Ligaw is translated to English as courtship. It entails a mix of dating, flirting, effort, but most importantly, clear intentions. One of the iconic Filipino methods of ligaw is harana or serenading, where the guy sings to the girl.

It is finalized with a sweet Yes, but the goal should be to establish a loving relationship once you get the Yes. It is a blessing you can give, but it is also a privilege you must be given before you can start.

Picture that torpe from last year figuring out how to ask a girl to a date. Well, he did succeed in asking a girl out, but not really getting to know her. Not knowing the next step, he ventured into ligaw. What else could go wrong, right? *snickers*

As long as you can stay true to yourself, ligaw is in itself a gratifying experience. There are many ways one can get it wrong (perhaps really wrong), but here are 3 important things to watch out for.



1. You don’t know the person enough.


One of the objectives of ligaw is to get to know the other person better, but note that this will already be in a context past casual companionship. Though it might work on people who like to have all cards laid out in front of them, not getting to know the girl first runs the risk of your intentions coming off as superficial. Always go with the casual companionship first, and if it works, then perhaps you can take it a step further.

Another reason is not knowing the girl as much will lead you to easily misinterpret things. You might get upset about something that’s natural for her, and it can also happen the other way around.

The solution is to establish good communication. If you can communicate what you think, get your concerns across without being too defensive, and listen to what she says, you will have better chances.



2. You start to rationalize.


Reasoning is how people makes sense of most things, and that applies even to unexplainable ones such as feelings, motives, and actions such as ligaw. Some reasoning will be required when communicating, especially to curious friends. How else will you explain yourself?

But if you find yourself questioning things and reasoning out of them, you might want to take a step back and see the bigger picture. In my case, I got a bit disconnected to reality, and used the weirdest reason of them all to justify what I was doing – love is irrational. Allow me to expound on that.

Love is at its most beautiful when you can make it consistent and unconditional. I see guy friends do sweet things just because they care. On the other hand, reasoning, or worse, rationalizing, demands logic, which will lead you to attach conditions to what you’re doing which will defeat the unconditionality. However, you will still need to know your reasons to understand and justify what you’re doing, so there’s really no way around it.

But you might not need to reason as much if you can solve #3.



3. You’re not really sure of what you want.


There are advantages of knowing what you want before going into ligaw:

• It will be easier to choose someone.
• You don’t get easily distracted by other attractive girls.
• It will be easier to recognize when it’s not working for both parties, and let go if necessary.

Of course, don’t be too specific to the point of having a checklist. The magic in ligaw is continuously learning and appreciating new things about the person, so having too many standards may lead you to miss out on getting to know some otherwise great people. For reference, friends I consulted can usually sum it up to three.



All in all, it’s really about keeping some (unknown) balance. Easier said than done, but that’s what it takes. And if it ends in rejection, here’s a tip from the Dalai Lama:

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”