Posts by Dawson McAllister

How to Be a Great Friend: 9 Must Knows

Best Ways to Be a Great Friend

How Can I Be an Amazing Friend?

Friendship is one of the best gifts life has to offer. Being a great friend means making an effort to show your friends you care.

I never thought I would write an article on being a great friend. But I am amazed how many people reach out to TheHopeLine who down deep are lonely and need a good friend. The fact of the matter is we are all wired for meaningful relationships. Studies show if you have good friends throughout your life, you will live longer.

There is a lot of truth behind the common saying, In order to have a great friend, you must first be one. I hope to help you gain some insight on how to be a great friend.

Being an enthusiastic listener, spending quality time, and sending encouraging cards or gifts; all these can go a long way toward strengthening a friendship. If your friend is going through a tough time, offer support. If you're not sure what to do, or if you feel they need more help than you can offer, there are support organizations, mentors, and counselors your friend can get connected with.

Friendship also involves learning how to set and keep healthy boundaries. None of us can be everything or do everything, even for the people we're closest to. It's okay to ask for alone time, or to not answer calls or texts immediately. You should also let your friend know what you need, when you are hurting, and how they can help if you are going through a difficult time. Strong friendship is a two-way street, where there is a healthy give and take between you.

What makes someone a bad friend?

Friendship is hard. One minute, we’re all playing together on the same playground, and the next, we’re competing for solos in the show choir, playing opposite each other in sports, or changing schools. You might wake up one day to find you have absolutely nothing left in common with someone you used to be able to talk to for hours. Or maybe you’ve had the same “best friend” your whole life, and you find yourself wondering if they even like you. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to be a good friend, but how do you spot a bad one? Here are a few signs someone isn’t living up to the definition of the word “friend.”

1. You can’t trust them. Trust is the foundation of any friendship, and breaches of this trust can strain the relationship. Someone who struggles to keep things confidential or shares your personal information without consent might be a bad friend. 

2. They’re consistently negative. Friends should uplift and support each other. If someone constantly brings negativity into your life, whether they’re critical of you and others, they’re always gossiping, or they’re just generally pessimistic about life, it could be a sign you’re in a toxic friendship.

3. It’s a one-sided relationship. A healthy friendship involves mutual give and take. If you find that you're consistently putting in more effort, or your friend only reaches out when they need something, that’s not a fair dynamic.

4. They lack empathy. A good friend is understanding. If your friend consistently dismisses your feelings, fails to listen, and can’t (or won’t) ever see your point of view, there’s a lack of emotional support, which is key to any friendship.

5. There’s a sense of jealousy and competition. Healthy friendships celebrate each other's successes. If a friend seems consistently jealous of the good things happening in your life or gets overly competitive with you about everything, that’s another unhealthy dynamic that may lead to resentment.

6. They’re unreliable. Someone who frequently cancels plans, arrives late, or fails to follow through on commitments isn’t prioritizing your friendship or treating it with respect. Reliability is essential for building trust, which we talked about in #1.

7. They betray your boundaries. Respecting each other's boundaries is crucial in any friendship. Whether they’re texting your boyfriend or asking to copy your homework, if a friend constantly crosses your boundaries without consideration, it may be a red flag.

8. They don’t apologize or take responsibility. Everyone makes mistakes, but a bad friend may struggle (or refuse) to apologize or take responsibility for their actions. If there's a consistent pattern of blame-shifting, that’s another red flag.

9. They’re a negative influence. If a friend consistently pushes you to do things you’re not interested in or participate in activities that don’t make your life better, that’s not uplifting (see #2). Whether they drag you into unhealthy behaviors or encourage poor decision-making, it's time to reevaluate whether this friendship is good for your well-being.

What do you do if you think you have a bad friend? You don’t have to “break up,” but you should definitely try talking to them. Start with curiosity and empathy—a lot of the above may be signs that your friend is struggling with their mental health… A little support could help them get back to a place where they’re able to be a good friend. However, if you talk to them, and they can’t acknowledge their issues (see #8), it’s probably time to distance yourself until you see change.

So, how can you learn to be a great friend? What does it take?

If you're struggling with making friends or resolving conflicts in a friendship, it may help to find support from someone you trust, or to get help from a mentor or counselor. 

Here are some qualities of a great friend. As you learn how to be a good friend, in turn, you'll be teaching your friends how to become better ones.

Here are 9 Ways You Can Become a Great Friend:

1. Be real. People are turned off by those who are constantly trying to be someone they are not. We are most comfortable around others who are comfortable in their own skin. So just be yourself. Even though you aren't perfect, the way you handle your strengths and faults with humility and confidence will give other people permission to be real and relaxed with you, as well. Real friends are relaxed around each other.

2. Be honest. Keep your promises and do what you say you're going to do. Be reliable. Nobody wants to be friends with someone who lies. And lies always have a way of coming to the light. Also, friends will say the truth to one another, even when it's hard. The wisest man in the Bible, King Solomon, said: Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 

Shannon got caught up in an eating disorder until her friend called her out: I was addicted to being skinny and looking absolutely perfect. I never really understood what I was actually doing to myself until a good friend of mine talked to me about it.

3. Take an interest in the details of your friend's life by being a good listener. Don't watch television or text while your friend is sharing something with you. Most times people need more than good advice, they need someone to listen to them as they talk through their feelings. Ask them what's going on in their life and how they feel.

Mari commented: Kyler is my best friend because he listens. No matter what is going on he is genuinely interested in how I am. He always has my back and would drop everything if I needed him.

4. Make time for your friend. Time is one of the greatest gifts we possess. When we share extra time with a friend, we are giving back to them that gift. No friendship can develop overnight. It takes time. A real friend will take that time.

5. Keep their secrets. Prove yourself to be a trustworthy person who will guard their secrets with your life. A good way to prove you are trustworthy is to be free to share some of your own secrets with your friend. King Solomon also said:  Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. Are you willing to be a friend like that?

6. Encourage your friend. Everyone needs encouragement. Find specific ways to encourage your friend. Even in the depths of their struggles, show them what you see to be special about them and be willing to pick them up when they are depressed or feel like life is pressing in on them from all sides.

7. Be loyal to your friend. This is unconditional acceptance, even when your friend makes a mistake or really screws up. Be there when they are experiencing their highest highs and their lowest lows. Laugh with them, cry with them, don't just talk about always being there. Prove it in your everyday life! Delaney wrote to me and said: I have great friends who are always there for me and always know how to make me happy.

8. Be willing to work through conflict. Every relationship will hit a speed bump at one time or another. Show your friend you are willing to work through the difficult times of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Sometimes friendships grow stronger through the difficult times. Don't give up on your friend just because you are having difficulties.

9. Watch out for your friend. When you see your friend getting into a dangerous situation whether it's with drugs or alcohol, or maybe even a destructive relationship, be bold enough to step in and protect your friend from the harm you see coming their way. Narda commented: My best friend is more than a best friend, she's more like a sister. And she feels that same way. We both have each other back, now and forever.

It takes a lot of work and commitment to be a great friend. But it is worth it. Keep in mind there are people all around you who are looking for friends. So, continue developing good friends and your life will be far better for it.

Making friends can be a very difficult task for some. Are you having a hard time making friends? Here are 4 steps to help you make friends. 

Read More
How to Soften Your Heart to God

Ways to Soften Your Heart to God

Thinking About God in a New Way

Life can do a number on our faith. Sometimes, life is so painful and difficult, or we are so caught up in unfulfilling relationships and harmful behaviors, that we turn away from our faith in God. 

