Before I can get to my point, I'm going to need a little bit of audience participation. Grab a pen and paper. A word document would be fine too, just be sure you actually go through with the activity I'm talking about. Now write down the name of every religious person you've met in the last year who you would be remotely interested in dating. If you don't know a person's name, then give them a respectful description (guy who does music at noon mass, short girl with curly hair, etc.) It's critically important you include everyone that you can remember. For some of you this list might be two or three people, for others it could easily be 15 or 20, that isn't the point I'm trying to make.
What is important is the next step. Put a star next to any name you have actually tried to make contact with in the past year. This could be an invitation to meet up with friends, or go to a party, or even approaching them and having a conversation after mass. If some effort was put into getting to know them better, or to suggest that you appreciate their company, you've earned the right to add a star.
Finally, circle the name of anyone you actually asked out. Spending time with them at a party when you happened to run into each other doesn't count. Neither do compliments or group invites. I'm talking about straightforward plans to spend time together. I'll even count lunch plans or ambiguous invitations to the movies.
If you're anything like the average single Catholic out there, you probably didn't circle many names, and you probably only put a star next to maybe half. If that is the case, and you are someone who doesn't want to be single, their is a straightforward way to change that. Commit to adding more stars and circles to that list.
"Hey!" you might be thinking, "that's way easier said then done, I don't know the first thing about talking to the opposite sex!"
I didn't say it was an easy solution. I'm single, and only have one name circled on my entire list. My only point is that it isn't some big mystery why Catholics can't seem to get a date and we need to stop acting like it is.
"But I can't just go around asking people out! Won't people think I'm a womanizer/slut?"
Probably. A lot of young people were essentially raised on pop culture, and pop culture has beaten into our heads that dating is synonymous with sex. But if you are someone who is honestly seeking a holy relationship that will bring you closer to God, then what you are doing is actually noble. Dating is a numbers game, and each person you ask out brings your chances of finding a relationship a little higher. The world needs more marriage, and while it might seem in bad taste to ask out a couple of people in the same social circles, the main reason it seems that way is because very few people are dating at all in the Church. More and more guys are staying single and getting hooked on porn, and more and more girls are resorting to dating non-Catholics. How is the current situation better then causing a little bit of scandal?
"But won't God bring me the right girl/guy when the time is right?"
This sort of question kind of puts me in an awkward position. I don't want to say no, because God can do whatever he wants. If he really wanted, he could have your soulmate knock on your door and tell you that God told him/her directly to come and meet you, but I've never met someone who that has happened to. Every person I've met who is in a Godly relationship had to work for it. They had to go out and meet people, they had to date other people only to find out they weren't right for each other, and they always had to put themselves out there, and be vulnerable to rejection. God doesn't seem to be playing matchmaker for anybody else, why are we any different?
"But what if they say no?"
That's the question that has always bothered me too. I never wanted to ruin friendships, or put a girl on the spot. My insecurity always made me believe that the girls I seemed to be clicking with were only being nice to me out of Christian duty. It felt like I was betraying them to ask for anything more. I imagine other people feel the same way, not wanting to "ruin the friendship" by pushing their luck. My only advice is to tell you to stop caring. I realize that this is like telling an overweight person to eat less or a lazy person to do more, but its the best I can do. You're under no obligation to keep your relationships as platonic and non-threatening as possible. And how valuable can a friendship really be if you expressing romantic interest is enough to kill it? Maybe if the person your interested in is already married or in a relationship, you would have a good reason to keep your mouth shut, but for most of us "not wanting to ruin the friendship" is a limp-wristed excuse meant to make it out like we're doing the other person a favor at the cost of our own happiness. When really it's just a lack of courage.