As a young college student, and a teenage girl, I have learned a lot from my mistakes, and the mistakes of others. One thing that many adults don’t understand is that the dating world for today’s teenager has changed significantly over the last few decades. While their advice is always helpful, they don’t always cover bases that are relevant to the way things currently are, especially for teenage girls. Here is a list for those girls on what not to do to help keep you safe, and to develop more successful dating habits.
- Don’t expect every boyfriend to be your future husband.
Something I see all too often in my friends is the habit of becoming desperate. We are young, and as cliche as it sounds, we have our whole lives ahead of us. There is absolutely no need to become desperate this early in the game. One thing we have to keep in mind, is that right now, we’re really just trying to develop our abilities to communicate and have successful relationships with people. The younger you are, the more dating is really just “practicing”. What I mean by that is not that you should date people you don’t care about, but that you shouldn’t go into these early relationships with the mindset of marriage.
Many girls approach dating as if it’s a free-for-all death match for “the one”, and this is such an unhealthy way to look at it. Dating should be a pleasant, fun way to meet people, practice your relationship building skills, and learn what you like, and don’t like, in another person. What you’re really doing is setting the foundation for future, more serious, relationships. As you date more people, you will learn more about how you communicate, and how you act in more intimate relationships. The more you learn about yourself, the easier it will be to distinguish who would be a good match for you later on when you’re looking for a long-term relationship.
When you approach dating like you’re on some sort of world-wide search for your future husband, you don’t think clearly. Often times, I see my friends settle for someone that isn’t the best fit for them, just because this person is willing to be in a long term relationship. It also puts a lot more pressure on them to find someone when they’re single. It creates the constant need to be in a relationship, when really, you should be focusing on you, and having relationships, when it best suits your life, if you find someone you really work well with.
- Don’t sell yourself short.
One very unfortunate side effect of the “don’t” I mentioned before, is that girls often do stupid things to save relationships that aren’t that great to begin with. Something that is becoming more and more common in today’s teenage dating scene is promiscuity in girls. If you feel that you need to have sex with someone to keep them around, they aren’t someone you need to be dating. If they don’t want to continue the relationship unless they are getting sex, then it’s obvious it isn’t you that they’re interested in. Essentially, you’ll only be prolonging the inevitable.
Plus, when you give in to this sort of pressure, you’re rewarding boys for acting inappropriately, and encouraging them to continue acting this way. If they get what they want by being a jerk, then they will continue acting like a jerk whether it’s towards you, or the next girl. As teenagers become sexually active earlier and earlier, boys pressure girls for sex at younger ages. This would be so simple for girls to correct if they simply wouldn’t give in. You are worth much more than that, and you should be with someone who recognizes that fact.
- Don’t be the jealous girlfriend.
I understand that girls today are rather cut-throat in the social environment. I’ve dealt with it, and I know how aggravating it can be. But I’ve also found that you can avoid bad situations, but not reacting to catty girls. They can tell you that they’re going steal your boyfriend or crush, but that doesn’t mean they’ll actually do it, or that they’re even capable of doing it. Don’t take it out on your boyfriend by not allowing him to talk to certain people or getting angry if he associates with certain individuals. If you are comfortable with the boy that you’re with, and trust him, then who cares what they say. This is America, and, unfortunately, they are free to say whatever they want. Ignore it, and avoid drama all together. Less drama in your life means a less stressful relationship for you and your boyfriend.
Trust is a very important factor in a relationship. In order for things to work smoothly, you have to trust that your significant other is going to act in a way that is respectful to you (no cheating, flirting, etc.). There are some people that will not respect you, or their relationship with you. However, you can’t take this fear out on every boy you ever date. That isn’t fair to them, and is a great way to turn a great relationship sour. There is nothing worse than an overbearing, jealous girlfriend. If you have reason to believe that you can’t trust your boyfriend, there’s a very simple solution: stop dating them. If you continue in a relationship that you don’t feel comfortable with, you’re only going to make yourself miserable. You should always communicate with the person you’re dating. Sometimes, things that make you uneasy might just be misunderstandings. Clear things up right away so they don’t build up.
There’s a pretty simple rule to go by that we’re all very familiar with; treat others the way you want to be treated. Do you want your boyfriend to act overbearing and jealous with you? No. Do you want your boyfriend to dictate who you can and cannot talk to? No. You’re his girlfriend, not his slave. He doesn’t have the right to tell you who you can associate with, and the same rule goes for you.
- Don’t cheat.
This sounds so obvious, that you’re probably wondering why I even added it. There’s more to not cheating than simply not cheating. You have to be willing to keep yourself out of uncomfortable situations entirely. In order to establish a strong relationship, both parties have to be able to trust one another, as I talked about before. The only way you can make someone trust you is to act in a way that proves to them that they have nothing to worry about. Hanging out with people that respect that you are in a relationship is imperative. If you find that someone does not respect this (i.e. they flirt with you, or act inappropriately towards you), then politely tell them you are not interested. If it continues, it’s obvious that this is not the kind of person you should be around anyway. Not only do they not respect the fact that you’re committed to a relationship, they don’t respect you. Avoid any bad situations entirely by simply choosing not to be around such people. This will make your life less stressful, and will make your boyfriend more comfortable with your relationship. He will see that you make smart decisions that respect the way he feels, and won’t worry about you putting yourself in situations he would feel uncomfortable with.
Secondly, if you choose to cheat on someone, it won’t affect only that particular relationship. Not only will you build up a less than pleasant reputation, you will be ruining your trust with future relationships. It’s a known fact that those who cheat, always suspect others of cheating on them. Save yourself a lot of stress and ruined relationships. Treat other people with respect, and lead honest relationships.
- Don’t sacrifice yourself.
What I mean by this is simple: don’t pretend to be someone you’re not to win someone over. When you do this, you’re setting your relationship up for disaster. First of all, you can’t falsely represent yourself forever. The more that individual got to know you, the more they would see that you are not what you are pretending to be. If they don’t like you for who you are, chances are, you wouldn’t like being in a relationship with them. A relationship is only satisfying if you find someone who has the same interests as you and truly likes the person that you are. So be open and honest with people. If you aren’t a match for someone, save yourselves some time and move on.
The main point I really wanted to drive home with this article is a really easy and simple concept: be honest. Act in a way that respects not only yourself, but other people as well. If you do, you are setting yourself up for very satisfying and healthy relationships.