There are other times when someone else who believes in God hurts us. That feeling of being betrayed by someone who is supposed to live by their faith and love others can make it all the more difficult to turn back to God.

But it is possible for God to soften your heart. You can change from the inside out and have a relationship with God that is fulfilling and will bring you unspeakable joy. 

What does the Bible say about a hard heart?

To understand how to “soften” your heart, you need to know what a “hard heart” is. "Hard heart" is a term used in the Bible and pop culture to describe a person who is stuck in a place of insensitivity or resistance to the love of God and others—think Ebenezer Scrooge. No matter what anyone says or does to help or guide you, your hard heart refuses to listen… you’re emotionally stubborn, either by choice or because life has hurt you over and over.

When the Bible talks about the concept of a hard heart, there’s usually an emphasis on the need for openness, humility, and receptiveness to God's love. In Ezekiel 36:26, God promises to "give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." A heart made of stone wouldn’t be hurt easily, but it also wouldn’t be very good at pumping blood, which keeps us alive. You need your heart (your feelings) to experience life to the fullest, but that can be risky.

Jesus had a profound understanding of the pain we might suffer as humans, which is why he took a compassionate approach to those who hardened their hearts. In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus extends an invitation, saying, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." He knew that our hearts weren’t hardened for fun. Our hearts are hardened to protect us from a scary world, so his invitation is to rest, let go of everything we’re afraid of or resisting, and trust that if we let his love in, it will be worth it.

To soften your heart to God, you have to be willing to surrender the idea that you can keep it all together by yourself, admit that you need help, and accept the transformation that can happen when you let divine love into your life. It's an ongoing process—some days your heart may feel harder than others, and that’s okay. Embrace the compassion of Jesus, who understands our challenges without judgment, and be patient with yourself as you learn how to open yourself to all the spiritual and emotional experiences on your path.

Everyone’s journey is different, but if you are open to considering what a relationship with God might look like for you, I believe God is working in your life right now, to soften your heart towards Him. Here are some important things to think about on this journey: 

1. Start with Prayer and Ask God for a Softer Heart

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

Here’s the best part about softening our hearts toward God, we don’t have to do it on our own. God actually gives us a softened heart when we turn to him in search of healing from our hardened heart. Having a softened heart is like having a whole new heart that is more refreshed, more willing to love God and others, and more open to trusting Him.

If you’re struggling to put things into words, here’s a prayer you can say to ask God for a softer heart:

Heavenly Father,

I know you have the power to soften anyone’s heart. I want to have a softer heart toward you and others. Please give me a new heart that accepts your love and forgiveness and extends it to myself and others.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

God is so rich in forgiveness and love that He will start softening your heart as soon as you ask Him in faith. Whether you are a new believer who is struggling to stay strong, or someone who has been turned away from faith for a long time, God is ready to draw near to you and soften your heart with his mercy and love.

2. A Relationship with God Softens Your Heart

Think about having a relationship with God like a relationship with a friend. When we go through difficult times with our friends, our hearts might feel colder towards them. However, as we think through how important this person is to us, we realize we want to restore that relationship, and we allow our hearts to soften to that possibility. We make room to reach out to our loved ones, and to build a greater sense of trust in them. 

There’s no doubt this kind of work in a relationship with a friend is very worthwhile. How much more with God, who created us out of deep love for us, and gave our lives a unique purpose

Thinking about God as someone you have a relationship with, rather than a concept you have to understand, is a great first step toward opening the door for a stronger, richer faith in Him.

3. Understand Why Your Heart has Hardened 

As with any difficulties we are trying to work through, it helps to understand how we got to where we are. 

  • Can you think of any times when you decided to turn away from God and toward a less fulfilling, harmful choice (like a toxic relationship, or an addictive behavior)?
  • Did a traumatic event or painful loss cause you to lose faith in God?
  • Did another believer hurt you or betray your trust?
  • Did you decide you could figure things out on your own?

Being honest about what harms our relationship with God and hardens our hearts is difficult, but it’s an important step toward changing our hearts and minds and turning them back toward God.

4. See the Harm of Hardening Your Heart

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:18 

It is a serious thing when we allow our hearts to grow cold and harden toward God. Not only does it add to our spiritual and emotional pain, but it alienates us from the deep joy and peace we would otherwise have if we were more open toward God and more honest about our need for him. Hardening our hearts can:

  • Make it harder for us to see the good things God gives us every day,
  • Make it more difficult for us to see the good in others, or to love and forgive them.
  • Lead us into darker, more desperate feelings that can further harm our minds and hearts.

5. Ask for Forgiveness for a Hardened Heart

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Proverbs 28:13-14

Being truthful with ourselves about the ways hardening our heart toward God has hurt us and our relationships allows us to find a way forward. We know where we went wrong, and we can ask for forgiveness from God for the choices we’ve made that have hardened our hearts. You can ask for God’s forgiveness in prayer. Here’s an example of a prayer you can pray:

Heavenly Father,

I know I have made choices that have hardened my heart toward you. I’m sorry to have hurt you, hurt myself, and hurt my relationships with others. Please forgive me as I seek to change my heart and soften it toward you.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

6. Understand What a Softened Heart Is 

Cast away from yourselves all the transgressions you have committed, and fashion for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31

Once we know the harm of hardening our hearts and are ready to make a change for the better, it’s helpful to understand what it means to have a softened heart.

The desire to soften our heart comes from our innermost being, that place deep within us that longs to be in a relationship with God. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that causes us to listen for God’s guidance, to love and obey God, and to turn away from whatever harms the joy and peace of a relationship with Him. 

Softening our heart will also change our actions. Since we are more open to God and His love, and since we no longer want the pain of a hardened heart, we will make an effort to “cast away” the harmful thoughts and actions that hardened our hearts, so we can start each new day with a heart that is open to loving God and others.

If you need extra encouragement, there is no shame in reaching out for mentoring and support on your faith journey. We all need each other to stay strong in our faith. Talk to a Hope Coach today about your struggles with faith, and how you can keep your heart soft toward God. We are here to listen to you, pray for you, and support you along the way.

Read More
Why Lust Is Destructive

Everyone who is currently dating needs to ask the question: Am I in love, or am I in lust? Whatever you do, don't mess up on this question or you will walk into a world of hurt.

What to Know About Lust

Reasons Lust Is Destructive

Lust means over-desire. It is when you take something good, twist it, and add cravings to it so you are consumed until you are gratified. When we speak of lust as it relates to relationships with the opposite sex, it can be defined this way: when a person's body is far more important to you than his or her soul.

Love is the foundation on which our families and society are based. Lust is just a physical emotion we act upon when we get caught up in the moment. However, most of us fall in love with someone we find physically attractive. Because of this, hurt and confusion can easily be caused when you or your partner confuse love and lust with each other. Lust is an intense sexual desire or appetite that is based on self-gratification and has little to do with true feelings for the other person. As someone once said, "Lust is as different from love as night is from the day." That's because love is an act of the will, covered with a deeply passionate and tender affection for another person. Lust wants to get, love longs to give.

It's easy to think, "So what's the problem with lust?" After all, it is all around us, in songs, movies, advertisements, etc. Lust sells because it appeals to the dark side of us that only wants to get.

Here Are Two Serious Problems With Relationships Built on Lust:

1.  It Is Based on Extreme Self-Indulgence, Not Caring About the Other Person. Someone once said, "Hate is the opposite of love." That is true, but so is self-indulgence. Love can hardly wait to give. Lust can hardly wait to get. Lust turns people into liars, deceivers, and manipulators. Their actions towards others are based on the craving to get. Just as a junkie will do about anything to get his fix, someone steeped in lust will do about anything to be self-gratified.

