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How do you know if your boyfriend is being real and not fake?


How do you know if your boyfriend is being real and not fake?óWorried, 16, AR

Shayna Answers:

Dear Worried,

If you’re having doubts about what your boyfriend is saying or doing, pay attention to his behavior. After all, Matthew 15:19 says that out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, lies, etc. So no matter how much someone may try to be a certain way, at some point their actions will give away their true intentions.
Think about your boyfriend’s behavior—is he consistent in what he says, or is he consistently changing what he says to fit in with others? A person who is being themselves around you will likely say and do the same things in front of you and in front of everyone else.
Think about it: when you’re just being yourself, you don’t have to try to act a certain way. Your mannerisms—the way you talk, even the way you move—are unconscious.
It’s normal to change the way you describe something depending on the crowd you’re with, but usually you don’t change your opinion. For example, you might describe your boyfriend to your mother as “a nice young man” and to your friends as a “dreamy McHottie.”
People who aren’t being themselves are prone to change their opinions—“You’re right, he’s so ugly”—not their descriptions based on the crowd they’re with. If your boyfriend is being fake, he’s probably changed his opinion about something important just to fit in. Have you noticed?
Someone who’s being fake will also make more compromises than the average person. For example, a person who might claim to be a Seventh-day Adventist might suddenly be OK with going out on a Friday night or indulging in pepperoni pizza just because everyone else is. A person who’s being fake isn’t able to stand up for who they really are; they’ll change whenever they feel it’s necessary.
Unfortunately, if we don’t have a clear idea of who we are, it’s hard to be loyal to anyone else. This is important to note, because if your boyfriend doesn’t have a problem abandoning his friends when they’re not doing what’s popular, then eventually he might also break up with you.
First Peter 2:9 tells us that we as Christians are God’s special people, which means we’re definitely not always going to fit in with everyone else. Yet we need to be confident enough about who we are so we can “give an answer” for what we believe (1 Peter 3:15, NIV).*
If your boyfriend really is having trouble being himself, it may take some time for him to become comfortable with his thoughts and opinions. You can still be a good friend by giving him positive feedback and encouragement such as “You really shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself. I think it’s cool that you like . . .” Eventually he’ll have to become comfortable with himself without your help or anyone else’s. However, a small amount of validation now may help him get there sooner.
*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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