Dating: Give the Benefit of the Doubt

This article is based on advice I recently gave my teenage daughter, but I think it applies equally well to adults. In fact, I try to give my girls mature advice or suggestions. There are many different situations in which this recommendation applies. In my opinion, it is generally a good idea to give people the benefit of the doubt. This is true to the degree that the person has not given you reason for distrust.

In other words, if you’ve had no reason to be suspicious previously, don’t automatically start now. For example, if you hear a rumor, check it out. It may well be just a rumor and may be nothing to get upset about. If there seems to be some truth to it, ask the person about it and measure your response according to his or her reaction.

There are times when things look or sound suspicious even though there is a good explanation. That girl he was hugging may well be just a friend. It’s best to find out before flinging wild accusations, which could damage the relationship.

As I told my daughter too, don’t believe everything you hear, especially from people that don’t necessarily have your interests at heart. Another girl that likes the guy you’re interested in is not the best source of information. In fact, you shouldn’t discuss your interest or your relationship with her at all, at least not anything that you don’t want getting back to the guy or anything you don’t want to get twisted to mean something entirely different.

While high school is notorious for grapevine gossip and “friend of a friend” messaging, it does happen out in the world of single adults too, and it’s just as bad an idea now as it was in high school. Give the person you’re interested in the benefit of the doubt as long as you have no reason for distrust, and leave the game playing to the kids.

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