I received an incredible, insightful comment from Sarah. She said, "I dated guy after guy who would only tell me that they loved me when we were being physical. That was when they loved me. The rest of the time I was an object of abuse and rejection." Sarah was wrong in one sense. She said, "They loved me when we were being physical." She should have said, "They loved themselves when we were being physical and I was the object of their gratification." Lust is always ugly because it is self-indulgent and self-centeredness is never a pretty thing.

2. It Abandons the Other Person When It Is No Longer Getting What It Wants. I can't tell you how many times girls have called me on my show to announce they were pregnant, their boyfriend is long gone, and they are left all alone. I call it sex-and-run. I hate hit-and-run accidents because the person who is running is showing zero responsibility towards the person they hit. Lust that causes sex-and-run is even worse. As soon as lust no longer gets what it wants and is forced to face responsibility, it runs...leaving heartbreak in its path. Sex and run is an ugly thing full of selfishness and irresponsibility.

Samantha said, "I have been in this situation a couple of times. I went out with a guy for a year and a half which ended up being a waste of time. I thought I loved him, but I just loved being with someone because I was afraid of being alone. He only wanted me for my body—that was all. I didn't give it to him, so he cheated on me for a long time." It's amazing to me how quickly people in lust scatter when they figure out that their lust will not be gratified.

Aimee Rose sent me a cool comment I had never thought of before. She said something like this: "I've heard you can never fall out of 'love', but you can always fall out of lust." You're right on the money, Aimee Rose. Lust will die in an instant if it is not being fed. In fact, lust can turn to anger when it is rejected.

Lisa M. said, "About 6 months ago, I was with this guy, and I thought it was love. I mean, he said all the right things and did all the right things. I thought I was in love, but it turned out that the relationship was nowhere near love. We had a lot of fights and arguments about sex because he was ready and I wasn't. Well, he didn't get what he wanted, so he got up and left. For a long time, I was dazed and confused, but finally, I got to thinking that if that was love, then he wouldn't have cared about sleeping with me; he would have just gotten pleasure from being around me."

Lust attacks not only guys, but females as well.  So always keep your eyes open for it so you can do all you can to protect yourself from this destructive monster. You deserve so much better. You are worth so much more. Remember, lust kills, but love brings life.

Does Lust Cause Cheating?

Lust, in its essence, is an intense desire or craving, often rooted in physical attraction. While it's a natural human emotion, its impact on relationships can become destructive if you let it get out of control. The link between lust and cheating is not a direct cause-and-effect relationship. There are a lot of factors that go into someone’s decision to cheat on their partner, but it’s true that lust can be, and often is, one of those factors.

The feeling of lust is fun. You get caught up in anticipating some form of physical intimacy, so much so that just thinking about someone can flood your brain with feel-good chemicals that can make it hard to make good choices. That’s when you’re in dangerous territory—your brain starts caring more about getting to the source of those delicious brain chemicals than it does about your values, and if you don’t step in to put a stop to it…. Lust can convince you that whatever it wants will be worth the fallout.

The influence of lust on cheating can manifest in various ways:

  • Emotional Disconnect
  • Excessive focus on lust or physical desire may lead you to feel emotionally distant from your partner. You’ve traded the rush you get from lust for the true intimacy you could be developing with them. That creates a void that lust might convince you to fill outside of your relationship.
  • Impulse Control
  • Lust can lead to impulsive decision-making, where the immediate satisfaction of your desires overshadows your consideration of long-term consequences.
  • External Temptations
  • Your environment can have a significant impact on how you manage lust or desire. If you’re surrounded by friends who talk about their amazing sex lives, play games or watch shows where the characters have frequent or graphic sex, or have a friend who’s been cheating on their partner…. All of that information goes into your brain. Some of that input may trigger lust for you or make you feel like cheating is normal or okay. Learn how to recognize when something like that comes up so that you can navigate your feelings instead of being ruled by them.
  • Communication Breakdown
  • If you’re not talking to your partner about what you both want out of your relationship, that’s a recipe for unmet needs. When there are misunderstandings or mismatched desires for intimacy, lust can creep in and convince you that you’re missing out when all you really need to do is talk. Instead of building a wall between you and your partner and looking for what you want by cheating, try communication.

Ultimately, the decision to cheat is nobody’s fault but yours. Sure, lust may have played a factor, but lust isn’t the boss of you. You’re responsible for your actions. That said, understanding how lust can tempt you to cheat is an essential step toward being an emotionally healthy partner.

We all want that long-lasting meaningful relationship, but we tend to rush into things. Read my blog to find out how to find that relationship.

Read More
8 Different Types of Lies People Tell

No one would deny that lying is a bad habit. Yet many people are clueless as to how big of a problem it is. Sadly, lying can become an unconscious and destructive habit. Let's talk about the different kinds of lies and see if you recognize them.

What to Know About Lying

Types of Lies

Understanding the different types of lies can go a long way in recognizing the issues that the liar is going through - whether it be you or a friend.

1. White Lies

A white lie is often called the least serious of all lies. People tell white lies claiming to be tactful or polite. For example, it could be making up an excuse for not going to a party, or showing appreciation for an undesirable gift. But telling white lies after a while can cause conflict with others because over time they understand the insincerity. That is why white liars can lose their credibility.

Patterns of white lies made over time can create distance between you and others, and destroy your credibility.

Brandon admitted, "Sometimes I say I have plans to do something when I don't, just to get out of having to tell someone I don't want to go with them. It seems like the better option, than saying I don't like you." There are other ways Brandon could turn down somebody's offer than telling a white lie.

Shariah said, "I only lie when I tell people I am doing good when I am sad or depressed. I tell them that because I don't want people knowing about what I go through and how my personal life is." By telling this white lie she is showing disrespect for the person who asked a relationship-building question and is putting up a roadblock to a deeper relationship.

2. Broken Promises

Broken promises are a failure to keep one's spoken commitment or promise. Broken promises can be especially damaging when the person who made the promise had no intention whatsoever of keeping their word to begin with. Adam said, "I told a girl I know that I'd go with her to the game even though I knew I wouldn't be able to go. I wasn't trying to hurt her, but I didn't know what else to do."

What Adam doesn't understand is that lying to the girl and breaking the promise does double damage, causing hurt feelings that could have been avoided. By breaking his promise he did great damage to her hope. She no doubt was all excited about going to the game with him, only to have her hopes dashed. Broken promises can lead to broken lives.

3. The Lie of Fabrication

Fabrication is telling others something you don't know for sure is true. Fabrications are extremely hurtful because they lead to rumors that can damage someone else's reputation. Spreading rumors is not only a lie but is also stealing another's reputation. Paul wrote, "I admit that I love spreading rumors. It's all about telling lies about someone you don't like. It usually works."

4. The Bold-Faced Lie

A bold-faced lie is telling something that everyone knows is a lie. It's simple and sometimes cute for a little child to tell a bold-faced lie about not eating any cookies, even though there's chocolate all over his or her face.

As we get older, we try to be more clever with our cover-ups. Some people never grow up and deal with their bold-faced lying even though others know what they're saying is completely false. When people hear a bold-faced lie they are resentful that the liar would be so belittling of their time and intelligence.

Sara said, "I hate lying. Especially when I know everybody knows I'm lying. I feel so dumb." Sara isn't the only one who feels dumb. The people she lies to could also feel the same way.

