by Nancy Rue
It’s really weird, right? You’re realizing (or you figured it out a while ago!) that boys who used to be absurd little creeps are actually pretty downright adorable and you want to be around them. But when you get around one who’s particularly . . . well, okay, hot . . . one of the following things happens:
(a) Your tongue ties itself into a knot
(b) You think he likes you, but then it could just be that he’s flirty with all girls, and you don’t want to be a complete fool so you’re not sure whether to flirt back . . . and you wonder if it’s okay to flirt in the first place. You discover your tongue has tied itself into a square knot.
(c) You just want to be friends with him and you’re not sure whether that’s what he wants too or whether he wants to be more than friends and you can’t tell because you don’t know what he’s thinking. You can’t ask because your tongue has tied itself into a double square knot.
Of course, there is the possibility that you are one of those girls who is totally confident with boys and could probably have a nice side business selling advice to the tongue-tied. Even if you are, you might want to read on anyway. Sooner or later you’re going to come across a male who boggles your mind. The reason? Guys are just different from us females.
Well, ya think? If they were just like girls, girls wouldn’t find them so mysterious and attractive. And then the human race would basically come to a screeching halt.
It’s so obvious, but not getting how guys are different is the most common cause of that tongue-in-a-knot thing. So what do you say we take a look at that and get some of those tangles untied?
Basic Boy Differences
- Boys aren’t generally as mature as girls of the same age. That’s actually a scientific finding. It has to do with the way their brains develop. We girls get language and fine motor skills earlier, while they get targeting and spatial memory. We can carry on a conversation and text at the speed of light. They get fixated on things (no kidding?) and remember how to get places. In other words, don’t expect them to have deep discussions with you at age 14. Do rely on them to remember where everything is at the mall.
- Boys don’t see how complicated they really are. So when it comes to relationships, they want things to be simpler than it’s possible for them to be, at least as far as we’re concerned. Sure, they can have deep feelings but they don’t know what to do with them and they won’t until their late teens. That’s one of the reasons they’re so into sports, video games, punching each other, and burping the alphabet.
- It’s easier for girls to understand boys than vice versa. It’s not that they’re dense. Okay, maybe some are. Mostly it’s just that while they’re showing off for you and performing for each other, you have a chance to observe and analyze. You’ve got time to figure out what makes them tick (does anybody say that anymore, now that watches don’t tick? I digress . . .) Then you can go in for a closer look at a few guys who you’re interested in as friends. Who knew you could actually have the advantage?
Boys aren’t just different because God wanted to make things more complicated for girls. There are actually reasons why they behave the way they do, and understanding those can actually make you more compassionate and less freaked out.
- They’re dealing with puberty and its hormones too. Voices cracking. Hairiness. Big ol’ growth spurts. Just to name a few things. And seriously, would you want to have to shave over those pimples?
- They’re taught practically from birth not to show their feelings. They’re starting to like girls just as much as girls are liking them, but that’s scary so they mask their emotions. Seriously, how many guys your age say stuff like, “I really dig you. Let’s hang out and see where this goes.”
- Guys process their feelings differently than girls do. They see things more in black and white. Good or bad. Cool or lame. He likes a girl and she doesn’t like him? He moves on. There’s no running to the bathroom crying with his friends.
- The guy-girl thing isn’t as much about feelings for them. It’s more like a new game that they want to practice before things get serious. It works for them because if a girl doesn’t turn out to be interested, he doesn’t look like an idiot, even though he may feel like one. Bottom line: cute as they are, most of them are so not ready for a relationship.
- Most adolescent guys don’t have girls figured out yet. So they move in packs. They brag and turn everything into a joke or act bored and call it cool. They don’t know what you want so they fall back on fourth grade mentality. They aren’t really that immature all the time. Just around you.
- Flirting isn’t much different for them than it is for you. It’s still a test. “Do you notice me? Do you think I’m cute? How long can I keep you interested?” It’s not about the flirt-EE but the flirt-ER, and that’s okay, but that can also lead to misinterpretation. (You think he really like you when he’s just messing around.) Basically, it’s their way of reassuring themselves that they’re charming and attractive.
That’s pretty general. You may know thirteen-, fourteen-, fifteen-year-old guys who are confident and mature and easy to read. They do exist. For the most part, though, unless you go for older guys (not a good idea, and definitely a topic for another post!), you’re faced with a bunch of boys who are every bit as confused and nervous and awkward and weirded out as you are.
So why not have some compassion for them? It can’t be easy to have to keep all your feelings hidden in some kind of inner man-cave. Or to have half the teen population expecting you to be somebody you’re not ready to be yet. Or to look like a man and yet still feel like a little kid behind that deep voice. Wouldn’t it be the Christian thing to –
- Cut them some slack for their clueless behavior
- Think of them as just people
- Treat them like you would any friend who’s trying to navigate through tweendom
- Pray for them
As for that tongue tied in a square knot . . . what knot?