Hey, Tribelet of Mini-Women! Welcome back to our series on Putting Together the Boy Puzzle. If you’re just joining us, so far we’ve talked about how boys are different and why it’s so hard to understand them (much less get along with them!) and how to be friends with one. The last couple of posts will help you catch up if you need to.
Last week I asked you to tell us about any good boy-type friends you’ve had and what made them cool people to hang out with.
THIRZAH had one who was sweet and considerate and tough when he needed to be. And the best thing? He came WITHOUT drama.
MEGGIEBEAR was even luckier. Her guy friend stepped in and stuck up for her when the girl drama turned on her.
ASHER told us: “Last summer I hung out with a boy in my art class and there were a lot of paint-and-clingfilm battles involved, but no real drama which was awesome, and it was interesting to hear about where he was from (he had just moved to where I live). He’s moved away now but we’re still friends over email. :)”
JOSIE had a guy friend when she was ten. They were on the same soccer team and he was easy to talk to. Like MEGGIEBEAR, she was experiencing some major girl drama and “really needed someone like that.”
HOP3 has mostly guy friends.
HALLE BELLE’s guy friend has a sister so he knows about girl things and isn’t bothered by them.
(Another amazing drawing by ASHER)
Not everybody has had a friend-who’s-a-guy yet, but you were all clear on what that boy should be like:
*Christian *Sensitive to everyone’s feelings *Mature * Funny * Nice to everybody * Laid-back *Easy to talk to *Like a brother (in a good way) * Someone you can share your faith and interests with *Gentle * Acknowledges you in front of other people *Uses nice language *Doesn’t gossip
WORD TO THE WISE: You probably shouldn’t expect any boy — or any person, for that matter — to be perfect in all those ways or even have all those qualities. We all have our faults and challenges. The not-so-perfect REAL people are the most interesting.
So … let’s say you do have a friend who’s a boy — or there’s a boy you JUST want to have as a friend (we’re not talking boyfriend here), and nobody else will believe you don’t LIKE him. Maybe even including him. This was MARYBETH and ASHER’S question and I’m sure a lot of you have the same one. What can you do?
Let’s think of this as more pieces to the boy puzzle.
PIECE A: This is hard, but if you can do this, it will serve you well your whole life in all kinds of situations: Don’t allow the opinions of other people keep you from doing good things, including having very cool relationships. If you love chocolate, but all your friends tell you chocolate tastes horrible, are you going to stop eating it, when you know good and well it tastes amazing? This is the same thing. If your friends keep saying, “You have a crush on him. You like him. You’re more than just buddies,” does that make it true? You are the only one who knows how you feel. Be honest with yourself and don’t let other people deprive you of a friendship with a neat person. Spend time with who you want to spend time with (as long as it’s healthy, of course).
PIECE B: Make it clear to your guy friend that you DON’T have a crush on him, that you DON’T want to “go out” with him, that you AREN’T telling people you’re a couple. He’s the only one whose understanding is important in this.
PIECE C: If people keep talking about it, let them. Ignore them. Don’t make a big deal out of protesting. They’ll find something else to gossip about. You have better things to do. Like enjoy that friendship!
PIECE D: What if your cool guy friend stops hanging out with you because he’s sick of people not being able to hush up about the two of you. Don’t be too mad at him. He doesn’t have your maturity yet, and he’s afraid he’ll lose his pack. Let him go. Besides, he might not be ready for a great girl-friendship yet if his buddies still have that kind of control over him. The time will come when he won’t care about that so much. Cut him some slack for now.
I hope that helps, Mini-Women. Tell us if it does, okay? Especially if you’ve ever had any experience with this. Also — if you want to comment this week — we’re going to talk next Wednesday about THIRZAH’s question: What if a boy wants to be friends with you but you don’t even want to be around him? What should you do without hurting his feelings? If you’ve ever had any experience with THAT, tell us about it, will you?
Hello, Tribelet of MIni-Women — and welcome HOP3 and SARAH, our two newest members. You’ve joined us just in time for our series on Putting Together the Boy Puzzle. If you want to catch up, just read the last two posts … or jump in here because we’re getting started with our first question.
It comes from MARYBETH and ASHER and probably just about everybody else too! Here we go: How can you be friends with a boy without him – and everybody else — thinking you have a crush on him?