5. The Lying in Exaggeration

Exaggeration is enhancing a truth by adding lies to it. The person who exaggerates usually mixes truths and untruths to make themselves look impressive to others. An exaggerator can weave truth and lies together causing confusion even to the liar. After awhile the exaggerator begins to believe his or her exaggeration.

Amber confessed she thinks exaggeration actually helped her. "I'm not good at really anything, so I lie about stupid things so that I sound like there is more to me." An exaggerator is a tragic person because he or she feels so little about themselves that they have to make up stories to look good to others.

6. Lies of Deception

A deceiver tries to create an impression that causes others to be misled, by not telling all the facts, or creating a false impression. Jon admitted he was a deceiver, "Sometimes I don't like being seen as smart, so I'll joke around about how smart I am just to try and get people to think that I'm not that smart. It works sometimes. It doesn't feel like lying, I guess I'm just pretending to be something I'm not." Causing deception is a powerful and hurtful tool. It can be very subtle yet deadly.

7. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is both stealing and lying. It consists of copying someone else's work and calling it your own. Plagiarism is a very serious act. Some college and graduate students have even been kicked out of school because of it.

Scott asked a question and admitted his plagiarizing. "Is it lying to copy something from the internet and call it your own? I do this sometimes when working on a paper for school and I run out of time." Scott seems to be confused about his plagiarizing. Yes, Scott, it is lying. Just because it is easy to do does not make it right.

8. Compulsive Lying

Compulsive lying is often caused by low self-esteem and a need for attention; in fact, the compulsive liar finds it all but impossible to stop. A compulsive liar tells their mistruths even when telling the truth would be easier and better. Bree said, "This guy I grew up with tells lies like its no tomorrow. What I don't get is that I actually think he believes every word of the lie is true. I think it's ridiculous." It is more than ridiculous, it is a tragedy.

Have you ever told anyone of these lies? Do you ever wonder if you can get away with lying? The answer is not really. You may be able to lie for a while, but in the end it will come back to haunt you. What starts as a simple white lie over time can turn into a life-destroying habit. It's important to know there is freedom in living and telling the truth. It may be difficult at first, but as Jesus said, The truth shall set you free.

 How to Tell When Someone Is Lying?

Knowing about all these different kinds of lies is great, but what good will it do if we don’t know we’re being lied to? Finding out that you’ve been deceived is a crushing feeling, most of the time… perhaps the most acceptable lie in the entire world is the one you were told so that you’d show up at your own surprise birthday party… if you like surprises, that’s when being deceived might not be the worst feeling. But most of the time, realizing you were lied to makes you feel violated, embarrassed, and sometimes angry. How can we catch liars in action?

  • Inconsistent Stories 
  • Liars often struggle to keep their stories straight. Have there been contradictions in their explanations?
  • Body Language 
  • Non-verbal cues can be telling. Look for signs like avoiding eye contact, fidgeting, or unusual gestures. These can be a sign that someone is uncomfortable or nervous, both associated with deceit.
  • Changes in Vocal Pitch 
  • A noticeable change in someone's voice, such as sudden high-pitched tones or stammering, suggests anxiety, which could be linked to dishonesty.
  • Overemphasis and Defensiveness
  • Liars may overemphasize their statements or become defensive when questioned. Excessive details or a defensive tone can be red flags. Watch for defensive language, such as excessive use of "I swear" or "to be honest," as it could be a ploy to convince you of their sincerity.
  • Inappropriate Smiling or Laughing
  • A liar might smile or laugh at odd moments. It could mean they’re trying to diffuse tension or mask their discomfort.
  • Avoidance of Direct Answers
  • Liars often avoid giving direct answers to straightforward questions. If you ask a follow-up question, do they give you a vague answer? Deflect attention to something else? Change the subject entirely?
  • Baseline Behavior
  • This one might only be helpful if you know the person well and understand their usual behavior in everyday situations. If they seem to be acting differently than normally, that may indicate they are not being truthful.
  • Changes in Blinking Patterns
  • Increased blinking or a sudden lack of blinking can be associated with anxiety, which could be because they’re trying to deceive you.

It's important to note that these indicators are not foolproof, and context matters. People may exhibit these behaviors just because they’re confused, anxious, flustered, feeling sick, or in a hurry. Being aware of these signs, however, can alert you to when you should lean in and ask more questions—you’ll either build more trust with someone by noticing when something’s off and offering support, or you’ll learn more about whether someone’s unworthy of your trust.

Are you feeling like you may have a problem with lying and want to get control? Here are 8 practical steps on - How To Stop Lying.

Read More
Is Your BF Pressuring You to Have Sex? Steps to Take

How to Handle Being Pressured for Sex

What to Say When Someone Is Pressuring You

When someone is pressuring you to move faster or further in a relationship than you want to, you do not have to give in to that pressure. Hopefully, having a clear, honest conversation with your partner will establish boundaries you are comfortable with. For example, you can say something like "I'm not ready to have sex yet. I'm only comfortable hugging, kissing goodnight, and holding hands." If you are waiting until marriage to have sex, let your partner know. A loving response is kind, respectful of your boundaries, and willing to do only what you feel comfortable with when it comes to physical intimacy.

The reason it's so important to be clear about physical boundaries is that not doing so can lead to sexual harassment or assault. Sexual assault happens when someone touches you sexually, or has sex with you, after you have said no. If you did not give consent when your partner had sex with you, or you were unable to consent to intimate touching when it happened, there is support available to understand sexual assault and how to heal from it. If you do feel safe talking about boundaries with your partner, but are unsure how to do it, a counselor or mentor can help you find the right words. 

Feeling Pressured to Have Sex in a Dating Relationship Is Common, But Not Acceptable.

In a recent survey, 61% of all teenage girls say they are being pressured to have sex with their boyfriends. Guys are also pressured to have sex with their girlfriends.

Listen to this call I had with Justin. Justin’s friend asked him for advice. His friend wants to stop having sex with his girlfriend, because it goes against his religious beliefs. But his girlfriend disagrees with him.

Love never demands someone to do something that would violate another.

Many of those who are pressured into having sex give in to it mostly because of the overwhelming fear of losing the person they care about, if they don't agree to have sex. I find that very often people who end up having a sexual relationship are simply doing whatever they think needs to be done to hold on to their bf/gf. In the end, some bargain away their bodies in their attempt to keep the relationship going. But in the process, they lose their self-respect and gain the very real possibility of unwanted pregnancy, diseases, rape, bad reputation, and of course, a broken heart.

Becca has learned this the hard way, "I was recently violated by a guy who I thought was a really great guy, but then he started pressuring me and now I hate him for it. We aren't even talking anymore. If you're a guy and you read this, can you please take this seriously and please respect the girl that you like and please don't violate her! It can really make a big difference in anyone's life."

What Is Consent?

If your boyfriend is pressuring you to have sex, it’s time to talk to him about consent. What is consent? Consent is a fundamental aspect of any healthy and respectful relationship. When you consent to something, you’re essentially agreeing to it, but it goes beyond a simple, one-time “yes.” Consent should be an ongoing, enthusiastic, and voluntary agreement to participate in any form of intimacy.

If you don’t want to have sex, but you say “yes” because your boyfriend has repeatedly pressured you, that’s not true consent because it wasn’t voluntary or enthusiastic. If you thought you wanted to have sex, but you changed your mind, your consent is no longer ongoing—that “yes” became a “no,” and your partner should respect that at all times.

It may be a terrifying concept to sit your partner down and discuss boundaries, but if you’re feeling pressured, it’s imperative that you communicate. Tell them how you’re feeling. Tell them what is and isn’t acceptable for you right now. For example, “We can kiss and hold hands, but I’m not ready for more than that,” or “We can make out, but I want your hands to stay on top of my clothes, never under them.”

