One of the most nerve-wracking things for many people is walking into a room of strangers and striking up a conversation with someone. The feeling can be a combination of nausea and getting punched in the stomach; an uncomfortable, hollow feeling that threatens to send you running out the door. Throw in assigned pairs and a four minute time-frame, and some people are ready to cower in the corner.
Thankfully volunteers didn’t have to bribe anyone out of a dark corner at the Newman Centre during Faith Connections and Newman Young Adult Ministry’s A Date to Remember Catholic Speed Dating event, held on January 25.
During the opening of the event, respect for human dignity was emphasized, and rightly so; everyone deserves to be respected as a child of God. But when the conversation is a little disappointing, or the sparks aren’t flying, it can be easy to judge the person sitting across from you, or perhaps blame yourself. Does it really matter if the sparks don’t fly immediately, or the conversation isn’t exactly sparkling? Many modern love songs try to tell us that it can’t be the ‘real thing’ if there isn’t immediate chemistry, and we can begin to hold our speed dates (or longer dates) to those standards. There is a real danger in this because we can lose that respect for the dignity of each person.
As I looked around at all of the speed daters, I was impressed that there were so many men and women willing to open themselves, perhaps fighting down an uncomfortable case of the nerves, to meet ten new people during their speed dates, not to mention the people they talked to during the dance. This affirmed the dignity of all the people at the event. Perhaps more importantly, it showed that each person believed at some level that they had that same dignity; they had something meaningful to offer in a friendship or romantic relationship. Often, when we talk about dignity and self-respect, we forget that it also applies to ourselves too. Something awesome happens when we remember this: we become more self-confident and have more self-respect. That’s an important thing when we are meeting new people in any situation.
— by Lauren van Vliet
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