YOUNG PEOPLE ASK - Are we just friends—or more? PART 2
In terms of sequals, I'd much rather have had a second season of Firefly, but this is a close second.
......No it's not. Not in any way is this close to a second season of Firefly. In the list of Very Good Things, this is maybe a distant second to an alternate universe populated entirely by mosquitoes. Or a world in which Justin Bieber has been crowned emperor. Even Michigan is higher on my list than this thing.
IN OUR PREVIOUS ISSUE, we considered two facts of life.
- When you get emotionally involved before you’re ready for a serious relationship, you will get hurt. —Proverbs 6:27.
- When you get emotionally involved before you’re ready for a serious relationship, you can lose a good friendship. —Proverbs 18:24.
Well, we didn't so much "consider" it as much as we "endured the literary equivalent of a mugging"
IN THIS ISSUE, we’ll discuss
- A third fact of life about getting emotionally involved
Oh goody. - How you can tell if you have crossed the line in your friendship with someone of the opposite sex
You know, you could just save us the trouble and reprint some articles from the Penthouse Forum. That'd be just as educational and so much more entertaining!
FACT OF LIFE: When you get emotionally involved before you’re ready for a serious relationship, you can hurt your reputation. Mia* says: “I’ve seen boys who are friends with many girls. Basically, they’re 'players.' Wow. "Players"? You really went there? The girls think there’s something going on, but the boy just enjoys the female attention.”
* Some names in this article have been changed.
I always love to see the whole "Some names have been changed" bit. And they include it in every. single. f*cking. article. Come on, guys, we know these quotes are made up, just like we know you're the high command of the U.S.S. Make Sh*t Up, so you can drop the act.
To think about:
- Whether you’re a boy or a girl, how can getting too close to those of the opposite sex affect your reputation? “Texting people of the opposite sex is a huge pitfall. You start by texting just a bit to one person, but soon you’re texting a lot and to many people. Before you know it, you’re pretty much dating three different boys, and each one thinks he is the ‘special one’ you’re getting to know better. When they ?nd out the truth, they get hurt — and you get the reputation of being a flirt.” —Lara. Editors note to "Faceless Witness Ghost Writer#6342-9/B": I'm glad to see you're conforming to the party line and have trotted out the Slippery Slope argument. But it's still not quite enough. Try "You start by texting just one person. Then you're texting a lot. Then you're texting farm animals. Then you get disfellowshipped, your life is ruined, you get AIDS and then you die. Oh, and Jehovah is very disappointed."
The Bible says: “Even by his practices a boy [or a girl] makes himself recognized as to whether his activity is pure and upright.” —Proverbs 20:11.
The bottom line: It isn’t wrong to socialize with members of the opposite sex. But if you don’t have boundaries, you can cause yourself grief, damage a good friendship, and harm your reputation. Every time they pull a quote from Proverbs, I really have to question the wisdom of taking relationship advice from a book written by a guy who had possibly the largest harem in history, along with the opportunity to shag the Queen of Sheba. You wanna talk 'players', I think he fit the bill.
TRUE STORY: “I was friends with a boy, and we got along really well. But then I noticed our conversations were getting longer and more personal. I could tell we were getting a little too close because he would tell me all his concerns. Then one day he e-mailed me and told me he had feelings for me. See what happens when you use that demon technology? See? SEE???I didn’t know what to say. Part of me was flattered — it’s nice when someone thinks you’re special. What, was Jehovah thinking you're special not good enough for you?But I was worried. I knew we couldn’t continue being ‘just friends’ because obviously he thought we were more than that. I knew that if I told him we were too young to have a romantic friendship, he’d be hurt. I told my parents about the whole thing, and they emphasized how important it was for me and for the boy to limit our contact. And here we have the apex of Witness ideology - You're incapable of moral independence, but don't worry, someone else will tell you what to do. That experience made me realize how quickly something can go from completely innocent to very serious. And since then, I’ve been careful to limit my association with the opposite sex, especially when texting. It also helps to socialize in groups rather than pair off. That way your conversations don’t become too personal and your connection with the other person doesn’t become too strong.”—Elena.
TRUE STORY: All I've eaten today is cookie dough, pecan pie and three shots of Jack Daniels. During college my liver needed a crash helmet. And it was awesome.
