The other day I was talking with my friends on a road trip about what a unique experience it feels like to be dating as an adult. Not a just-out-of-college, still-going-out-both-nights-of-the-week, can-function-with-6-hours-of-sleep  kind of adult. I mean an in-bed-by-9, Netflix-is-part-of-my-family, why-is-the-music-so-loud-in-Urban-Outfitters kind of adult. #Old. It feels to me like most pairings happened as a natural result of bourgeoning friend groups or scaling social framework as we grew up, like going off to college, joining a new church, or doing academic sports.

But in this phase, when life feels pretty much set as far as social circles go, it’s very curious to endeavor intentionally reaching beyond your walls to connect with someone. And not make just any connection, but the kind you hope to build a life and a family on one day. It’s honestly insane.

In some ways it’s easier now — hopefully by this point you have a pretty good idea of who you are, what you want, and what you’re looking for. There’s no longer a need for half-decades long relationships as we both navigate pubescence and early adulthood, trying to figure out wtf is going on.

But with that clear understanding comes the often awkward practice of going on one or two dates with someone only to never see them again, either by your choice, theirs, or both. Like at one time this person was a candidate for the potentiality of a serious relationship — one of the most important relationships you’ll form in your lifetime, mind you — and in the span of an hour (or way, way less) they disappear back into The Abyss. Isn’t that crazy??? But I mean, I guess it’s also the way it has to work. Like who has the time or desire to keep in touch with every person they went on one date with? It ain’t me, I’ll tell you that right now.

I always wonder if it gets easier. As we talked in the car, one of my friends likened dating to interviewing, which, cold spectre of capitalism aside, I see her point. She made the case that no one really likes interviewing, even when you’re good at it and understand how to navigate that sphere. And no matter how many interviews you go on, not getting the job is never going to feel like nothing.

I don’t know man, sometimes dating just feels like the weirdest social practice. But I mean if you want a relationship for your life, what else are you gonna do? No really, if you have an idea, tell me, I know a lot of people very interested in a different route.