4 things I wish I had known about dating as a teen.
June 20, 2018
When I think back on my years of dating as a teen, I feel like I existed in a haze of denial and confusion. I walked around trying to make it seem like I had everything together. But…I didn’t.
I made some mistakes in my dating years that were totally cringy and awkward. I wasn’t an entirely honest person. I hurt people and did some things I wish I could take back.
I seriously compromised on my integrity and things that I had thought were important my entire life. I think the responsibility of being able to make my own decisions took me by surprise and slowly overwhelmed me. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I figured—surely I couldn’t mess up my life too badly.
I started to realize that doing things out of my moral code didn’t make me feel good about myself, and I wanted to change. However, I was stubborn. I told myself that it wasn’t a big deal and I could keep doing whatever I wanted.
I was full of pride and stubbornness, and I didn’t want anybody to tell me anything…but deep down I wanted someone to see through my facade.
I wanted somebody to shake me and tell me to get my life together. To tell me what to do and how to fix the mess I was in.
To be honest I wish someone would do that to me right now. Adulting is hard! I promise you there are moments I feel like a little kid and I wonder, “why would anyone let me be in charge of this? Where are the adults?”
But anyways, here I am. I’m here to be that mean old lady that shakes you and tells you to get your life together.
Here are 4 things I wish that I had been told when I was a teenager in the dating world.
Honesty/Integrity is key
Listen to your intuition
Think about consequences
Seriously, this is some of the best advice I could give anyone about dating, regardless of their age or situation. Speak up about what you want and what you are/aren’t comfortable with. It should go without saying but also respect their boundaries.
Don’t be like I was and be afraid to hurt someone’s feeling. If someone you’re not interested in asks for your number, it’s ok to say no. If your date wants to do something that you’re not comfortable with, it’s ok to say no. You can say no to someone and still be polite.
Please just be who you are. Don’t try to be the person that you think someone wants you to be. You will never be able to make everyone happy and the sooner you learn that, the better off you will be. DO try to be the best version of yourself.
One day the perfect person for you will come along, and you don’t want to be a fake version of someone else, you want to be the best you that you can be.
Trust your intuition.
Some people are better at reading people’s intentions than others. I’ve always prided myself on being good at seeing deep into someone’s soul and being able to tell if they’re a good person or not. Even if you feel like you’re not good at seeing through people, pay attention to those little messages from your brain.
When you have those little niggling feelings--thoughts like “Well, that was a little weird, or why did they just look at each other like that, or that bothers me a little and I don’t know why” always pay attention to those feelings. Take time to sit and really think about why those things bothered you.
I feel like our brains notice that something is off but we haven't gathered enough information yet to realize what it is. Pay attention to those feelings and don’t turn a blind eye to the things that bother you, and in my experience you will eventually start to realize what it was about that moment that stood out to you. Then you'll be able to put your finger on what the problem really is.
My intuition has NEVER once failed me. It took time and experience to learn to start paying attention to those feelings and believing them, but I never ignore them now.
These feelings are especially important if you feel like you may be in danger. If you find yourself in a situation in which you don’t feel safe or simply don’t feel like you can be honest, it’s always helpful to have an exit strategy in mind.
Have an agreed upon code word you can use with friends that when used in a conversation they know immediately to call you with an “emergency.” That way you can leave or they can come pick you up without raising questions.
Think about consequences.
Lastly, it’s so important to think about consequences. Yeah, I know this gets hammered into all of our heads at some point.
Sometimes it puts things into a different perspective to think about how your actions affect other people instead of just how they will affect you.
In the heat of the moment, it’s so important to take a minute, slow down, and really think: How will this affect me in 5 years? How will this affect me in 10 years? How will this affect my children? My parents? My little sister? My future husband/wife?
Our actions cause a ripple effect through our lives. If those warning bells are going off in your head and your intuition/heart/God is telling you to stop what you’re doing, just STOP. You will thank yourself later.
What did I miss? Please let me know in the comments.