Teen Dating and the Absence of Communication

03/05/2015 04:51 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2015

Dating in high school can seem like walking through a corn maze that seems to take teens on many turns, hopeful exits and dreaded dead ends. Girl and boys are maturing quickly during these years and in today's media driven society, the art of dating has changed dramatically, leaving the art of courtship out of the equation.

Go ahead, call me old fashion, but I truly love the idea of being courted. Often times I have thought maybe I should have lived back in the day when this was the norm. Advanced technology and the use of smartphones allows us to communicate without actually speaking which brings dating to a new paradigm for the teens of today.

Phone numbers are passed around in high school as often as footballs are passed on the field, and requires little to no verbal communication. A quick friend request on Facebook and BOOM, there's an instant connection, and now all one has to do is send that first text or direct message. Now, this can be very very tricky. The poor guy must text his crush carefully, leaving no gaps in the true meaning of his words. The poor girl has no visual or sound that goes with the words that have popped up on her screen leaving her with possible questions like, 'What did he mean? Was he mad? Was that supposed to be funny?' A million thoughts can go through a young girl's mind causing her to over-think every word that appears before her. If she could only hear his voice? NO... that would be too scary!

With all these obstacles how in the world can a girl really tell if he's a good guy? Both parties are at a disadvantage... there's no sipping sweet tea on a front porch swing having a face-to-face conversation with the boy she thinks is cute. No, unfortunately this would seem lame to a large percentage of teens.

My high school dating years were much like any other teen girl; they were plagued with frogs. Prince Charming was nowhere to be found. I continued to ask myself the familiar question girls ask themselves when things don't work out. What's wrong with me? There was nothing wrong with me, I just needed to learn how to connect with boys who shared my morals and values. Communication was my missing link!

Many girls turn to boys for validation and self-worth. This lack of confidence can lead to verbal abuse, manipulation and physical violence. Girls get so caught up in keeping a boyfriend that they turn a blind eye to the subtle wave of control and begin making excuses for their prince's behavior. Sound familiar? Teen girls might be surprised to see these statistics from the Love is Respect Organization.

  1. Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  2. One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  3. One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  4. One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
  5. Approximately 70 percent of college students say they have been sexually coerced.

As I entered college I realized I needed to use my voice, get to know who that boy I thought was cute really was, his morals, values and most of all his intentions. I also learned that this takes time, a valuable lesson every girl must understand. I wanted girls to know that they didn't have to settle or change themselves for a boy despite the tough social pressures so I decided to write a book that would give girls a peer perspective topped with a few lessons learned the hard way. Towards the end of my writing and editing I got lucky, or one might call it fate. I met a really "good guy" and he agreed to be interviewed (or interrogated, depending on who you talk to) on the subject of what a girl should be looking for in a guy when it comes to dating. My subject was JK Schaffer, a former linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals. He's attractive, smart, driven and has some of the best morals and values I've ever met in a human being. I knew that girls would hang on his every word. Mission accomplished.

Alright girls, I'm sharing with you two attributes of a "Good Guy."

How does your guy carry himself and what mindset does he have?

A good guy cares about his appearance, and yes, even in high school. He will most likely be neat, care about his school work and have a drive to reach goals, whether that be school, work or hobbies. An "I don't care" attitude, skipping class or laziness could be a sign he's a frog. If he doesn't care about himself, how can he give you the support and encouragement a relationship needs to survive. It's a 50-50 deal, not 90-10. Don't be afraid to ask about college plans, where he works or what hobbies he has. How he spends his time away from school is something you will want to know, trust me on this one!

Does the guy you like have a good relationship with his family?

Having good family ties usually means your guy has been raised in a positive home environment where he's been taught to have morals and values. With values comes respect which is something every relationship thrives on. Ask about his family when you're getting to know him... it might reveal a lot about what kind of person he is.

There's no guarantee or recipe for the perfect guy. If there was, I would have already created a bronze cast mold for every girl. You'll know it when he comes along! Until then, use your voice, have conversations and really get to know that guy you've been wanting so badly to connect with. Don't let the habit of texting wedge a gap in your relationships. Take the time to get together, sit on the front porch, drink some sweet tea and TALK! Above all, stay true to yourself, your morals and values. Love is respect ~