- associate in easily manipulatedgroups
- get acquainted with disappointment
- enjoy conversation about the watchtower. Be cautious of any subject that might lead to use of logic or rational thought
- pair offLook what happened to Samson. He paired off with Delilah, got crabs, and ended up dead. And Jehovah was very disappointed
- confide Because confiding in someone means that you're sharing a secret, and you shouldn't have any secrets, should you?
- flirt Flirting is dirty. Every time you flirt an angel gets a case of the clap (sorry, this article is just ripe for STD jokes).
How can you tell if you’ve crossed the line? Oh, this should be good.One way is to ask yourself, 'Has a friend of the opposite sex become my sole confidant?' Well that was a let-down. “If you’re really just friends with a boy,” says a girl named Erin, “he shouldn’t be the first person you want to talk to every day or the first person you want to tell major news to. He definitely shouldn’t be the one you turn to for emotional comfort.” Remember, the ultimate goal here is manipulation. By creating an alienation during the normal process of adolescence, while managing to instill a sense of guilt over it, you pave the way towards an adult who will, hopefully, be unable or unwilling to create any social connection that is not "approved of" by the Witnesses. You get an adult who has, brick by brick, built their own prison for you.
To think about:
- Why might it seem appealing to make someone of the opposite sex your sole confidant? That could be because it's a natural, normal stage of human development. Just, you know, a thought. But what are the dangers? Jesus, you might grow up somewhat less damaged than your peers. Can't have that. "The boys that I know are not my closest friends. I don’t speak with them on the phone for hours as I might with a girlfriend. And there are some topics I simply won’t discuss with them.” —Rianne. "... as I might with a girlfriend"? No 16 year old girl talks like that, that's not even remotely believable. It sounds like it was written by a 40 year old guy who's had his spirit, soul and happiness crushed. "Faceless Witness Ghost Writer#6342-9/B" - you're slipping!
The Bible says: “Be careful what you say ...A careless talker destroys himself.”—Proverbs 13:3, Good News Translation. I always wonder when they quote from any bible other than the NWT. So, in an article that's been spending a hell of a lot of effort to dance around saying "don't get into a relationship because then you might have S. E. X., the NWT of that scripture is: "The one guarding his mouth is keeping his soul. The one opening wide his lips—he will have ruin." No. No innuendo there. Not at all.
Consider: Is there a risk in revealing too much about yourself to someone of the opposite sex? What if your friendship eventually fades? "What if it fades? You've just spent an article and a half convincing us that any relationship under the age of 25 is automatically doomed to go down in flames. Of syphilis. Syphilis flames of doom await any romance until you're ready to get married. None of this if malarky. Will you regret having revealed such details to that person? OK, snark aside for a moment. I've been there, and taken this advice. You want to know what I regret? I regret not confiding in someone else. I regret never reaching out and learning that I could be special in the eyes of one of my peers. I regret spending my adolescence hating myself because I couldn't burn these sinful thoughts out of me. I regret not being allowed to feel normal, ever. You assholes. A teenager named Alexis sums it up well. She says: “Don’t avoid someone just because that person is of the opposite sex. On the other hand, don’t lie to yourself and say that you’re just friends when you’re not. Keep your feelings in check, and you’ll avoid a lot of pain.” In all of the YPA articles, you'll notice that there's a big emphasis on avoiding pain. Makes sense, I mean who doesn't want to avoid pain, right? (Well, there was that one girl I dated for awhile, but that's beside the point) But the idea here isn't to avoid pain - it's to avoid experience. True, some experience may end up hurting, but even that ends up being a learning experience - the pain of a bad experience will help you make better decisions in the future. More importantly, it will make you understand that pain ends, that you can get through it and out the other side a stronger person. It makes you more self-reliant. But that's not what the Witnesses want. Self-reliant people don't need someone else to control them. Much better to keep people in fear of pain than in helping them understand that they can overcome it.
WHY NOT ASK YOUR PARENTS? Because it's easy to guess what they'd say. Exactly what you tell them to.
Ask your parents for their thoughts on the two “To think about” questions in this article. Do their opinions differ from yours? If so, how? And if your opinion is different from theirs, rest assured - you're wrong.What merit can you see in their point of view?—Proverbs 1:8. Nice scripture. Here's another one that's a little more effective - Leviticus 20:9 - "In case there should be any man who calls down evil upon his father and his mother, he should be put to death without fail"
WHAT YOUR PEERS SAY
I have no peers
Andre — The more time you spend with a girl, the easier it is for feelings to grow and the more that person will think you’re interested in a romantic friendship. If your goals don’t allow for a relationship right now, then don’t make it appear as if you’re trying to start one.