Without a very clearly communicated boundary, it may be that the pressure you’re feeling from your partner is a misunderstanding about where your line is—they may be happy to respect what you ask for once they have more information! If your partner argues with you or pushes back on the boundaries you set, that’s a major red flag you can’t ignore. They don’t respect your right to have ongoing, enthusiastic, and voluntary consent when it comes to your own body. Are you sure you want to be in an intimate relationship with that person?

And remember, consent goes both ways. If you have the unequivocal right to issue and withdraw consent at any time, so does your partner. Even if you and your partner have had sex before, you have no right to assume that means they want to again, nor do you have a right to express frustration or push back in any way when they tell you “no.” For a healthy relationship to work, there has to be trust. Trust can’t exist when one or both partners feel like they’ll be manipulated into changing their minds or punished when they communicate a clear boundary.

Talk to your partner about consent today, and ask someone for help if you feel your boundaries are being violated.

What Can You Do if You're Feeling Pressured to Have Sex?

If you are being pressured to have sex, realize this is a huge red flag. Below are four thoughtful responses to the pressure - both to realize for yourself and to explain to your boyfriend or girlfriend.

1. Know where you stand in your convictions.

Most people with strong values have a clear understanding of what they believe and are far less susceptible to giving in to things they don't want to do.

Do you want to be a person who waits until they are married to have sex? It's important to define for yourself why this is important to you.

Are you aware of the power sex has to arouse deep emotions? Are you willing and able to bear the responsibility of a child?
Without strong convictions, the person you date could push their value system (or lack of!) onto you. Before you start talking to a guy or girl, make sure you know what you believe and why. This will be extremely helpful when you're being pressured.

Juli wrote: "It is easy to give in and say 'yes' but we have to prepare ahead of time so we can say 'no.' If you just wait until the moment, you easily cave in. My boyfriend pressured me so much and I gave in. I wish I hadn't, and I won't again."

2. Talk about your decision to save sex for marriage.

Explain your desire to wait to have sex with your bf/gf.  Tell them that it has nothing to do with a lack of feelings or your level of commitment. You like your boyfriend or girlfriend so much that you don't want to ruin a great relationship by having sex. This conversation takes a lot of courage because your pressuring partner may refuse to understand what you are saying. They may take it personally or get mad and walk away. Nonetheless, the person who can talk things out is far happier than those who keep things deeply hidden.

Madison said, "My boyfriend keeps trying to get me to do stuff with him, such as kiss him or have sex. I made a promise to God, my mom, and my family that I wouldn't do anything with a guy until I got married. My boyfriend always thinks that the reason I don't want to do things with him is because I don't like him, which is so far from the truth."

If your boyfriend is really "a keeper," he will understand and respect your decision.

3. While waiting, learn what real love is.

The term "love" is one of the most misunderstood and abused words in the dictionary. Sometimes, when a guy says to a girl, "I love you," he is saying, "I don't love you; I love me and what sexual favors you do for me." Love never demands someone to do something that would violate another. Love does not trash someone else's deeply held values.
God is the creator of love and here is how he describes it:

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut,
doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” and doesn’t fly off the handle. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)

In other words, love is patient and is willing to wait for the right time and the right person. Love always looks after the other person first. Love is never selfish. When a guy loves a girl, he will do everything he can to protect her.

God also created sex as an expression of love between a man and a woman. Sex is a beautiful gift from God when used in the right way.

Mandy wrote: "[When I have sex,] I feel loved and wanted, that's why I give in. Hoping that something will come out of it and it never does. If I can feel wanted, even if it's in a sexual way, I like it, but yet on the other hand, I don't." For the relatively few brief moments she is having sex, Mandy somehow feels loved. But after it's over and she is alone again, those empty words leave her unfulfilled and searching for more. Mandy is confused about what love is.

Someone once said, "Love can always wait to give. Lust can't wait to get."

A lot of guys will say they love their girlfriend and think that if she loved him, she would have sex with him. Either he doesn't know what love is, or he's lying about loving her. It's easy to believe a lie when you want to. It is not easy to face the consequences of believing that lie.

4. Know when to move on.

If the pressure for sex does not let up, get rid of him or her. If you are being pressured to have sex, realize this is a huge red flag that something isn't right in your relationship. It is far better for you to lose your relationship than to do something you will later regret.

Alli wrote, "Three days into the "relationship" he started hinting that he wanted to make out with me. Then 6 days into the "relationship" we made out and then he started talking about sex. He tried to pressure me into it. He kept trying to do stuff, and I told him to stop. I didn't give in, but I ended up breaking up with him the next day." Allie is smart. She knows that if your boyfriend is really "a keeper," he will understand and respect your decision. Remember, most pressured relationships are not love, but rather, they are just uncovered needs, fantasy, confusion, and selfishness.

Heather wrote, "[My boyfriend] knew I was insecure and vulnerable. I think that's why he pressured me so much. He made it sound as if it was my obligation."

Some people won't go into a relationship unless they know they will be able to have sex. Be prepared to be rejected. Just remember you won't die, and in the end, the respect you will have for yourself, and the pain avoided, will be well worth it.

The Bottom Line - It's Your Body

You don't ever have to do anything with your body you don't want to do. Sex is not an indicator of love, or even of your level of commitment in a relationship. Sex is not an obligation. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. May God give you a boyfriend or girlfriend who deeply respects you.

Is your relationship healthy? Many do not realize they are in an unhealthy relationship. Ask yourself these questions to find out.

Read More
What Christmas Means to Me

What Is the Real Meaning of Christmas?

After All Is Said and Done, It’s Still Jesus

Christmas can be crazy and chaotic, but it is also a beautiful and meaningful time of year. I like listening to classic carols, and looking at lights and elaborate decorations, and I also love spending time together with family and friends.

I remember making wish lists as a kid by going through the big Sears toy catalog and picking out what looked the most awesome to me. When gifts would be set out under the tree, I would shake the wrapped presents, furiously trying to determine what was in there for me. I didn't always get what I wanted, even though I admit I got more than I really needed.

The Christmas Story

Something Special with You in Mind

Christmas can be so meaningful if you know that someone who loves you, is planning something special, specifically with you in mind. My parents did that for me while I was growing up. And now I get to do this for my children. And I believe God is doing this for each of us every day!

Why is Jesus the Gift of Christmas?

I recently saw a bumper sticker. It said, Jesus is the reason for the season. Not too long ago, I received a Christmas card that showed a picture of a young boy with unwrapped gifts all around him - almost overwhelmed with all the presents. The caption on the inside of the card said, After all is said and done, it's still Jesus. I am a Christian, and that's why I find Jesus at the very core of Christmas.

God's Amazing Gift to You and Me

God came to this earth in such an incredibly humble way in the form of a baby born in a barn stall. The Christ child is God's amazing gift to you and me. That's why Christians celebrate Christmas. God has prepared something great for each of us, and the way to that life is through Jesus!

As you begin to see Jesus as God's gift to you, then all the other gifts God has for you will be given.

The Quiet Moments

Several years ago, I took my family to the Smokey Mountains over the Christmas holidays. We rented a cabin and just hung out. One afternoon, we went for a ride deep into the mountains. We listened to beautiful Christmas carols and looked at the quiet beauty around us. I will never forget that time. There were no tinsel and bright lights—just the simplicity of a family thinking about Jesus' birth and enjoying God's creation. My hope for all of us is that we will have those quiet moments this holiday season when we realize what is truly important. Jesus truly is the reason for the season.

