it.

Austin: You know it when you see it. Midsingles tend to stop at hanging out.

Luke: Make sure people know it’s a date. Having been hurt so much, hanging out is safer. Nobody gets hurt.

(Insert: I disagree with this to an extent. A lot of people can get hurt with hanging out, wondering why a certain person hasn’t asked them out, etc. But I think that depends on how you handle things emotionally, and what your expectations are.)

Jessica: A date is when two people, having common interests, participate in a mutually decided upon activity with the intent to analyze each other’s words, actions, and suitability for eternal companionship …my opinion of course.

Ian: Planned, paid for and paired off?

Paired off: dates don't have to be expensive.

Paired off: dates don’t have to be expensive.



Jennifer: In order to clarify with men about if we are on a date, if a man asks me to hang out with them I ask “you mean like on a date?” So the ball is in their court. They will clarify for me and then I can decide do I want to hang or date. I now have no confusion, I force the issue.

Paul: I agree with Jessica, but would add, that is what I would say from a religious standpoint and it is regardless of whether the intent is there to analyze those things… and regardless of whether there are actually any common interests, because sometimes the date is solely to find out IF there are common interests, because one often does not know and if there are common interests, one often does not even notice they are actually analyzing words, actions and suitability for eternal companionship, as their intent may have only been to go have fun.

Stephanie: I had a “guy friend” for several years who continuously asked if he could come over to my house or if I would go to his (oh boy, I hope he doesn’t see this or he’ll recognize his story, haha) and watch a movie while cuddling. In my standard, that was a recipe for trouble and I didn’t want him around my children unless we had really had some official dating time under our belts. A while back he mentioned he was irritated with me because I kept shooting him down when he was asking me out. I was so confused. I guess it’s safe to say, in MY book, I never recognized asking to sit and cuddle on one of our couches as a date. I would say it’s when one asks another out to enjoy each other’s company if you already know each other or get to know each other, with the potential or possibility of a more close and intimate relationship. PS: (in case you’re wondering), I don’t have any problems with communication and I directly told him I didn’t feel what he was suggesting was appropriate unless we had actually dated so I was little irritated by his irritation and confusion.

Seong: Surely it’s not always realized, Paul (above comment). However, why would someone agree to a ‘date’ if there wasn’t at least one common interest? I wouldn’t agree to go on a date without first evaluating the situation to see if there is a reason to oblige.Minigolf

Julie: Hanging out is when people are too scared to pair off. hhahaha Just kidding. Hanging out should be just friends and maybe it’s a chance to find people to ask out. A first date should be time spent with someone to get to know them and decide if you want to go out on a second date. That’s it. No commitment beyond that. The second date should help you get to know them more and decide if you’d like to have a 3rd date with them. That’s all. Simple, fun, laid back. Can we get over this idea that a date is a freaking marriage proposal? lol Then maybe more people would actually be going out on real dates. Also, dates do not need to require ANY money to be spent, I hear that excuse a lot and I think it’s silly. My most favorite dates consisted of hiking, having a picnic the guy made, or watching science/ nature documentaries cause I’m a geek like that. Another good example….I went on a really awkward date once where we went to a fun center place and did batting cages, go carts, golf, you name it. Hardly talked. The guy must have spent $80 on the two of us. The most fun part of the date was at the house afterward when we played air hockey in his basement! Could have skipped the money-sucking fun center and had a great free date instead.

Sasha: A fruit.

Eva: Hanging out is a group thing, if it’s one-on-one then it’s a date.

Erika: I’ve been on several “planned, paired, and paid for” outings, and later the guys said it wasn’t a date. So you got me. I don’t know. Lol640px-Date_Fruits-Duo

Marcos: from Merriam Webster
Definition of DATE
1) the oblong edible fruit of a palm (Phoenix dactylifera)
2) the tall palm with pinnate leaves that yields the date

Paul: that common interest could be as simple as, you are both LDS and single… and that might be enough for some people. I have certainly dated plenty of women based on that premise. I used to travel a LOT at one point, and I went to church in wards or branches in not only other states but even in other countries.

