I really like my guy friend. He’s super nice and sweet! We’ve been talking as more than friends for a while now and we’re both ready to take our relationship to the next level and start dating. He asked me to go to the movies with him, I asked my parents, and they said no because I’m not allowed to go on a date until I’m 16. I told him this and he basically said, YIKES! I don’t know what to do! I’m so sad. I really like this guy and I don’t want to lose him. Please help!
If it makes you feel any better, this is not an uncommon situation. Parents all over the place spend a lot of time trying to “protect” their kids from dating, and it’s something a lot of people have to deal with. So, at least take comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone!
You have three options. Number one: talk to your parents and try to strike up some sort of compromise or convince them to change their mind. Number two: suck it up and listen to them and put dating on pause for a little while. Number three: ignore them and go behind their back to date this guy. My favorite option is number one, but hey, you do you. I’m not here to tell you what to do, just to advise! So, let’s go over what you would need to do for each option.
If you’ve decided to try to talk to your parents, great. There is no guaranteed success and it’s going to be frustrating and annoying, but it’s worth it to try and speak up for yourself. Think about what you want to say beforehand, and then ask to speak to them in a mature way. Tell them this is your friend and you would like to go on a date with him very much and you really want to try and work something out. Go for a compromise. Maybe you can offer to have him hang out at your house, so your parents can kind of keep an eye on you guys. Ask if you’d be able to hang out with him on a group date. See if they would feel better about it if they met him first.
The key is presenting a compromise and talking to them in a mature and direct way. Screaming, crying, begging, and fighting isn’t going to help you get your way – it’s only going to prove to them that you aren’t “old enough” to date. It’s also just going to start fights and make things harder. But going to them with a plan and showing that you’re willing to try to make them happy might make them reconsider their stance on dating. Keep trying until you can tell that they aren’t going to change their minds – once you hit strict resistance, back off.
If you’ve decided to defy your parents and go on the date secretly, then, well… things are going to be complicated. Lying and sneaking around behind their back is not easy. It’s stressful, and if you get caught, you could potentially get a big punishment as well as a whole load of trust issues that will be really, really tough to get rid of. I mean, do what you want, but know that this option is going to be pretty damn annoying.
Give yourself time to think about what you want to do. Is this date worth fighting for? If so, speak up and try to compromise with your parents. If it’s not, then move on. If this guy really wants to date you, he’ll work around this with you and you two will figure something out. But if he backs off because you can’t go on a date, then maybe things weren’t meant to be, and you will absolutely find someone else.
In the meantime, try to be a little patient. You might not change your parents’ mind in one day, but over time, you might make some progress. Again, try to avoid crying, begging, and screaming things like, “I hate you! You’re ruining my life!” I know from personal experience that dealing with strict parents can be the absolute worst, and sometimes you just want to lash out. But I promise you that it won’t help. If you show them you are mature and can respect their decisions, they are more likely to work with you and try to figure something out. It takes a lot of will power and strength, but it’s worth a shot!
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org