Read More
Angry or Mad at God? Here's What To Do

Are You Mad At God?

I've got to believe at some point in your life, you've raised your fist and shouted out in anger at God. Most of us have done it.

Maybe your parent died, or you had a friend get seriously sick, or even killed. Maybe you have cancer, or some kind of handicap. These and other serious issues enter our lives, making it easy to target God for our pain.

Someone described anger this way: Anger is a human emotional response to situations that are either out of our control or out of our ability to understand, or both.

How to Handle Being Angry at God

What does Jesus say about anger?

Jesus talks about anger several times in the New Testament of the Bible. Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Anger and the Heart
    • In the book of Matthew, Jesus warns against harboring anger and hatred in one's heart, suggesting that letting it fester can have a pretty destructive effect. You can find that in Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV): "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment."
  • Reconciliation and Forgiveness
    • In the same passage Matthew, Jesus encourages us to resolve conflicts and reconcile with others quickly. He suggests that it's better to “leave your gift at the altar,” meaning you should pause what you’re doing and make sure things are set right between you and the person you’re in conflict with instead of letting it grow in your heart. (Matthew 5:23-24)
  • Turn the Other Cheek
    • In Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus teaches the principle of turning the other cheek when someone wrongs you. He encourages his followers not to respond to aggression with aggression, but rather to respond with love and patience. It’s important to note that “turning the other cheek” is not meant to allow someone who has hurt you to get away with it and do it again. But if you’re in a situation where you can extend grace and relieve yourself from the anger you feel, consider forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness
    • In the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus instructs his disciples to ask for forgiveness from God as they also forgive those who trespass against them. You can check out our resources on forgiveness if you want to know more. Forgiveness is a powerful act and a complicated subject, so it’s important to explore further if you are angry with someone or if you’d like to seek forgiveness from someone else.
  • Be Peacemakers
    • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus blesses the peacemakers, stating that they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9). To Jesus, fostering peace and resolving conflicts should be a priority.
  • Admonishing a Brother
    • In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus talks about how to address conflict within a community. He suggests first going to the person privately if they've done something to hurt you against you, or if you’ve wronged them. Give them a chance to settle things with you personally. If someone is unwilling to take accountability for their wrong, it might be useful to involve others in seeking reconciliation–asking a friend to talk to someone on your behalf, for example, or going to HR if your boss or coworker isn’t willing to make something right at work.

Jesus teaches the importance of managing anger, addressing it promptly, and striving for reconciliation and forgiveness. He always advocates for a mindset of love, patience, and humility when dealing with conflict. While anger is a natural human emotion, the way it is handled and processed plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy relationships and spiritual well-being. So it’s absolutely 100% okay to be angry… even Jesus felt angry sometimes! Check out Matthew 21 and Mark 11 for proof. Just be intentional about how you act when you’re angry.

What are some of the reasons why we get mad at God?

Have you ever wondered why we get so angry at God? That's what I want to talk about, because I can assure you that while God allows us to cry out to Him, He doesn't want us stuck in rage towards Him.

The main reason we get so upset with God is that we think He owes us something. This usually happens in two ways:

1. We don't get something we want.

Have you ever really wanted a relationship with that perfect girl or guy? Or you really wanted that job you knew for certain would be perfect for you? When these things didn't work out, you no doubt found yourself hurt and disappointed. Our first impulse is almost always to blame God.

Daphne wrote: When we get mad at God it is really like a 2-year-old throwing a fit because Mommy or Daddy won't let them stick their finger in the light socket. The 2-year-old can only see what he/she wants, the parent sees the bigger picture, and the danger. When we are mad at God we show our immaturity, ignorance, and our shortsightedness.

2.  We get something we DON'T expect.

When something bad happens to someone we love, or to us, or someone gets really sick, or even dies we wonder why these things have to happen. We think of God as a big genie in the sky who should only give us good things and prevent the bad.

I received a comment from someone who said: Some people wonder why their lives end up being a certain way, and they blame God for it, because if God really cared for them, then He wouldn't let them suffer.

We think, "If God is so loving, why am I in so much pain? Is He punishing me for no reason by allowing horrible things to happen to me, or the people I love, or even the world?"

3. We think God owes us something.

Both of these situations can make a person feel like God doesn't care about us. After all the prayers we've prayed, God still didn't heal your brother's cancer, or get you the job you wanted.

Joe wrote: I have to admit that I am angry at God. The more I have prayed for help and guidance, the more I get nothing. He is ignoring me. It's His right to do with me what He will, but I am frustrated because I have done what I think I am supposed to do and yet no response, no help.

We get angry when we think God owes us something. When in fact, God owes us nothing.

A couple of other reasons:

  • We get angry with God when we don't know all the facts. It's so easy to think we know everything, but we can only see a very small part of the picture.
  • We get angry at God when we see others claim to know Him, and then act like hypocrites. It's easy to blame God for the faults of others.

These are just a few reasons why people get angry with God. Of course, there are many more.

 How to Get Over Being Mad at God - Know What You Can Expect From Him.

If we think God is going to be our genie in a bottle, and make everything good in our lives, we're going to be mad at God when something bad happens. Having faith in God is not insurance against hardships.

In the Bible, Jesus says- I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

So what can we expect from God?

  • His Peace - If we trust in Him and believe in Him we will have peace even in the hard times. Do you want to know how to find this peace? Begin Your Journey To Peace with this great resource from Peace With God
  • God Wins in the End - This world is full of sin, hate and death and that comes from the enemy, Satan, not from God. However, for all those who believe in Jesus, there is glorious, eternal life in heaven.
  • His Comfort - He promises to be near those who are hurting. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
  • His love - He promises His love for us. "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16) He loves your heart and is with you in the midst of whatever your circumstances.
  • Life with greater meaning and significance - If we got everything we thought we wanted, we'd be spoiled and selfish. God is a wise father who knows what we need to become the best men and women we can be.

What can you do when you are mad at God?

1. Tell him how you feel.

The best thing you can do is tell God what you're angry about. He wants to hear from you about what you're thinking and feeling. Tell God honestly where you are at. God knows what's going on inside of you, but He wants to you be able to come to Him with honesty and openness.

2. Place the blame for evil on Satan, not on God.

God is good and Holy and perfect and loving. He is the opposite of evil. You may be mad at God because he didn't prevent the bad from happening to you, but he is not to blame for the bad thing, Satan is.  Jesus says in the Bible "The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." (John 10:10)

3. Pray for courage, strength and peace to make it through the day.

Betsy wrote: I find it easiest to leave everything in God's hands and pray that he will care for me and do what's BEST for me, not what I want, but what is best. It's very hard, and I have trouble with that at times, but that is my overall goal.

4. Trust that God will use a hardship for something beyond what you can see.

So can God use everything we go through for a greater purpose? I believe He can. Ask God for understanding to see the bigger picture. Over time, you may see more clearly how God used your trial for good.

Jill wrote honestly: I feel like I have a daily tug of war with God. I know everything happens for a reason, but when you're lonely, broke, bored, and feel helpless, it is really hard to say, okay God, I know you're doing this for a reason.
Betsy echoed Jill's thoughts: After many trials, I learned that it is best to accept what God has done and believe that it is for my good, whether I like it or not.

Believing He does have a reason for everything we go through helps us to trust that something bigger is going on here, even more than we can probably understand. But I'm not God, He is. And I'm just going to trust that He knows what's going on with me.

5. Get involved in other people's lives.

A lot of our anger and frustration in life comes from thinking about ourselves too much - we think about the way things are and how different they are from how we wish they'd be.