Sometimes I was a short timer, only there for maybe a month or so, even less, and I’d go to an activity or an FHE for YSA or something, and meet people and ask a girl out on a date… one night before I left town, when I knew nothing about them, except, they were cute, they were members, and they were in the same place I was, and I wanted to know more about them. I met a lot of wonderful young women this way. Many I didn’t have enough in common with them to stay in touch, but I discovered that due to my many varied interests, I had at least something in common with everyone I ever met, even when they were not members and I met them in other ways, but I still knew very little to nothing about them. I found that my ability to ask along with her ability to answer was all we had to have in common to go out and have a good time, regardless of who they were or where I was…

Heck, to be honest, I have even went on dates with many different women where the only thing we had in common was that I barely spoke their language and they barely spoke mine (oh and we were both interested in learning each others language better too). At least until we went out and spent some time getting to know each other. Then we always found out there was plenty we had in common.

Hanging Out: but these ladies have good odds. ;)

Hanging Out: but these ladies have good odds. 😉

Jessica: I’m not arguing the simplicity of the common interest, just that there is some form of common ground present before agreeing to a date

Stephanie: I have to agree with Paul on this one, Jessica (which I rarely do because it’s so fun NOT to agree with him, haha), there have been several occasions when I’ve gone on a date with someone I briefly met at a singles conference or event that I didn’t have time to talk to at any length with before our date. I’ve also been set up by friends with guys I didn’t know at all but still considered it a date regardless of how “blind” it was. I think the definition has to do with the intent of the participants.

Matt: A date is spending time with someone, getting to know them on a personal level. A date is a way to open up and be who you are with someone you care about.

Sandy: To me a date is when two people interested in getting to know each other on a deeper level than just media meet up in a save environment and have a fun and mutually entertaining time together while getting to know what the person is all about in person

LaShaun: There are two kinds of dates. One is a dried fruit, the other is a social interaction between a man and a woman engaging in a mutually enjoyable activity. I think Canada is too cold (for) the dried fruit kind to grow, however they keep well and are sold in almost all grocery stores. They are the only kind of date I’ve had lately.

Brazilian Date Palm

Brazilian Date Palm

Crystal: Spending time one on one with the opposite sex.

Lauren: To quote Elder Oaks, “Paired off, planned out, and paid for.”

Paid for (doesn't have to be expensive)

Paid for (doesn’t have to be expensive)

Rebecca: An arranged time to talk on the phone. lol

Nathan: A date is something that I do once a year just to shut my mother up.

Akahata: A date is an appointment that you make with someone that you want to get to know in a romantic way.

Jason: The sweet brown fruit of various types of palm trees

Akahata: A date is when two people are going to dinner. The guy is acting weird. The girl isnt feeling it and wants to leave but the guy tells her to get a ride lol

Holly: I was told by a guy friend, if he pays, you spend time together, it’s a date…. This confused me because that meant he and I had been on multiple dates without me knowing. My definition is in flux because of this.

Namon: You might actually be married already Holly.holding hands lds

Holly: Namon, we did walk around the table 3 times counter clock wise… uh, oh!

Jason: Yeah, I agree with Namon, why aren’t you with your husband, Holly? Tsk tsk.

Holly: Good question, I better go find him.

Jason: See Elder Oaks’ remarks about the 3 P’s…and it should be obvious that the intent is a date, for both parties. You can’t just like subversively string together the planning, the paying, and the paring off and be like “What?! Date #1! Ah yee-ah!” That’s not how it works… hahaha.

Paired off :)

Paired off 🙂


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Sister Linda K. Burton on the Wait for an Eternal Companion

from her March 2, 2014 CES fireside address, “Tuning Our Hearts to the Voice of the Spirit.”