Cassidy — I tend to be outgoing, and since I grew up around boys, I’m very comfortable with them — which is not always a good thing. Treating a boy the way I would a girlfriend is not good — it can give the wrong idea. Treating a boy as if he were my brother is the way to go! Remember, boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.
A NOTE TO PARENTS See, told you they'd be telling the parents what to say. Am I some sort of demon-possessed psychic or what?
In proper settings, it’s not wrong for young people to socialize with members of the opposite sex. But those who aren’t ready to pursue a relationship that could lead to marriage need to set boundaries. For them, opposite-sex friendships should be just that—friendships and nothing more. Crush any sign of adolescent happiness. It's better on the long run, they'll struggle less when we crush their happiness as adults.
What results when two people get emotionally involved before they’re ready for a serious relationship? Gonorrhea? Any initial thrill soon gives way to frustration. It’s like sitting in a car that has no wheels. Sounds like something that should have been on that "Avoid" list awhile back.Sooner or later, the boy and girl realize that the relationship can’t go anywhere. And why is it that the relationship can't go anywhere? Oh yea, because you said it can't. Neat the way that works, innit?Some may begin to date secretly — a situation that is fraught with moral pitfalls. Because helping them learn be responsible in a relationship just doesn't make sense. They might get ideas. Others break up — a process that can leave both feeling cheated, hurt, and even depressed. Serve Jehovah! Be an emotional cripple! Nifty!How can you help your adolescent to avoid the treacherous path of a premature romance? I've got it. Explain to them the emotional trauma inherent in premature ... um ... other things.— Ecclesiastes 11:10.
The key is to keep an open door of communication with your adolescent when it comes to opposite-sex friendships. That way you’ll be aware of it — and available to help — if a friendship starts to become something more. You can just feel the itch in this entire article, the WTBTS is just biding its time until they perfect a way to lock children away for 18 years while they're programmed to be nice, clean little Witness adults who never question or search for any independence. I can see them watching "The Matrix" and going "Wow, do you think we could get away with that?"
Some parents unwittingly close the door to that part of their adolescent’s social life. Consider what some youths told Awake!
“I always wanted to talk to my mom about whom I was attracted to, but I held back because I thought she would overreact.” — Cara. Cara, Cara, Cara, how could you EVER think that?
“When I’d tell my mom I was attracted to a boy, she would say, ‘Don’t expect me to be at your wedding!’ Yea, that's the Witness reaction I'd expect to see. rather than ‘So tell me about your friend. What do you like about him?’ Had my mom asked questions like those, I might have been more receptive to her advice.” — Nadeine. Yet again, Nadeine (much like Rianne and, well, every other "teen" quoted here) still sounds like "Faceless Witness Ghost Writer#6342-9/B".
In contrast, note the difference when parents have patiently listened and then provided practical guidance.
“My parents didn’t overreact when I told them about a boy I was attracted to. They said what I needed to hear, but they were understanding of my feelings. Because of that, I find it easier to listen to their advice and open up to them further.”—Corrina.No, Doctor. She fell down some stairs.
“When my parents opened up about whom they liked when they were younger — even explaining why a certain relationship didn’t work out — it helped me to realize that it was OK for me to talk to my parents about having feelings for someone.”—Linette. Ran right into an open cabinet door, just wasn't looking where she was going, Doc.
Realize, too, that sometimes there are underlying factors behind premature romances.
“When I was secretly dating a boy, it was because he made me feel happy and he listened to me.” — Annette.
“There’s this one boy I always enjoyed being around. He always gave me attention, which is my weakness. I love attention, good or bad.” — Amy. Can I, um, maybe get Amy's number?
“When my parents sincerely tell me that I look beautiful or that a certain outfit looks good on me, I feel less of a need to get that same sort of compliment from a boy.” — Karen.
How can I make myself more approachable to my adolescent? — Philippians 4:5.
Am I “swift about hearing, slow about speaking”? — James 1:19.
How can I reduce the temptation for my adolescent to look outside the home for love and approval? — Colossians 3:21.
The bottom line: Help your adolescent to learn how to keep friendships with the opposite sex aboveboard and problem free. It’s a skill that will serve him or her well in adulthood. — Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6. But isn't Armageddon just around the corner again? If we're planning that far ahead, then I guess I've got enough time to head out to that "Wow, this is gonna be awkward tomorrow morning" party I've been looking forward to.