Yevgenia wrote: One of the best things I have learned while going through this is God won't put you through something unless he knows you will be able to overcome it. Another way I have used these things in a positive way is by using my experiences to help others who are going through similar things in their lives.

The best way to find joy and peace from the hardships of life is to get involved in other people's lives. Take an interest in other people and their circumstances. Share in their joy and their pain.

6. Decide to have a relationship with God.

The Bible says the only way to know God is by knowing His son, Jesus. Jesus was basically God with skin-on and gave us a way to know who He is, His love, and how to be in a relationship with Him.

Lucas wrote: Sometimes only God will know why He has allowed a trial and sometimes He will reveal its purpose to us. Sometimes it's because He is preparing us for a greater thing. Sometimes it is to show us how little we truly love Him, and to allow us to change. Trials give us an opportunity to build our faith in a way nothing else can.

How have you dealt with your own personal anger toward God? I'd love to hear from you. Please let me know how you got over being upset with God.

It’s hard to have faith when life is hard, but God understands your pain. For more help read this blog: Life is Hard, God Understands

For more on reconciling the goodness of God and bad things in the world read these blogs from organizations we partner with:

Read More
How to Show Respect to a Man - 7 Tips

I've talked about how a guy can and should show respect to a girl. Now it's time to talk to girls about how to respect a guy.

If you are a guy, I know you want to be respected as well. I know that to be a fact, and it's not just because I am a guy. But I've talked to hundreds of guys who deeply desire for their girlfriend to show them admiration and high regard. Ladies, here are a few things you should know if you want to make sure the men you know are deeply aware of how much you love and respect them.

What to Know About Respecting a Partner

What attracts respect?

It’s a fair thing to wonder how to show respect. But when is that respect earned? How can you make sure that your actions are those of someone worthy of the respect you’d like to receive? Here are some key factors that tend to garner that respect:

  • Empathy and Kindness
    •  Think about the school bully, or that one guy at work who everyone hates… the way that they belittle others, make fun of their problems, and refuse to show the smallest kindness has not made them a person that you respect. Showing empathy and kindness towards others, being compassionate, and considering their feelings and needs demonstrates emotional intelligence. When people see that you genuinely care about others, it’ll be hard not to respect you.
  • Accountability
    • Have you ever messed up and then tried to cover it up or lie about it? Taking responsibility for your actions and admitting when you make a mistake is a sign of maturity and integrity. People respect those who don't shy away from accountability. We all make mistakes. We all fall short on our promises or hurt people from time to time. Being able to recognize that and make amends will set you apart as someone worthy of respect.
  • Open-mindedness
    • How does it feel when you have an idea, but that idea is immediately shut down by a teacher, a parent, or a coworker? Being open to having conversations, new ideas, diverse perspectives, and different cultures fosters respect. Those who embrace differences and actively seek to learn from others are able to make others feel respected, too
  • Humility
    • Humble individuals who don't boast or belittle others are typically respected. Do you respect that super braggy kid in your class who never lets you forget his GPA? There’s a difference between celebrating your successes and becoming arrogant. Acknowledging that no one is infallible, that everyone has room for improvement, and that every success is thanks to the hard work and help of many is an important way of both showing and earning respect.
  • Empowerment
    • How does it make you feel when your mom goes into your room while you're at school and cleans the whole thing without your permission? Does it make you feel respected? No! It makes you feel powerless, like she doesn’t trust you to do it yourself, thinks you’re incapable, or just doesn’t care about your privacy. Encouraging and empowering others to succeed and reach their potential can also earn respect. People tend to appreciate those who help them grow and develop, rather than put them down.
  • Respect for Others: Have you ever been embarrassed when your parent treated a waiter or barista like they were stupid or with impatience? Have you ever been that waiter or barista? Treating others with respect is the best way to receive it in return. Respecting people's positions, boundaries, cultures, and perspectives goes a long way in building a respectful environment.

Every human being deserves some level of respect at the end of the day, and it’s crucial that we remember that. That “respect for others” is perhaps one of the most important ways that Jesus taught by example. He spoke to, ate with, traveled with, became friends with, and loved people who were considered unclean, sinful, and worse… because he respected them. In His words, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12

So How Does a Girl Show A Guy Respect?

Here's our straightforward list:

1.  To respect a guy, don't play with his sexuality and drives.

To respect a guy, don't play with his sexuality and drives. Cause him to love and see you as a person, and not just as an object.

She doesn't use her body to manipulate him. If you only take one thing from this blog, get this one. Girls, you have an incredible power to control guys with your appearance, simply because guys are driven so intensely by what they see when they look at a girl and the beauty of her body. To respect a guy, don't play with his sexuality and drives. Cause him to love and see you as a person, and not just as an object. When you flirt with him you can easily appeal to his lust, rather than who he is as a person. Dressing modestly and refusing to be flirtatious, also shows your boyfriend you aren't trying to attract other guys.

2.  She asks his opinion.

Every person wants to be respected. Guys, in particular, crave to be looked at as a leader--someone whose ideas are important. Guys want to know you are interested in what they think. He feels respected when you care about how he thinks and feels. Then when you take the time to listen, it's even more powerful. He will feel deeply valued by you. Someone commented to me: If a girl asks a guy's opinion, if he answers honestly (and preferably tactfully) with an answer she didn't want, she needs to realize that he respected her enough not to lie to her, and she needs to respect his opinion, even if she doesn't agree with it, and not get angry with him because of it.

3.  Don't try to put words in his mouth.

If you try to put words into a guy's mouth, you'll only show him you think he doesn't know what to say.

She is patient with him when he has a difficult time expressing himself.Many guys have a hard time communicating, especially their thoughts and emotions.

There are going to be many times he wants you to know what he's feeling, but he is just going to need a little more time actually getting it out. Don't try to put words in his mouth, you'll only show him you think he doesn't know what to say. You can, however, repeat back to him what you heard him say, so you both are on the same page.

4.  She encourages and supports him.

Guys easily feel belittled by girls. When you cheer on your man, you are breathing life into his soul. Telling him you believe in him and support what he is attempting to achieve is a very powerful way to show your guy you respect him. When he feels that support from you, the confidence you are pouring into him will help him to feel invincible. Someone once said, Behind every great man, is a great woman. Some girls are so stuck on their own needs they can't seem to give encouragement and inspiration to the guys they know. So give a guy a gift he will never forget: the gift of encouragement.

5.  When you cheer on your man, you are breathing life into his soul.

She doesn't exhaust him with all the little details. It's easy to want to make sure your boyfriend gets all the details of your life. He is interested in you, but he gets worn out easily if you bog down your stories with all kinds of extra details. Try to make it easier for him to process all the information you want him to know.

6. She knows she doesn't own him.

She doesn't demand he be there for her 24 hours a day. Just because the two of you may be dating, doesn't put you in charge of his life.

When you let him have his own life, making his own decisions, spending time with his friends, it shows you respect him, and will make you more attractive to him.

Lindsey commented she knew her boyfriend's time was limited with his working full-time and going to school full-time. I never tried to demand lots of time from him. Instead, I would make him a meal and meet him between classes or on his lunch break at work. He really appreciated it, and I felt like I was respecting his schedule while still fitting in time to see him.

Showing respect to your boyfriend is the very best way you can show him that you love him.

7. She must respect herself.

There are many girls who are extremely insecure and are convinced they are not worth being loved or respected by others. So they end up sabotaging their relationships with guys because of their low self-esteem. They tend to be constantly asking their guy if they are still being loved by him. It's very difficult for a guy to respect a girl who doesn't respect herself or see herself as worthy to be loved.