Author Corrie ten Boom’s observation seems applicable here: “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future that only He can see.”

Perhaps some of you have had a similar experience to that which our six children have had as they have searched for worthy eternal companions. Because hindsight is 20/20, they can now see that they each needed to have certain experiences in order to be able to recognize the Lord’s hand leading them to their eternal companions. Some of those experiences required years of patiently waiting and moving forward in faith. At times the heavens even seemed closed to them as they prayed. When the Lord’s timing conflicts with our own desires, trust that there might be some preparatory experiences the Lord needs us to have before our prayers are answered.


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President Uchtdorf on Soul Mates and Dating

Photojenni_-_baby_swan_(by) Will I Ever Find My Soul Mate?

From a CES fireside by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, November 1st, 2009. For the entire talk:
text here, video here
A second question we hear from you young people is “I’m so lonely. Will I ever find my soul mate?” I have a number of things I want to say on this subject, but let’s start with the concept of finding the one person you were meant to be with — the one person who is perfect for you.

There is an old story about a young woman on an archaeological excavation who discovers an ancient-looking lamp. When she rubs it, a genie appears, offering her one wish. She thinks for a moment and asks for world peace — that people would love each other and live in harmony forever.

The genie contemplates her request and finally says: “What you are asking for is impossible. The division among the peoples of the world is too deep and has existed for too long. Please ask for something else. Anything but that.”

The young lady thinks again and says: “Somewhere out there is the one person I was meant to be with. I want to find him — someone who is handsome, thoughtful, and has a sense of humor; someone who will help around the house, loves kids, doesn’t watch sports all the time, has a great job, and thinks first about my happiness; someone who will go shopping with me and who can get along with my family.”

The genie considers her request for a moment, sighs deeply, and then replies, “Let me see what I can do about world peace.”

from "Ashley" on flickr

from “Ashley” on flickr



I know this may be a disappointment for some of you, but I don’t believe there is only one right person for you. I think I fell in love with my wife, Harriet, from the first moment I saw her. Nevertheless, had she decided to marry someone else, I believe I would have met and fallen in love with someone else. I am eternally grateful that this didn’t happen, but I don’t believe she was my one chance at happiness in this life, nor was I hers.

Another error you might easily make in dating is expecting to find perfection in the person you are with. The truth is, the only perfect people you might know are those you don’t know very well. Everyone has imperfections. Now, I’m not suggesting you lower your standards and marry someone with whom you can’t be happy. But one of the things I’ve realized as I’ve matured in life is that if someone is willing to accept me — imperfect as I am — then I should be willing to be patient with others’ imperfections as well. Since you won’t find perfection in your partner, and your partner won’t find it in you, your only chance at perfection is in creating perfection together.

There are those who do not marry because they feel a lack of “magic” in the relationship. By “magic” I assume they mean sparks of attraction. Falling in love is a wonderful feeling, and I would never counsel you to marry someone you do not love. Nevertheless — and here is another thing that is sometimes hard to accept — that magic sparkle needs continuous polishing. When the magic endures in a relationship, it’s because the couple made it happen, not because it mystically appeared due to some cosmic force.The_Magic_of_a_Photogram_by_Floss_Defoe

Frankly, it takes work. For any relationship to survive, both parties bring their own magic with them and use that to sustain their love. Although I have said that I do not believe in a one-and-only soul mate for anyone, I do know this: once you commit to being married, your spouse becomes your soul mate, and it is your duty and responsibility to work every day to keep it that way. Once you have committed, the search for a soul mate is over. Our thoughts and actions turn from looking to creating.

But what about those who despair of ever finding an eternal companion? First, don’t give up. Go to activities, meet people, and do all you can. I know that dating can be rough. Rejection is one of the most painful things we can experience. Trust me, I know how this feels. I fell in love with Harriet long before she fell in love with me.

