Dating Tips for Tweens
Advice for Dealing with the Pre-Teen Pressure to Date
Dear April Masini,
I am 14 and I don't have a boyfriend. For a long time, I didn't really care, but now my friends say that I should probably get my first boyfriend. I'm pretty busy with school and soccer, and I don't really want one, but I feel like I should. I feel like I am left out by being the only "single" girl in my group of friends.
Do you think it's time for me to get a boyfriend? Any advice?
Single and Lovin' It
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Single and Lovin' It,
There is no reason for a 14-year-old to have a boyfriend under any circumstances. The fact that you are happy being single makes it even more ridiculous that your friends would pressure you to date before you're ready. Here are some things to keep in mind as you stay true to your beliefs and hold off on dating until you are ready!
Why Be a Girlfriend When You Can Just Be a Girl?
Coupling up eliminates your options! Break ups are painful for at least one of the two people in the relationship, and often for both of them. Eliminate the drama and don't get too involved too quickly.
Coupling up also encourages sex, and preteens are too young to be having sex and putting themselves at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (and yes, there is now a strain of genital warts that can be transmitted through oral sex).
Just Because You're Not Dating, Doesn't Mean You Can't Have Male Friends!
Being friends with people of the opposite sex is a great thing for kids to do until they are ready to date. It also eliminates the pressure to have sex and to date if you have a group of boys and girls who are all friends and can organize a Saturday night movie and burger outing or bowling and pizza outing for lots of fun and to fill the time where kids might be hanging out on the computer, watching television or getting into trouble.
Just Say No: Nice Ways to Turn Down Dates
If you're not ready to date yet, but are uncomfortable explaining your private reasons, here are some ideas. There's no reason to hurt anyone's feelings or say anything you aren't comfortable with.
-- "Sorry, I'm not allowed."
-- "My dad (mom) is so strict, they won't let me. Sorry."
Blame it on a parent. They're good for something!
-- "I have to wait until I'm 16."
-- "I can't -- I promised (pick someone) I'd help them shop for a new poster for their bedroom. Why don't we go out with a bunch of friends instead?"
Sometimes the pressure comes, surprisingly, from a parent, who feels that their pre-teen should be keeping up with the Jones'. Lots of parents live through their kids, and if the parent wasn't popular, they may try to get the child to be.
If you find yourself in this situation say to your parent:
-- "You're making me feel pressured to date."
-- "Why are you pressuring me to date?"
-- "Please stop pressuring me to date. I'm not ready."
Dealing with Being "The Only" Single Person
Welcome to life!
a) You're NOT the "only single one". Most people are single.
b) You're just feeling sorry for yourself.
c) You have too much free time on your hands.
The ultimate solution to all this is to make some plans for yourself that are fun, so you're not focused on being "the only single one", and you are focused on what it is you're doing with your life. Here are some ideas for things to do when you feel lonely:
a) Volunteer at a shelter, a hospital or some kind of suicide hotline or teen pregnancy hotline.
b) Throw a party.
c) Visit a friend you haven't seen in a while.
d) Bake, rent movies or go shopping.
Dealing with a Bully Who's Teasing You for Being Single
Don't go along with the joke -- that's the best way to stop any bully.
Just say, "I don't have a boyfriend now" or "I'll have one one day."
Don't give the teaser or the bully any credibility. If this person persists, get new friends and stay away from them.