Being the Initiator?

Being the Initiator? President Dallin H. Oaks recently gave a worldwide devotional to single adults with a number of suggestions and recommendations. In this address in May, 2023, he states the following: “Men, if you have returned from your mission and you are still following the boy-girl patterns you were counseled to follow when you were 15, it is time for you to grow up. Gather your courage and look for someone to pair off with. Start with a variety of dates with a variety of young women, and when that phase yields a good prospect, proceed to courtship. It’s marriage time. That is what the Lord intends for His young adult sons and daughters. Men have the initiative, and you men should get on with it. If you don’t know what a date is, perhaps this definition will help. I heard it from my 18-year-old granddaughter. A ‘date’ must pass the test of three p’s: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, and (3) paired off.” (source:

Men—told to initiate: These lines from his quote have caused a bit of a stir: “Men…it is time for you to grow up. Gather your courage…Men have the initiative, and you men should get on with it.” To me that sounded like shaming/pressuring language. Although that is not my style, some will argue that this kind of approach is sometimes needed. In any event, I agree it is a good idea for men to initiate and “get on with it” (don’t procrastinate). I encourage all men to keep looking, trying, and improving yourself along the way. Be proactive. Try. Be actively and regularly looking for a quality woman to date, and then go for it.

However, the one main thing I would add to the words by President Oaks is this: I encourage men to remember the need for mutual interest during their social efforts. If you (men) try to get to know a woman and she isn’t showing you she has at least a reasonable openness and interest in you and your efforts to get to know her, please do not proceed any further. Being rejected is far less likely when you are getting good, positive signs and signals from the start that she is interested too and open to you pursuing things with her. Remembering this will greatly lessen being rejected, feeling frustrated, and risking giving up on the dating and relationship process. Ideally, most every woman you ask on a date will say yes if you first get to know reasonably well and can accurately assess her true interest levels. For more ideas on assessing interest, see: and

Women—be proactive:

I suppose that general authorities give women more of a “pass” on the need to initiate relationship opportunities because…that is traditionally how it has always been? I honestly don’t know why else. Still, I don’t think that a woman today looking for and initiating a date with a man is against any sort of violation of church doctrine. So, why shouldn’t women initiate dates? Is it because church leaders think women can’t handle the rejection and frustration, 2 things that inevitably a part of the dating process? That women are too sensitive or fragile? I don’t know for sure, because the general authorities never seem to say why it is primarily a man’s responsibility to ask women out on dates. But I still don’t see how a woman initiating social interactions and even asking a man out on a date violates a commandment or is doing anything wrong.

So in my opinion, even though women (and men too, really) have the option to not initiate social interactions and initiate dates, I think it is fine to do and I recommend women do so as well. You can replicate the suggestions I gave to the men previously. Either way, please at least don’t be passive. Or coy. Or hard to get. Or just be…waiting, assuming others will somehow just “find you”. Instead, please be as extraverted and sociable with men as possible. Go to as many activities and get togethers that you can where possibly available men may be. Initiate conversations with them and show as much clear and obvious interest as you can. Be open and approachable. And if you aren’t willing to ask a man out one-on-one, you can at least invite him to a group activity that still brings you both together. For more information on being approachable, see: For more information on flirting, see:

Final Thoughts:

I encourage you to read or watch President Oaks’s entire address and take from it what you can. He is trying to help. You may or may not agree with everything he is saying, but undoubtably you will find something valuable in there. Men and women both, please “get on with it” and keep trying. The timing will never be easy or convenient. Just do your best and try to make your best, better. There are many useful and helpful videos, audios, and books to help. You can get therapy as well if needed. Just don’t give up. Success will happen, eventually. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Dr. G
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at

2024-02-11 Randy Gilchrist Dating

Previous article Next article

About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to