EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: I recently went on my first date with a guy from church. I did so because I was encouraged by 3 godly people whose opinion I greatly value. The guy is my church youth leader; he's respectable and God-fearing and he wants to pursue a relationship with me. The problem is, I can't seem to make myself like him as a friend much less enter into a relationship with him. I'm not even sure I'm ready to be in a relationship. But since I'm going to be crossing paths with him at least every Sunday, I need advice on how to approach this.

HE SAID: 

I appreciate when close friends and godly people suggest someone for me to go out with. To me it means they think highly enough of them and me to put their friendship "on the line," and for the most part I have never been disappointed in my decision to go out or with the other person themselves. However, that doesn’t mean we became “soul mates,” went out again, or even stayed friends for a long time afterwards.

As we all strive to find the “right one,” I continually remind myself I am not seeking the “perfect person,” but rather the “perfect person” for me.

This youth leader is no doubt a respectable and God-fearing man, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he is the perfect person for you.

As you probably know, dating someone in leadership in the church is like dating a celebrity of sorts. The congregation will be excited and highly supportive at the outset, have their opinion and suggestions throughout (and freely give it), encouraging to “fast-track” it towards marriage, and take sides, should it not work out.

With that in mind, before he even enters the picture (or “it” goes any further), you should decide for yourself first and foremost if you are ready to be in a relationship. If you are not, you will need to let him know before anything further develops, especially since he wants to pursue a relationship with you.

If you truly believe in your heart you are ready for a relationship, but do not have feelings for him, he also needs to know this. It is not fair for him to take his time, energy and emotions away from his “kids” (spoken from a fellow youth worker) to spend on you if you can’t even make yourself like him as a friend.

Understandably, there will be some awkwardness when you see each other, but it’s important to be honest with him. This is not to say over time your emotions for him can’t slowly grow into a friendship and future relationship, but there is no need to lead him on at this point if your heart is not into it.  

Keep in mind, a decision to not move forward does not in any way make either of you “not worthy” personally or relationally, or discount the efforts of those encouraging you to go out.  It may just mean you are not the right person for each other.

SHE SAID:

Your friends (who you value) thought you would make a great couple. They probably feel you are both are mature Christians who have similar interests and could have a lot of fun. However, it does take more than having fun and the same beliefs to make a relationship work. The fact that you are not attracted to this person at all is a big red flag. Being attracted to someone is just one part of a healthy romantic relationship. Now sometimes our attraction is small at first and grows, or it's the opposite. But either way, it's there.