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Dating is an aspect of human courtship and is any social activity performed as a pair or even a group with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as their partner in a intimate relationship or as a spouse. The word refers to the act of agreeing on a time and "date" when a pair can meet and engage in some social activity.

In many cultural traditions, dates are arranged by a third party, who may be a family member, an acquaintance, or a dedicated matchmaker. Recently matchmaking services have become popular. Although dating rules in Western popular culture have become more relaxed during the 20th century, there is considerable variation between individuals' values. For example, when the activity costs money, it has traditionally been the man's role to pay; in recent times the practice of "going Dutch" (splitting the expenses) has emerged. Traditional dating activities include sharing entertainment or a meal. In general, a person may date many different partners during the same time period in order to have the best chance of finding their most suitable available mate.

Types of dates

  • Regular date.
  • Double date: two couples meet for an activity.
  • Group date: an activity shared by two or more couples.
  • Blind date: a date where the participants have not met each other personally before (although may have seen each other's pictures); usually set up by a third party or an internet dating service.
  • Long Distance / Holidating: Due to a long distance relationship, dating only when one, or both parties are on holiday or vacation and are together during that time period.

Systems for organizing dates

  • Online dating: Instead of using a traditional matchmaker, online dating uses specifically targeted websites to meet new people.
  • Speed dating: Where a group of people get together for several hours in a public place to get to know one another better. At one of these speed dating events, each person usually sits with another single member for a set period of time to get to know them better, and then at the predetermined time is asked to move and sit with someone else to repeat the process.
  • Mobile dating/cell phone dating: Where text messages to and from a mobile/cell phone carrier are used to show interest in others on the system. Can be web-based or online dating as well depending on the company.
  • Virtual dating: A combination of video game playing and dating, where users create avatars and spend time in virtual worlds in an attempt to meet other avatars with the purpose of meeting for potential dates.
  • Singles events: Where a group of singles are brought together to take part in various events for the purposes of meeting new people. Events can include such things as parties, workshops and games.

Dating problems and misunderstandings

When individuals use the framework of dating for purposes other than assessing their date's suitability for them, misunderstandings can arise. One or both partners may initiate or accept dating invitations due to peer pressure, attention, a desire to escape from a social environment which they find stifling, a desire for acceptance, or a desire to humiliate; these motives can be strong enough to cause the person to deceive themselves and others when challenged, claiming and believing that they are mainly acting in good faith. This can lead to being "stood up".

This problems have led to number of local dating coaches springing up around USA. Dating Coach teaches face to face or over the phone how to interact with opposite gender and improve dating skills. It seems that some specialize in coaching men, some specialize in coaching women, and some coach both.


"Biblical" courtship

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Biblical courtship is a system practiced by a minority of Christian families, mainly in the USA, where dates are chaperoned and the dating relationship is exclusive and may be vetoed by either of the courting parties or by any of their parents. Once the male declares his feelings to the father and an approval is reached, the male and the female can begin the process of getting to know each other on their chaperoned dates. The purpose of the system is to encourage lasting marriages. Despite its name, there are varying opinions as to the degree that this practice either reflects biblical practices or complies with biblical doctrines, or even the extent to which it constitutes "courtship".


Main article: Jewish view of marriage

Hasidic men and women, as customary in Haredi Judaism, usually meet through matchmakers in a process called a shidduch, but marriages involve the mutual consent of the couple and of the parents. Expectations exist that a bride and groom should be about the same age. Marriage age ranges from 17-25, with 18-21 considered the norm. No custom encourages an older man marrying a young woman.

See also


  • Whitney, DeBruyne, Sizer-Webb,(2000). Health: Making Life Choices (pp. 499-500)Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.
  • Havelin, K.(2000). Dating: What Is a Healthy Relationship?Capstone Press.

External links

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