Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Big Question

The questions about dating, parties, and meeting people may eventually give way to the more serious questions: Is this the real thing? Am I in love? Of course, you can’t give this question a yes or no answer. What you can do when this question arises is talk about the elements that make relationships between people of any age work.
  • Honesty. Can you be truthful with this person? Can you be yourself? Do you really like heavy-metal music, or are you just listening to it because your partner does? Are you going places and doing things and saying things just to please the other person, or because you want to?
  • Support. Do you support and praise each other? Offering your support, though, doesn’t mean you have to agree all the time. Players on the same sports team don’t always agree on the next move, but after the decision is made, they honor and back it 100 percent.
  • Friendship. Are you the other person’s best friend? Do you show that you are listening and trying to understand his or her feelings? Never dismiss the feelings of a friend as silly or unimportant.
  • Faithfulness. Do you stick by each other when disappointments arise? Do you try to see disappointments through the other person’s eyes?
  • Respect for others. Do both of you respect important people in each other’s life? Maybe you would rather be bitten by a snake than visit your friend’s parents, but you go anyway, you are polite, and you don’t complain about the visit later, no matter how awful it was.
  • Fun. Do you have fun together? Laugh a lot? Shared laughter is a sign of an easy relationship.
  • Giving space. Can you accept the fact that the other person has his or her own life? Everybody needs time alone.
Possessiveness is unnecessary in a healthy relationship. It’s tough enough, what with all the changes going on in their bodies and their heads, with new situations, new people, complex problems, and murky waters. Why make it tougher by telling young people that there are no rules or that rules are meant to be broken? It is a comfort and a steadying beacon for young people to know the rules and guidelines for interpersonal behavior—even if they are ignored.

No comments: