Hello, my awesome Tribelet of Mini-Women! Do you not LOVE the logo ASHER did for us for Tween YOU and Me? Let’s hear it for her and how amazing she is for always contributing her artwork, designed just for us.
ALL of you are so unique and gifted. One of the things I appreciate most about you is that you’re so willing to be yourselves here on the blog. For instance, last week I asked if and how you behave differently when boys are around and you were SO honest. You also surprised me.
THIRZAH said when boys are around she actually feels BETTER because unlike with her friends who are girls, she can have a real conversation about things that matter and not just fluff. (There ARE girls who can have real conversations — let’s talk in a future post about whether our current friends are the best ones for us.)
ASHER said she’s more sarcastic and LESS serious with boys than with her girlfriends because boys aren’t offended as easily.
HALLE BELLE said what makes her feel awkward around boys is whenever they or her friends think she likes one of them and she doesn’t. I’m glad we covered that in last week’s post!
ASHER added to her comment what I was expecting to hear, which is that if she doesn’t KNOW the boys she’s with or if they’re shy, THAT makes her feel “just plain awkward.” So let’s look at that —
(1) That is so normal. So. Normal. We talked at the beginning of our series on ALCs (Absurd Little Creatures) about how boys are different and how funky that makes both genders feel. There is nothing WRONG with you if you feel a little uncomfortable around boys you don’t know. We’ve referred to this whole thing as “putting together the boy puzzle”. It IS a puzzle, one you’ll eventually figure out. If it doesn’t happen before you’re 13 (or later!) that is perfectly fine. I was 14 before I found one I was comfortable talking to. So relax.
(2) If a boy is shy, you’re actually in a better position to get a conversation starter, especially if you’re outgoing. That guy is going to be so grateful that you can pick a topic, ask draw-him-out questions and respond to whatever he does manage to say.He’s going to LOVE being around you. For that reason, boys who turned red up to the tips of their ears around most girls hung around me. Come to think of it, men like that still do, like at writer’s conferences. They sit at my table at meals and count on me to fill all those awkward silences. Sometimes being a jabber jaws comes in handy!
(3) The best way to get anybody talking and comfortable is to ask them questions you think they won’t mind answering — will actually WANT to answer. Find out what he’s interested in. If you know absolutely nothing about it, so much the better. You’ll have plenty of questions. Say he’s into video games and you’re clueless. You could ask, “I’ve never gotten why people play them. What’s cool about it for you?” If he’s into baseball, ask him who his fave team is and why — or say, “I’ve never watched a baseball game, but if I saw my first one, what are three things I’m going to need to know?”
(4) Then sit back and listen. Everybody likes to be listened to — and really heard.
Last week we said this would be our final post in the Boy Puzzle series, but a couple of you mentioned some other boy issues that I think apply to girls too. So next week we’re going to talk about what to do when the kids you get thrown in with (in your classes or at church or wherever) behave so badly you can’t stand to be around them, and yet you have no choice. How do you stop it or deal with it if you can’t?