That’s actually 3 questions so let’s start with the first one for today: How can you be friends with a boy, period?
Okay, I’m not going to say it’s impossible to have a boy for a pal at this point in your life. And boys definitely make good friends because:
* there isn’t as much drama with them
* they can talk about stuff other girls can’t or don’t (like dirt bikes or Star Wars or whatever else you’re interested in that your female CFFs maybe aren’t)
* they won’t compete with you in things like how you dress or how many other friends you have or any of the ridiculous things girls sometimes try to be the best at. They WILL take you on in video games or grades, but even at that, it’s not like the end of the world if they lose.
* if you get over-emotional over something they’ll be like, “What’s the big deal? Get over it.” And sometimes we need that.
The issue isn’t WHETHER to be friends with them, but HOW to, right? It helps to know why it’s hard in the first place:
* He’s afraid his guy friends will think he LIKES you and there will be no end to the teasing and taunting and eventually pushing and shoving. It takes a pretty strong tween guy to put up with that. Most would rather not hassle with it. Not your fault.
* He’s afraid YOU will get a crush if you don’t already, and most guys your age don’t EVEN know what to do with that. They do NOT want to be in a situation where they might look stupid so they dont’ go there. Not your fault.
* He actually has a crush on you and he’s afraid you don’t and he’s afraid you do and so he’d rather just avoid the whole thing completely and go smack a ball around or something . Not your fault either.
*He just isn’t interested in the kinds of things you’re into. Especially when it comes to talking about people and problems. You and your CFFs might LOVE to stay up half the night at a sleepover sharing your feelings but your average boy isn’t going to do that for five minutes. Totally not your fault. (Our own ASHER drew this picture. Awesome, yes?)
If you can get past all that, it’s possible — and fun — to have a friendship with a boy. That means:
* You need to make it clear to everybody — not just him — that you’re not into “going out” (whatever that means when you’re 10, 11 or 12, but that’s for another post)
* You’re friendly to everybody — guys and girls — so they all know you don’t talk behind people’s backs, you HAVE their backs, you’re easy to get along with, you don’t get in anybody’s face — that kind of thing. Then it’s obvious that not only are you a fun girl, you’re not out to make any guy your boyfriend.
* You don’t expect him to hang out with you when his guy friends are around. Unless you have a whole group of guy friends, that probably isn’t going to happen and he’s going to choose them over you every time. If you can’t accept that, your friendship is probably doomed.
* You really are interested in the things he’s into. Somehow it’s easier for some girls to like boy stuff than for boys to like girl stuff. They DON’T want to talk about clothes, entertainers and other people. They DO want to play sports and video games, and some of them get into things like history or science. If any of that is truly your thing, you could have a great buddy-ship. If you only pretend to like watching basketball for hours just so a guy will be your friend, it’s going to come back and bite you, guaranteed. Besides, any friendship should be based on who two people truly are, right?
So, that’s how it works. You be who you are and you show an interest in being a boy’s friend and see what happens. Here’s what NOT to do, though:
* Don’t say, “Do you want to be friends with me?” Boys don’t do that. They just end up hanging out with somebody.
* Don’t call or text him the way you do your girlfriends. ONLY text him if you guys are getting together to shoot baskets and you want to confirm, something like that.
* Don’t expect him to spend all his free time with you the way girls who are BFFs do. Your time together will probably be to do specific things
*Don’t be too upset with him if he stops hanging out with you because his friends are teasing him. He SHOULD defend himself but he probably won’t, and that has to be okay. It has nothing to do with you. Maybe later, when he’s older and catches up with you maturity-wise
What if none of that works out? Well, there are worse things than not having any friends who are guys. It doesn’t mean you’re not likable or that boys think you’re poison ivy. It just means it isn’t time yet, and that’s okay. These things are better not pushed. Spend your time being the best you you can be, and everyone, not just the male types, will want to be around you.
If you want to comment this week, do one of these things:
a. Tell us about a guy friend you’ve had and why he was every bit as good as having a girl friend.
b. Tell us about a boy you’d like to be friends with and why
c. Share with us your idea of the perfect tween boy friend.
Remember in the meantime what the Bible says about timing.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3)
A time for boys who are friends. A time for just girls who are friends. And often, a time for just being with yourself.