Do you remember what it was like to walk up to a person you liked during high school? You wanted to say the right thing, smile the right smile, and make a good impression.
That sounds easy enough; but it wasn’t. Whether it was getting tongue-tied, being self-conscious about our braces, or sweating uncontrollably, communicating with the opposite sex didn’t come naturally for many of us. And relationships haven’t gotten any easier.
Sure, communication is done more with a thumb than with the tongue these days. But the teens in your life still need help building their confidence in communicating.
Healthy relationships start with communication. Encourage teens to go beyond text messages with real conversations.
Reinforce the skills they have and help them grow as communicators through practical skill development:
Converse with them authentically.
Model great communication skills when they are in your presence.
Ask them to share their dreams.
Let them know you’re happy to be a sounding board for their problems.
Encourage them with words of acceptance, affirmation, and approval when they demonstrate positive attributes and actions.
Ask them to tell the best, the funniest, and the worst things that happened during the past week.
The teens you know want to connect. They may have lots of “friends” on social media, but studies show most teens feel disconnected. No amount of electronic communication can replace face-to-face conversation. Give the teens you know a gift by encouraging deeper relationships through authentic communication.
We’ve included some conversation starters you can share with teens you know and love. See if they think these ideas would help them get to know a guy or girl they like.
Little Things Matter
Baseball sluggers grab highlights on SportsCenter with 400-foot bombs that fly over the fence. But the World Series is not usually won by a team of power hitters.
It’s the little things that matter in baseball. Laying down a bunt to advance a runner into scoring position and playing a step closer to third base to cut off an extra-base hit can lead to victory. And just like the little things matter in baseball, those things also matter to girls. Hitting a home run with an awesome “promposal” can be a nice highlight. But girls prefer guys with a good batting average, so try to hit a lot of singles and doubles with these ideas:
1. Compliment a girl when she changes her hairstyle = A single
2. Walk to the door instead of texting that you’re at her house = Another single
3. Deliver a favorite candy bar to celebrate that she made the musical = A double
4. Write a note to tell her that you respect her and the way she loves God = Another double!
5. If you constantly swing for the fences, you’ll strike out a lot. Going for base hits makes you somebody a girl can count on. So be consistent in showing kindness. When you do the little things, you’ll set yourself up for big-time success.
Great generals from history have said that an army marches on its stomach. Teen guys definitely do. Guys walk in the door after school, sniff the air, and then shout, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”
When it comes to meeting and getting to know a guy, it’s good to mix food with fun. Try these ideas:
1. Make some cookies or brownies, bring them to school, and whisper, “Anyone hungry?” Instantly, a pack of guys may surround you.
2. Make plans with a few girls to cook a meal at your house and invite some guys to be the tasters. If you cook it, they will come.
3. Plan a youth group activity with food and watch the guys line up . . . and say thanks.
4. Ask a guy to name a few favorite foods, and watch his expression as he describes a special meal or treat. Just thinking about food gets a guy going.
5. Snap a photo of what you’re cooking, post it on Instagram, and ask who wants a sample.
6. Food is also important in the Bible. You’ll find that food, celebrations, and miracles often went together. Food breaks down barriers and makes things fun.
By enjoying some food together, you can relax more and simply talk. Just be sure you don’t eat and talk at the same time!
Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! (Proverbs 18:16)