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I'm not interested

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If you donít like somebody, but they like you, how do you tell them youíre not interested? ĖPeachy Keen, 13, MD


Shayna Answers:

Dear Peachy Keen,

Just because a person shows romantic interest in you, it doesnít mean that you have to feel the same way. In fact, when you start dating, youíll find that most of the people who ask you out will never have relationships with you.

The reason is, as we develop a clearer idea of what we want from a significant other and a relationship, we become pickier about who we want to give our heart to. Sometimes the people who want to date us simply arenít the right ones for us. When we know this, itís perfectly fine to say no to anything more than friendship.

As for how to have that conversation, start by being honest. Itís OK to be direct about how you feel: ďI just donít like you that way.Ē ďIím flattered, but Iím not trying to start something right now.Ē ďYouíre really nice and Iím happy that weíre friends, but I just donít see us being more than friends.Ē

Hearing the truth about the situation will be far less hurtful in the end than a sugarcoated abbreviation or lie. Also, though, talking about your feelings openly in this situation will be good practice for the future. After all, sincere communication is a necessary part of any good relationship.

Itís probably going to be tempting to write this person a note or e-mail, but if possible, try to have a conversation face-to-face or over the phone. If you canít do this or are more comfortable not doing it, thatís understandable. However, youíll avoid a lot of unnecessary drama and attention if thereís no note or e-mail to pass through gossipy hands afterward.

A lot of times we just donít know what we want from relationships, and itís OK to not reciprocate romantic feelings. Iím not going to get all maternal and tell you that youíre too young to be dating anyway. The natural progression of declaring romantic feelings is to be able to act on them and start a relationship.

Chances are, though, that the guy interested in you couldnít tell you what he wants from a relationship. If this is the case, why go down this road with him or anyone else right now?

Itís perfectly fine to commit to not dating for a few more years. In fact, youíd be surprised at the number of teens who arenít even allowed to date at 13. I wasnít, and most of my friends werenít either.

Even if your parents are fine with you going out, take some time to strengthen your own friendships and spiritual life anyway. Until youíre sure what you want from a relationship, donít start dating, and donít even hang out alone with people youíre attracted to.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us: ďAbove all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.Ē In the coming years you will definitely be tempted and possibly peer-pressured into doing things youíre not sure you want to do. Yet you always have the right to say no, to be single, and to wait on God.

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