Jonathan had some great thoughts I must include. A girl must also respect herself; if a guy desires to date her or even just be her friend, he must like something about her. By not liking herself, she is also saying that her friend's and/or boyfriend's opinions of her don't mean anything to her. If she returns compliments with contradictory remarks, she is not respecting the guy's opinion, or his attempt to respect her.

Girls, it's valuable to realize how important this topic is in your relationship with guys. Showing respect to your boyfriend is the very best way you can show him that you love him. But it's also true with all your relationships, including your relationship with yourself.  It is crucial to respect yourself and I've written a blog about that as well.

Read More
Falling In Love with Your Best Friend - What to Do?

What to Know About Falling in Love

What Causes Someone to Fall in Love?

"Falling in love" is what drives the romances we read about or watch in our favorite shows and movies. But what does it really mean to fall in love with someone? Falling in love happens when you have strong feelings of admiration and attraction to someone you care about. It is easy, when you are new to a relationship, or new to these feelings, to see the best about a person easily. You probably prioritize the time you spend together, and share lots of time, gifts, and affection with them. Falling in love is often a joy, and it can be part of what points you toward the person that's right for you. But it's important not to rely on strong feelings of attachment alone when making decisions about dating and marriage. You want to be sure, if you feel like you're falling in love with someone, that you share compatible beliefs about life, about priorities, and about spiritual things. You want to commit to someone only if they are respectful of you, your needs, and your boundaries. And if you feel "out of love", it may not be a sign of the end of your relationship. Depending on your reasons for falling out of love, you may be able to rekindle warm feelings by getting support and talking through your relationship. 

Friendships are one of life's greatest joys. Finding someone we can share our heart with -- someone who understands and accepts us just the way we are is priceless. When we can have a deep friendship with someone from the opposite sex, it is a tremendous gift. There is so much to learn and respect about both genders. But at times these opposite-sex friendships can also be a great challenge. One of the most exciting, but frightening, barriers a friendship faces is when one person falls in love with their best friend of the opposite sex. The feelings are can be intense, and the fear of revealing them can be paralyzing.

Is dating your best friend worth the risk?

You’ve probably heard the popular saying: “Marry your best friend.” Why then is it so darn stressful to figure out whether or not to date your best friend? On one hand, the prospect of a romantic relationship with someone you already share a deep bond with can seem like a dream come true. But… What if it doesn’t work out? It’s an idea with its fair share of risks and challenges that should be carefully considered.

Dating your best friend could mean that you’d be starting your romantic relationship ahead of the game, with a foundation of trust and understanding that already exists. You know each other's quirks, preferences, and values, which can lead to a pretty seamless transition from bestie to BF or GF. That kind of  familiarity can create a strong emotional connection, since you're not starting from scratch in getting to know each other.

What’s the catch? The fear of ruining a cherished friendship. You won’t just lose a partner if things go wrong, you might lose or irreparably damage the friendship. Two heartbreaks in one go.

Dating a friend could also change the dynamics in your social circle. It could be tons of fun for your friend group when you get together, but if you break up, mutual friends might feel awkward or forced to pick sides. Instead of losing one friend in the breakup, it’s possible that you could lose several, or that your friend group will never feel quite the same way.

All that said, there’s a difference between being cautious and wise about such a big decision, and letting your fear make your choices for you. Consider this question: what if it does work out? Does the potential of finding a deeper love with a person you already know and trust outweigh the potential for heartbreak? Will you be okay with your decision, years from now, if you let fear keep you from taking a chance on something that could be beautiful? Check out this reminder to be brave from Joshua 1:9.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

We’re not meant to let fear dictate our decisions. Dating your best friend can be worth the risk if your bond is strong and you’re both committed to making it work. The transition from friendship to romance requires careful consideration and open communication. Of course there are potential pitfalls, but the reward of finding love with someone who knows you deeply can be a beautiful and fulfilling experience.

The Gut-Wrenching Challenges to Secretly Loving Your Best Friend

Laura reveals the gut-wrenching challenges she's facing being secretly in love with her best guy friend: It's been really hard because sometimes it seems like he likes me and sometimes it seems very obvious that we're just friends. It's torn my heart up on several occasions. I'm currently trying to get over him, because it's just too hard to love him from a distance. I don't want to lose our friendship as we've been through a lot together in the years we've known each other, but I'd rather save my heart for someone who I know is going to give me his heart fully in return.

It's okay to have feelings of love because of the trust you share with your best friend, but that doesn't necessarily mean you are in love. But it does mean you have the ingredients to develop awesome love which could turn into a great marriage. Someone once said great friends make great lovers. The longer you're friends, the more stable your relationship is going to be.

A lot of good friends can do things that romantic partners cannot. Friends usually say what they need to say to each other without fear, and good friends are more likely to be spontaneous with their activities.

Two Warnings if  You Think You Are In Love With Your Best Friend

When you start to feel you desire more than just a casual friendship with your best friend and you're not sure what to do next, let me offer you some advice that could strengthen both your relationship and your love for each other.
First, don't rush into a romantic relationship with your best friend. Many times, people confuse love with that other kind of caring love you feel for all of your other friends.

Second, don't spill your guts right away. You might feel like you have to share all your thoughts and feelings with the other person as soon as you start to feel something. That's usually a mistake.

Javier agrees: This girl and I have known each other for nearly seven years and we have been close friends for about three. Eventually, we did start liking each other and we went out for a month and a few weeks. After that relationship ended, I didn't feel very hurt or sad. It was odd. I found myself being freer and I got to thinking: Don't rush into [a romantic] relationship with your best friend...many times people confuse love with that other kind of caring love you feel for all of your [other] friends.

Find another good friend you can trust—someone with whom you can verbalize your deep emotions about your best friend with whom you are in love. This other friend will help you continue to show the self-control of letting a good friendship grow into an even deeper friendship. Hold your emotions and get them out in a healthy way with another friend. Why chance ruining a good thing, at least for now?

Friendship IS the start of a Real Romance

On the other hand, after you've been a good friend with him/her for some time, you should be able to read their moods. You should be able to get some sense as to whether or not the friendship has developed into more of a romance for him/her, as well as yourself. If you see these signs, you might want to begin to talk about them with the good friend you so deeply love. After all, good friends should be able to talk about nearly anything.

I think Jane has a great perspective: The only time I would recommend someone reveal their feelings is if they are SURE it is mutual. A really honest friendship will often develop into love without any conscious effort. And if he doesn't love you, isn't having a REAL, HONEST, CARING guy friend better than a boyfriend who might leave you at any moment? Friends are people who you don't have to constantly worry about leaving you for no reason. And if he cares for you and stands up for you, he already loves you in a way already. 

First and foremost, good friends should know how much each person values the other. We make the mistake of demanding that many of our relationships be all or nothing romantically. Whether the person you are in love with ends up marrying you or not, you have had the joy of experiencing real love.

Real Love

Real love is rich, pure, and self-sacrificing. To experience that kind of love with anyone is a priceless gift.

This is how the Bible describes true love: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Isn't that awesome? This verse also describes how God loves YOU!  Trust God as He shows you whether your best friend will become your life's partner. You may want to pray to God for guidance in this relationship and even have others pray for you.

Still wondering if it's really love or friendship?  Read: How to Know if it's Really Love. 

Read More
1 2 3 44

Tired of The Problem?  Try the Solution.

Privacy Policy / Terms of Use
© 2024 TheHopeLine, Inc. Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 20-1198064
© 2021 Powered by OxyNinja Core