For those of you who are strangers to Greek Life, let me introduce to you, in my opinion, one of the most unnecessarily stressful aspects of being in a sorority or fraternity: the date party.
A date party is exactly what it sounds like: a classic event that typically involves an off-campus venue, semi-formal attire, and that's right, you guessed it, bringing a date. Or rather, in my case, frantically searching for one.
Of course, I cannot speak for everyone, but being that I'm a shy college freshman with a limited amount of guy friends, the simple phrase "date party" gives me heartburn (and at the ripe old age of 19, too). As my chest pains become more persistent, I'm starting to question why I've turned something that's supposed to be fun into something that brings me an unreasonable amount of stress.
For one, I'm afraid that every guy I ask is going to say no. In other words, you could say that I have this wonderful thing called the fear of rejection. This isn't surprising, considering that most people do as well. But this is an extremely real fear. The very thought of asking someone, just for them to turn you down, is scary, heart wrenching, and intimidating; and like most fears, I'm learning how to overcome this.
Although one or two boys I might ask may turn me down, it's pretty illogical for me to think that there isn't a single guy at UCLA who wouldn't want to accompany me. There are 40,000 people at this school - and assuming that half are male, I, in theory, have approximately 20,000 options. That's not too bad. I also need to realize that I shouldn't be upset over the fact that someone may not want to go with me - why would I want to spend time with someone who wouldn't want to spend time with me? Rather than dwelling on rejection, I should be eager to find someone else who actually wants to have fun with me.
A second issue that I have with date parties is that I tend to overcomplicate what it actually entails. In my naive, freshman mind, I tend to believe that the terms "date party" and "friends" are completely independent of one another. For some reason, I have convinced myself that if I ask someone to a date party, they have to "like me" or be at least somewhat attracted to me, very middle school of me, I know.
Instead, I need to recognize that two people can go together as friends, and as a result, not expect anything from one another. Two people could also go as more than friends, but this doesn't mean that expectations have to change. You don't even have to take a date, and instead, enjoy the night with your sorority sisters. When you begin to take away the assumption that date parties will automatically lead to, for lack of a better term, "courtship," you minimize the potential feelings of anxiety and uneasiness that come with associating the date party with such unreasonable standards.
Although easier said than done, I am going to try to no longer associate the date party with stress and resentment. Instead of viewing it as an endless journey of finding a date, I'm going to try to view it as nothing more than a fun, light-hearted event that I can attend with someone I enjoy, whether it be a friend or someone that is more than a friend.