What Relationship Advice would you give your 16-year old self?

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Relationship advice to your 16-year old self

This isn’t a relationship blog, so yes, the question I ask is a bit out of the blue.

But after the recent Santa Barbara shootout (where the killer who had failed to get the attention of girls, stabbed and shot people due to ‘loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires ‘ , one of the responses really caught my attention.

It’s worth the time to read it in its entirety, but I’m quoting here the significant bits:

the overall problem is one of a culture where instead of seeing women as, you know, people, protagonists of their own stories just like we are of ours, men are taught that women are things to “earn,” to “win.” That if we try hard enough and persist long enough, we’ll get the girl in the end. Like life is a video game and women, like money and status, are just part of the reward we get for doing well….

….other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned—they can be given freely, by choice, or not.

I’ve met my share of men who don’t get rejection. I’ve met girls obsessing over guys who didn’t know said girls existed. I still know kids who’re going through the same struggles. I used to be a nerd myself, always more interested in books than people.

With the years, now, the (entirely subjective) solution to finding the right romantic partner/ husband/ wife is very clear to me, and this is what I’d tell my 16-year old self:

Find the folks who have the same interests as you, and you’ll never be alone. Make friends with people from the gender you’d like to go out with. If a girl can be friends with some boys, she can always find a boy she can have a relationship with. Same goes for a boy. Learn to respect the person you want a relationship with.

Kindness and compassion are the best qualities to look out for in a person if you’re looking for a long term relationship. Looks fade over time, as does stuff like popularity.


In my WIP I have three adolescents, one of whom has trouble fitting in. I’m wondering what sort of advice his parents/ older self should give him. What would you say to your 16-year old self about finding friends, and lovers?


Today’s Bloggers I recommend visiting!

As part of helping spread the love in my community, I recommend three bloggers on each post, and today’s bloggers are:

Keith Channing: I really enjoy his photographs and the accounts of his life in close communion with nature. Put him on your blogroll, and you won’t regret it.

Rosie Amber: A blogger more supportive of the writing community is hard to find. She uses her blog to support authors of all sorts of books.

Peter Nena: Amazing horror writer, kind friend. Follow him for some spine-chilling stories.

Now, go make friends with these amazing bloggers!




Add Yours
  1. arabpikachu4wp

    Even though the guy’s decision to go on a shooting spree was irrational, his feelings of loneliness and sexual frustration certainly weren’t irrational.

    I felt like computer faceplaming and shaking my head in disapproval at whoever wrote “a woman’s affection shouldn’t be treated like something to earn/win in a videogame but should be treated as something to given freely”; Whoever wrote that must have forgotten about the term “marriage expenses”; Reminds me of those people that blame videogames for everything bad; As someone that likes to play videogames, I like to treat marriage as something to earn/win because walking around with a “have love handed to me on a silver platter” mentality isn’t going to fly.

    On another note, my 16 year old self wasn’t the same person as me now but I wish I were more cognizant of drawing the line between toxic/healthy social relationships back then.


  2. Dave Sumner

    This question has always intrigued me. I think I would say “Dave, as hard as it is to believe this right now in just a few years the people you think are SO important right now will be gone out of your life forever. You will only see one or two of them again. This means that what almost everyone thinks about you doesn’t matter at all in the long run. So, be bold – not timid, be proud – not shy, and for goodness sakes stop being obsessed with what other teenagers think.”


  3. uniqusatya

    Tough take…Sweet sixteen people say, but its hard to maintain the sweetness without turning it to sour.Hope you heard about the “Aarushi Talwar case” .I am still trying to figure out, what best could have been done for that situation not to turn so bad where the entire family suffered for what happened.


  4. anntogether.com

    I’d make myself take a poll of married adults and ask the question – Did you marry or have a meaningful relationship with the person you were ‘infatuated’ with when you were 16. I’d put the results on a piece of laminated card stock and tuck it away in my pocket.


  5. J.Gi Federizo

    I can only tell her: “You are right, so don’t worry about it. Just try to enjoy life more. What will happen will happen; what’s not meant to be, look at it as a learning experience. Do not go hurting people for your own benefit.”


  6. jennicurry

    My advice is to find someone you enjoy spending time with and date them until you no longer enjoy their company, then leave them. Sounds harsh, but I ended up marrying the last guy I applied this theory to! Apparently, I never got sick of his company. It is also useful for teenagers as it stops the melodramatic obsessions.


  7. Hobbie DeHoy

    “You don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to be a happy person.” I think so many young people feel so urgent about getting the attention of that certain person, and believe they can’t be happy if they don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Really, romance is an “extra” and not essential.


  8. Keith Channing

    To my sixteen-years-old self I would say that girls aren’t as scary as you think, and most of the horror stories you are told by the worldly wise, confident, outgoing boys at your single-sex grammar school are not true.
    To you, Damyanti, I would say thank you for your extreme generosity – I’m sure I don’t deserve the praise you have lavished on me, but I really do appreciate it.


  9. Claire Duffy

    I agree with your advice – great post! I think that the inverse can affect girls too – I can remember as a teenager thinking in terms of hoping to be ‘picked’ by a boy rather than finding one I wanted to be with, so I think that’s the advice I’d give sixteen year old me: you’re not a bloody flower!


  10. lisabuiecollard

    I’ve always thought this an interesting question and one that is VERY hard to answer since everyone is different and I believe every answer would therefore have to be different, in a way, as well. I think everyone can come up with reasons why communication or finding people one relates to, or with, is hard. I can’t say I was one of the “geeks” but on the other hand, I had a pretty face that people didn’t see past. They didn’t care to see past what they saw or thought they saw to find out who I was. Also, other girls would snub me because they perceived me as a threat. Made it hard to have solid friends of any kind and so I learned to hide and to try to be what others thought they saw in me. What would I say to a 16 year old now? I think I would agree with you in finding people who have your same interests. But also, to try to remember that no matter how much you think you know, you will always have more to learn. No matter how alone you feel right now, this too shall pass. Try to remember to keep your heart and mind open, protected yes, but open to learning. There is always more to learn and that learning will keep you moving and growing and help keep the lonely demons at bay…


    • lisabuiecollard

      Sorry! Just realized the comment was what would you advise to your own 16 year old self, and yet I would say the same thing… I didn’t think I was worthy at that time, that my own opinion counted as much as anyone’s… Learning is so very important, not just book learning but “people” learning… which I think is THE most important learning and one not given enough attention.


  11. Jayanta Tewari

    It is very disturbing to see what happened there. Added with gun culture prevalent in some parts of the world, the comment aptly talks about the mentality driving people crazy. Respect for the other party is cornerstone for any relationship, be it with books or human beings or nature or anything else..


  12. itspjaygutierrez

    ” Find the folks who have the same interests as you, and you’ll never be alone. ”

    I love this phrase. Absolutely adore it.

    I think it also takes courage to ask and explore the interests that can’t be seen on the surface of budding friendships.


  13. M-R

    The gap is far too wide for me, now … But you know, I doubt that I could’ve answered this even forty years ago. Advice is something for experts: part of my problem is that I’ve never achieved expertness at bloody anything ! – just fairly good at several things, you know ?


  14. TGR Worzel

    What relationship advice would I give my 16 year old self….?

    I honestly don’t know the answer to that one.
    I still haven’t worked it out and I’m 53 now…!


I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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