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What age is OK to start talking to guys on the phone?


What age is OK to start talking to guys on the phoneŚnot as boyfriends but just as friends?ŚCaitlin, 13, FL

Shayna Answers:

Dear Caitlin,

The shortest answer to your question is: whenever your parents say it’s OK. I know that’s probably not the answer you were hoping for. But as long as you’re living in your parents’ house—and most likely depending on them to pay for your cell phone—you need to play by their rules. Remember, your parents know you better than anyone else. They also have more insight into what you and the boys you want to talk to are able to handle. Plus, your parents may have cultural beliefs that influence acceptable behaviors with guys that you may need to respect.

God wants us to trust our parents’ instructions, because they know more than we do when it comes to important decisions. Part of honoring them is respecting their opinion and obeying their rules (Deuteronomy 5:16).

That being said, there’s still a lot that you can do in this situation. First, ask your parents if you can talk about the rules regarding who you can talk to on the phone. Explain why you think it’s important to be able to talk to guys and listen to what your parents say. Many times parents have reasons for their decisions that we’d never think of. And often their decisions have little to do with not trusting us, but rather in what they know about others.

For example, parents know that teen guys may not necessarily keep private phone conversations private. And your parents may be concerned that you may not know when you’re talking to a guy too often, too late, or too in depth.

Parents also know that teen guys may become inappropriate with you or accuse you of being that way, which would hurt your reputation at school or with your other friends. They may want to shield you from receiving romantic messages that you don’t want.

If your parents have a problem trusting you to talk to guys, ask them if there’s a way that you can demonstrate that you can be trusted. As with any other privilege that you want to earn, you have to show that you deserve it. This means you’ll have to show that you’re responsible in other areas of your life, such as with your schoolwork and your chores at home.

It also means that you’ll have to demonstrate social maturity by getting along better with your siblings and showing that you can have male friendships, maybe with family friends or youth group members, without being inappropriate.

Having conversations with the opposite sex brings on a lot of responsibility. It’s an important part of social development that influences how we will develop our future dating behaviors. Phone conversations with the opposite sex can also distract us and take our focus off of more important things, such as school and God.

Listen to what your parents have to say regarding when they think it’s a good time for you to start talking to guys on the phone. Trust their opinion. And until the time is right, be patient. God says that patience is something that is both a fruit of the Spirit and an essential part of love (Galatians 5:22, NIV;* 1 Corinthians 13:4).

*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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