“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, Aug. 1998, 17
It is so good that you have followed the directions of the prophets concerning dating. Your obedience can give you feelings of security as you follow additional instructions concerning dating. In the For the Strength of Youth booklet, we are advised to concentrate on good friendships as a preparation for dating. This is excellent advice for your situation. As you concentrate on being friendly, and as those friendships blossom, then those you date will already be your friends.
There is nothing magical about the age 16. Just because that birthday has come doesn’t mean that you can or should immediately start dating. There are many things you have to do in your life, and there is a time and a place for dating. Just because you are feeling a little anxious doesn’t mean that the world is passing you by. Be patient.
Of course, dating is meant to be a way of getting to know members of the opposite sex as you prepare for marriage. However, at 16, you should be thinking more about going out in groups or on double dates. It’s lots of fun. Group dating is great for making friends, and it involves a lot less pressure. And in group dates, the burden of paying for the activity doesn’t always fall completely on the young men.
Be a good friend. If you are a little shy, practice being friendly. You don’t have to be the funny, outgoing center of attention. But you do need to learn to talk to people and learn how to carry on a conversation. Even if it is hard, practice with adults in your ward, your parents’ friends, or even friends of your brothers or sisters. Learn how to participate in a conversation without having to be the only one talking.
Always be clean and well groomed. Don’t wear too much makeup. And keep your clothes washed and ironed. Even if the styles are casual, keep your clothes in good condition and mended. Once you have those things taken care of, then you can relax and worry less about how you look. When you are able to concentrate on the needs and interests of others over your own, you become happier, and nothing is more attractive than a happy person.
Don’t waste your time daydreaming. And don’t get caught up in crushes or strong feelings for those who are not appropriate for you. Spend your time in good pursuits like developing talents, studying or learning a skill, or socializing with good people who have high standards. All of these things will help you meet other people who have the same interests and values that you do.
Also, make this, as well as all things in your life, a matter of prayer. And have patience. “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37).
Just be patient for one thing. Be nice to your guy friends and the guys you meet every day. But don’t be overbearing. Most of all, like yourself and have confidence. Some day you’ll marry someone that you’ve dated. Only date those that respect you and have your standards.
Ben Smith, 15
St. George, Utah
Be creative. If no one is asking you, then you ask someone when an occasion comes along. Also dating is supposed to be fun, so invite another couple with your date and do something so that you can become better friends.
Sunshine Frandsen, 16
The answer depends on just what kind of guys you want to ask you out. If you want the right kind of people to date you, you have to live right. It’s all about beauty. No, I’m not talking about what the world calls beauty but the Lord’s definition. Worthwhile and worthy young men are attracted to young ladies who live their lives so that they are spiritually beautiful. No joke. The girls I like to date are girls who I look up to as examples of how I should be—Christlike individuals.
So the bottom line is: live the kind of life and be the kind of daughter Heavenly Father will be pleased with. Set your standards high, and the rest will happen.
Rich Schill, 18
Do things with your girlfriends, and invite a few males to come along. Soon the boys will see how much fun you are. Group dates are always best. You meet more people, and they meet you.
Camille Dearden, 18
You must be able to look into the mirror and say, “I am a beautiful daughter of Heavenly Father!” This will build self-confidence and attract other people.
Eamonn Foster, 16
Red Bluff, California
I waited until I was 16 thinking that all the guys would ask me out. After a while of waiting, I started working on developing my gifts and talents and being a friend to others. When I stopped feeling depressed about the life I didn’t have, that was when I began to get asked out on dates. The people worth dating are the ones that look for personalities and abilities, not looks and popularity.
Krissy Coltrin, 16
Idaho Falls, Idaho
I know this has been said thousands of times, but the truth can never be stated too many times. Not every person realizes that what is inside of you is where the important stuff is. Lose yourself in service to others, and let yourself out. Don’t be afraid to do something that’s fun. I’ll bet there are others who enjoy the same things you do.
Cindy Weech, 17