Letter #77: ‘DTR’ Via Christmas Gifts

December 16, 2010

Dear relationships,

I’ve decided the seriousness of you can be defined by the Christmas gifts individuals exchange. I didn’t just randomly say, “Self, I decided I’ll determine the commitment level of people’s love lives based on the fact they gave their ‘significant other’ a coffee mug, an iTunes giftcard or a plane ticket to meet their family.” In reality, I was catching up with a friend from kamp, and obviously, the conversation got to boys. She started telling me she was dating someone: great guy, fun, easy conversation, long distance, and my favorite description, pushes her to grow in her walk with the Lord. ***Does he have a brother or friend?!***

I’m listening away, sifting through the fluff of her description getting to the root of how into him she really was. Finally, out of nowhere, I stop the conversation and ask this of all questions: “So, what’d you get him for Christmas?” First of all, presumptuous to the fact she had already done her Christmas shopping…oh dang, I need to finish that! Secondly, what kind of question is this?

Her response: a shirt and sweater. Instantly, she entered middle of the road seriousness category concerning you. Let me explain. I’ve put this into three categories. The first would be ‘shallow water wader.’ “Hey, I want you to know I care, but this is not a big commitment at this point.” This would be when you are in the early stages or you are dealing with commitmentphobes. Gifts could include anything not taking much thought or commitment: candy, giftcards, a bottle of wine (21+ of course), music, etc. You are acknowledged, but nobody is getting in too deep with these.

(Shallow Water Wader)

The next category would be ‘confident swimmer, fearful diver.’ “I really like you, I want to keep dating you, but I’m not ready to dive head first into this.” This occurs between two and six months (give or take) of being in you, depending on the pace of individuals involved (slow and steady or hot and heavy). Gifts include clothing (friend’s category!), home decor, small event tickets, any wanted item mentioned along the way, etc. You are more than just acknowledged. Forethought took place, investment is being made (obviously the other person’s look matters) and the amount of observation of the other that has occurred is revealed.

(Confident Swimmer, Fearful Diver)

The final category would be ‘head first high diver.’ “I might love you and am thinking I’m going to be in this for the long haul.” This happens six months and beyond and should be approached wisely. I repeat, the gun should not be jumped here. Gifts include big event tickets, jewelry, mutually usable items (dogs not recommended), plane tickets to visit one another or meet family, etc. Long term commitment is evident.

(Head First High Diver)

You can be really complicated, but this Christmas gift concept really simplifies you for me. I can learn a ton about you in my friend’s lives with one question. I say my friends because I’m not even a ‘shallow water wader’ yet! Who knew Christmas could simplify you?!

(My current state of swimming!)

Wondering what all my friends are getting for Christmas,

Haven’t even made it in the water, just laying out and scoping out potential pools


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