Our culture is obsessed with how we look. We all know how we struggle, wondering if we look good enough to compete with everyone around us. Teens struggle with this more than any other age group. That’s a shock, right?
Recently, someone asked a group of girls whether they would go out with a guy just based on how he looked, without knowing anything about him. She was surprised to find out that every girl in her survey said that his good looks were enough reason to go out with him. Her results don’t surprise me as much. (Do they surprise you?) I know how much time my teen friends spend thinking about bodies and faces and hair—theirs and others’. Is that really enough, though? Nope, there are things you need to know, beside how he looks.
At Selah, we aren’t just concerned with whether or not teens are getting pregnant. I know that a potential pregnancy outcome is just a symptom in a line of relationship decisions that may or not be healthy. I’m just as concerned with how well my teen friends are learning to relate to each other, to communicate with each other, to value each other’s uniqueness, and care for each other’s futures. Those choices are deeper and just as impacting as whether or not a sexual encounter results in a pregnancy.
So here’s another set of questions. Girls. And guys. There are things that you need to know about someone before you decide to pursue a relationship with him or her, whether it’s a closer friendship or you’re thinking about hooking up or hanging out. Here are red flags to watch for:
- Does he (or she) lose his temper easily and often?
- Does he consider himself a failure and is counting on you to feel better about himself?
- Is there abuse in his (or her) home?
- Does he put you down?
- Is he jealous or controlling?
He may be hot. But if he gets angry a lot or puts you down, he is not the right guy for you. Don’t settle for less than a healthy relationship.
Another survey a couple of years ago concluded that more than a third of girls had been in an abusive relationship during high school. We believe every person has incredible current value, not just future potential, and deserves to be treated with care and respect. You deserve a relationship where you are honored for who you are. If you’re afraid of the person you’re in a relationship or feel pressured to have sex and aren’t sure you want to, come see us. Or talk to an adult you trust. We’ll help you figure it out. And…look closely before you choose a boyfriend or girlfriend. There’s more that matters than the outside.
How do you feel when it seems that someone is judging you based only on how you look? Do you have ideas about how we can learn to look at each other’s unique value instead of just the outside? I’d love to hear your thoughts.