I was talking to a 14 year old almost-man while volunteering at a camp last week. He was specifically asking me for advice about how he could ask a girl at camp to be his girlfriend. Part of my insides were jumping up and down for joy that he felt comfortable enough with me to ask for help. The other part of my insides were cringing at the thought of his young mind completely distracted by girls.
Although I’ve been a volunteer with teenagers for awhile now, I still have a hard time steering through conversations about dating. It’s hard to know when to say what. When to give advice and when to ask questions. When to warn them and when to get excited for/with them.
With this almost-man, I missed an opportunity. I got frustrated with his fixation on getting this girl to be his girlfriend and told him we were going to stop talking about it. His response? “Well I just won’t talk about it with you.” Bummer. Next time I will be ready with a few more questions and a little insight.
Here are a few of my favorite conversation starters I’ve used with teenagers:
- Describe the perfect date.
- What are the top 5 qualities you are looking for in a girlfriend/boyfriend?
- What do you think is the purpose of dating?
- How do you define love?
How do you guide conversations with teenagers/college students/young adults/friends about their dating life?