The strangest thing happened last week…
A family that I admire, respect and look up to had a bit of drama.
One of their daughters (who is a married woman now) chose to do something that many of the family’s fans were completely and absolutely shocked by.
In the grand scheme of things, it seemed quite ridiculous to me but in retrospect I can see where it would have felt like a betrayal to many of the people who hold this family in high esteem.
And on that note, this post will be a bit different from last week’s post.
I mentioned in my last post that I went through a rough time in high school and that I feel my experiences during that time are quite a bit responsible – if not completely – for many of the issues I have had in my life where relationships are concerned.
Peer pressure is not just about drugs and alcohol. – Tweet this!
And peer pressure is not just about intimacy either. It may take you by surprise to realize that peer pressure is far too often about the dating that comes before intimacy.
Your friends will influence not just who you date, but how often, how serious the relationship is, and sometimes… how far you go with that other person.
How friends influence WHO you date:
Girls – think back to high school. Think back to when you were sitting around a lunch table or a study table in the library or when you got together for a slumber party.
Did you talk about boys? Sure you did.
And when you talked about these boys, your friends had opinions about who was the cutest, who was smartest, who was nicest, who was the most athletic, who was a gentleman… and who was NOT.
Now not every single girl is influenced in this area by their friend’s opinions but many are and it happens one of two ways.
- You listen to your friend’s opinions and follow their advice. You ignore the “bad” boys and aim for the “good” ones.
- You feel a bit rebellious and you go after the “bad” boys… despite what your friends say… just because you can.
Another area of influence is the unspoken rule that you don’t date a guy that your friends have dated. I say unspoken but it can get pretty verbal (and sometimes even physical) when you break this rule – which is probably why most girls obey it without question or hesitation.
After you decide who or who not to date, comes the inevitable competition. Your friends may be friends but they can also seem amazingly like enemies when it comes to who gets what guy.
How friends influence HOW OFTEN you date:
After you are all paired up (not usually how it happens by the way – usually only one or two people in a group of friends are paired up while the rest of them play the field), comes the competition of the actual dating.
Who gets to go to the best restaurants, who goes to good movies, who goes out the most often, whose guy spends the most money, whose guy buys the best gifts, the list goes on… and on… and on… but no one ever really wins this competition because it starts with boys, continues with dating, goes on into engagements and weddings and then on to your kids.
It’s no way to live!
And that is one reason I do not compare my kiddos to ANYONE else’s kiddos! Sam and Gwen are individuals. They are just as much different from each other as they are from every other kid out there! There is no chart for when they should be able to do something. They do it when they’re ready to! Anyway… I am off-topic. Back to the subject at hand.
NEVER be afraid to be an individual! God made you SPECIAL! – Tweet this!
We are beginning to get to the big guns here…
How friends influence HOW SERIOUS your relationship is:
This one is a little murky because there are so many factors to it.
Some groups of girls are adamant that you should casually date in high school because you are so young.
Some groups of girls think you should ONLY go steady (or date exclusively) EVER – high school or not!
Some girls think you should be friends with guys and occasionally go out but never really DATE in high school.
And some girls think it’s a good idea to be exclusive to the point that you’re engaged (or intimate) when in high school.
Personally, I wish I had fallen into another camp. I wish I had used high school as a time to learn and have fun but NEVER date or become romantically involved AT ALL! Aside from the fact that boys in high school can be even more immature than girls in how they view relationships… if I had taken the time to look around me at all of the “relationships” – I would have realized that I was fighting a losing battle.
No relationship started in high school turns out the way you expect it to.
Yes, there are people who manage to stay together through trials and troubles but it’s not because they’ve been together so long… It’s because they find a way to get through it – either through prayer or through counselling or through sheer determination.
Regardless of what your friends do, you should NEVER allow anyone else to dictate how serious YOUR relationship is… unless that someone is GOD!
DISCLAIMER: As terrible as it sounds, YES, I am including your parents in the above statement. It is always YOUR CHOICE whether you allow your friends to influence you or not… just as it is YOUR CHOICE whether you listen to your parents council on the subject (as well as every other one). It takes a very strong person to listen to the advice of parents, friends and siblings but to ultimately adhere to GOD’s will for their life!
NEVER allow someone else to dictate how serious YOUR relationship is – unless that someone is GOD! – Tweet this!
This one really goes hand in hand with the subject above
How friends influence HOW FAR you go with your significant other:
This is by far and away the scariest one for me and I am proud to say that I avoided that particular pitfall… mostly.
I say mostly because I was pure (only in the strictest sense of the word) on my wedding night but there were quite a few things I would NEVER have done if it weren’t for my friends telling me the great lie – “everybody’s doing it…”!
First of all – and listen carefully to this girls!!!
- It is impossible for EVERYBODY to be doing it!
- Even IF everybody else is doing it… IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO!
For starters, in high school, you hear constantly about what your friends are doing in their own relationships. Just a little tip here – if your friends are talking about things they’re doing with their guy… it probably doesn’t mean much to them. Using something personal to “one-up” your friends is never a good yardstick to measure the depth of personal, emotional or even physical feelings!
However, let’s follow the thought through here…
Your friends will tell you all about what they’re doing and they’ll use their own behaviors as the yardstick to measure where you should or should not be in your own relationship.
Don’t ever let someone tell you that you should/when you should – hug a boy, kiss a boy or ANYTHING else!
NO ONE ELSE has to live in your skin!
NO ONE ELSE has to live with YOUR consequences! Except maybe your kids…
NO ONE ELSE knows YOU as well as YOU know yourself… except God!
NO ONE ELSE gets YOUR eternity – wherever it may be.
Your friends may think they’re being helpful. They may even think they’re doing you a favor. But THEY aren’t the ones who have to live with the decisions YOU make. YOU ARE!
So it really doesn’t matter what your friends are doing, what your parents did or what you see people around you doing. What matters is what you want to do, what you are comfortable with, what you want to live with!
NO ONE ELSE has to live in your skin! – Tweet this!
NO ONE ELSE knows YOU as well as YOU know yourself… except God! – Tweet this!
NO ONE ELSE gets YOUR eternity – wherever it may be. – Tweet this!
Now… let’s look at a different perspective for a moment:
Imagine for a moment that your friends are dedicated to courtship – along with you…
That image looks very different doesn’t it?
In this image, instead of competing with each other for the “best” guy and focusing on things that have no eternal or even long-range value (like looks), you can instead discuss who you think has the best relationship with God, who likes kids and who doesn’t, who is most likely to stick close to where your family is, who shares the same life and spiritual goals that you do.
And then… instead of trying to “one-up” each other on dates and kisses and looks – you can lift each other up, use accountability to help each other stay pure and focus on what is most important when it comes to things you want in a husband, and in the man who you want as the father of your children.
And with all of the experience I have had on the “other side” – I pick courtship any day!
Pearls of wisdom:
- There are just as many people (maybe even more) that live their life alone after dating… as there are after courtship.
- Courtship gives you the opportunity to get to know a person WITHOUT hormones or emotions or pheromones distracting you.
- Courtship offers the opportunity for friends to lift each other up – whereas dating (more often than not) leads to competition, back-biting, and dishonesty.
- Courtship has been around since the dawn of time (or nearly) and you know what they say… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
OK. with that I will say adieu.
I will be back next week with more!
© Rachel L. Miller 2015
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