I’m not sure who has more of the above—a teenager getting ready for a date or a parent talking to him (or her) about dating!
No matter from whose angle you look at it, it’s a hot topic.
Whether a young person is in high school, college or already launched into their career, an independent social life can be the best of worlds and the worst of worlds. On one hand, there are so many new people to meet and things to do. On the other hand, it’s a time when many lives get derailed because they can’t handle the responsibility that accompanies this newfound freedom. Unfortunately, the consequences of these mistakes can be far reaching and life altering.
The fact is, even responsible dating comes with its share of challenges. That’s because: 1) many people define their own self-worth based on whether they’re “together” with someone and struggle with loneliness and doubt when unattached, 2) dating is a “trial and error” process with many dead ends or worse, and 3) there are two parties involved, each with their unique needs, goals, feelings, and interests. Two don’t always tango and it takes time to discover that.
So, what’s the best way to navigate this process? Encourage your young adult to try a 3D approach to dating—being: 1) Discriminating, 2) Discerning, and 3) Deliberate.
- Discriminating: In order for your dating to have worth and potential, you’ve got to be discriminating (i.e. highly selective) with your choices. The problem is, many people define their self-worth by whether they’re “with” someone, so they date for dating’s sake, often compromising their values along the way. The results are never pretty. Being a discriminating dater means:
- Knowing the qualities you admire and that attract you to another person; these are the characteristics that are right for you.
- If you don’t see a fit, moving on. Never waste your time on those you know are dead ends. It’s not only good for you, but it’s also the right thing for them.
- Above all, focusing on values and your ability to become best friends. Do everything in your power to emphasize the non-physical over the physical when you’re assessing your compatibility. Think BFF: Best friends first! Remember, love can be blind…at the worst of times!
I hope you’ll share these principles with a young adult in your life. Be sure to check back for my next blog in this series, where you’ll learn the second step in the 3D dating process—being DISCERNING…
What are ways you’ve found to help young adults develop discernment in their dating choices? Please share your ideas and experiences with us; this is a hot topic and we’d love to hear your input!