First, I have to say that I am not a professional dating/sex/relationship expert. I have, however, had experience with all of the above topics. I also have daughters. One of you recently looked at me woefully as we were discussing your text conversation with a boy and said, “So help me!”
I will give this conversation my most honest effort. Dating advice.
1. A boy is not a magical or mystical creature like a unicorn.
A boy is a human being with feelings, insecurities, likes, dislikes and hobbies just like a girl. You do not need to treat him like an amazing deity because he flips his hair just right, posts a picture of his six pack abs and has a penis. You do not need to, nor should you, stand in awe of the fact that he is talking to you. You are an interesting and intelligent person. Why wouldn’t he talk to you? As a matter of fact, your relationship with him will go better if you treat him like a regular person. Trust me on this one. You are not stupid. Don’t act like you are.
Reasons to listen to #1:
a. Relationships go better when both people have an equal investment in each other. You are worth him putting in an equal effort to the relationship. Don’t chase, call, cross boundaries flirting or continuously attempt to push your friendship into dating. If it is going to happen then it will.
b. If you truly like him then you also want him to actually like you. TALK to him about school, pets, your obnoxious siblings, your strict parents, sports, books, politics, ideas, or whatever. Do not tell him your darkest secrets when you just met him and do not try to entice a deeper relationship by dipping into suggestive conversations/photos about sex or sexual material. Sex does not equate to really caring about anyone- especially at the beginning of a relationship. Just do NOT go there.
2. Zip your lips.
You will have better relationships with boys if you keep who you are crushing out on, your conversations, and your dating desires to yourself. This goes for pre-dating friends, that thing you call “talking” and actual dating. The less you share with your friends in your giddy excitement the better.
Quit rolling your eyes, and no, it is not true that friend A, B or C will not say anything to anyone, because they WILL.
Reasons to listen to #2:
a. No one likes feeling discussed or pressured in a new relationship or any relationship. Friends, and not so good of friends, have a way of pushing, teasing, and questioning their peers for a wide variety of reasons. In the end this rarely goes well.
b. You may meet or talk to someone else tomorrow. If you are not dating anyone. why not just keep your options open? The really quiet boy who is asking you about your history assignment may like you and be trying to get to know you. If he hears you are crazy after the boy in math class, he will quit. You may miss a great relationship opportunity because you declared a mythical crush relationship. Sometimes the best dating potential is right there in your face, but you can’t see it because you are all gaga over unicorn boy. And, yes, your mother said gaga- and unicorn boy- get over it.
As a side note, the quiet and unassuming boy is likely the boy you SHOULD date. You will have fun, friendship and a positive relationship experience. The overly confident boy who puts a lot of pressure on you is the one you should be avoiding. He won’t be dating or friend material until his thirties- if ever. Just saying.
c. Passed-on gossip is like the telephone game in daycare. It is hardly ever accurate. Do you want your new crush to hear that you said something utterly ridiculous that you actually didn’t even say? Talking about crushes is simply an invitation to drama. Who needs that? NO ONE.
3. Attention is NOT affection.
If all your new boy, who is a friend, or may be more than a friend, or even is a boyfriend, has to say to you is how beautiful you are and how he would like to spend time at your house when your parents aren’t home in the shower with you, then you have his attention but not affection. If he is asking you to send naked photos or FaceTime him from your bath, then you can be flattered if you must, but be flattered as you are saying “bye bye” or “in your dreams” and hanging up that phone you want to keep so badly.
Reasons to listen to #3:
a. Yes. You are all hormonal young adults. Everyone gets it. However, being sexually interested in another person is not at all the same as caring about that person.
b. If someone likes you and RESPECTS you. then they will not begin a relationship with blatant sexualized requests or conversations.
c. If you like and RESPECT yourself, you will not allow a relationship to begin with sexualized requests or conversations.
d. Wait for the affection over time before being intimate with a person. It is worth it and so are you!
e. Just because sex is all over the media and all the teens on “Glee” are doing it, doesn’t mean it is a good idea to practice that behavior in real life. Being over exposed to the wrong messages doesn’t make them the right messages.
f. Actions should speak louder than words. If a boy is on your phone everyday discussing how hot you are and sending kissing emojis but doesn’t want to spend time doing something non- intimate, or have an actual conversation about real life, then believe that he isn’t really interested in you as a friend. Quit the calls.
g. You want to have a phone. I will drive over that thing.
4. Do not dive in.
Value yourself. Value your body. Value your mind. Value your worth. None of those things change if you are attached to a boy. A boy doesn’t make you more anything.
Reason to listen to #4
a. You are a worthwhile person.
b. See A.
5. SLOW DOWN!
You have years to explore dating and sexual relationships. Don’t be in such a hurry. I am not such a Puritan as to think you are not curious about sex. It is slammed down your throat from not so subtle Disney Junior to every other song on the radio. However, it is not the end-all-be-all of life. It does not make good relationships. It can ruin relationships, and, quite frankly, your other dreams and aspirations. You do not have to pledge abstinence into your forties – although that may please your father. I am asking you to respect yourself. Be mature enough to wait and develop a relationship that has significant meaning and longevity (the unicorn crush is not significant meaning) and to realize that sexualized relationships can impact, influence and affect your goals, and your life.
Reason to listen to #5
a. Once upon a time your mother was actually a teenager and she just may know a thing or two about this topic.
b. You are amazing (even though you may not think so) and have the opportunity to grow and experience many wonderful relationships in time. Again-Slow down.
Guest post by Cristijane McKnight, one of my brilliant former high school classmates.