But this didn’t stop me — not at all. I found ways to be in the same place she was. When I was administering the sacrament at church, I arranged to pass it to her family. I was doing the best I could to impress her, but I think she found me a little immature. The sparks simply weren’t there for her. I despaired of ever convincing her that I could be anything more than a friend.

I went away, joined the Air Force, and then traveled half a world away to attend pilot training in the United States. It wasn’t until I returned to Germany having completed my training as a fighter pilot — years after I had first met her — that this beautiful young woman looked at me and said those magical words I had been longing to hear: “You have matured since the last time I saw you.”

I moved quickly after that, and within a few months I married the woman I had loved for a long, long time.

So don’t give up, brothers and sisters. Just because you have been rejected a time or two — or three or four, or a couple hundred times — don’t despair. Brethren, the secret to finding the girl of your dreams is to get to know many of them and then, when you fall in love and it feels right, ask her to marry you. If she says no, you continue to search and to pray until finally you will arrive with that young woman at the altar of the temple. Just don’t give up.

Now, sisters, be gentle. It’s all right if you turn down requests for dates or proposals for marriage. But please do it gently. And brethren, please start asking! There are too many of our young women who never go on dates. Don’t suppose that certain girls would never go out with you. Sometimes they are wondering why no one asks them out. Just ask, and be prepared to move on if the answer is no.

One of the trends we see in some parts of the world is our young people only “hanging out” in large groups rather than dating. While there is nothing wrong with getting together often with others your own age, I don’t know if you can really get to know individuals when you’re always in a group. One of the things you need to learn is how to have a conversation with a member of the opposite sex. A great way to learn this is by being alone with someone — talking without a net, so to speak.

Dates don’t have to be — and in most cases shouldn’t be — expensive and over-planned affairs. When my wife and I moved from Germany to Salt Lake City, one of the things that most surprised us was the elaborate and sometimes stressful process young people had developed of asking for and accepting dates.

Relax. Find simple ways to be together. One of my favorite things to do when I was young and looking for a date was to walk a young lady home after a Church meeting. Remember, your goal should not be to have a video of your date get a million views on YouTube. The goal is to get to know one individual person and learn how to develop a meaningful relationship with the opposite sex.

Now, there are those among you fine young members of the Church who might never marry. Although they are worthy in every way, they may never find someone to whom they will be sealed in the temple of the Lord in this life. There is no way for those who have not experienced this despair to truly understand the loneliness and pain they might feel. I know of many women who want more than anything else to be a wife and a mother, and they cannot understand why their prayers have never been answered. There are many single men who, for whatever reason, also find themselves alone.

First, let me tell you that your prayers are heard. Your Father in Heaven knows the desires of your heart. I cannot tell you why one individual’s prayers are answered one way while someone else’s are answered differently. But this I can tell you: the righteous desires of your hearts will be fulfilled.

Sometimes it can be difficult to see anything beyond the path immediately before us. We are impatient and do not want to wait for a future fulfillment of our greatest desires. Nevertheless, the brief span of this life is nothing in comparison with eternity. And if only we can hope and exercise faith and joyfully endure to the end — and I say joyfully endure to the end — there, in that great heavenly future, we will have the fulfillment of the righteous desires of our hearts and so very much more that we can scarcely comprehend now.640px-SwansCygnus_olor

In the meantime, do not wait for someone else to make your life complete. Stop second-guessing yourself and wondering if you are defective. Instead, seek to reach your potential as a child of God. Seek learning. Become engaged in a meaningful career, and seek fulfillment in service to others. Use your time, your talents, and your resources to improve yourself and bless those around you. All of this is part of your preparation for having a family. Immerse yourself in your ward or branch and seek to magnify your callings, no matter what they may be.

The great purpose of this mortal existence is to learn to fully love our Heavenly Father and our neighbor as ourselves. If we do this with all our might, mind, and strength, our eternal destiny will be glorious and grand beyond our capacity to imagine. Be faithful, and things will work out for you. That is His eternal promise to all who love and honor Him.

Original address here and text here.