thelondondaydreamer asked: Hey Unka! I really like this guy at my church. I have a hard time getting into conversations with just him, so I can get to know him better. I have a hard starting a conversation with him and only him. Any advice?? Thanks!
Unka Glen answered: Well, it’s easy enough to come up with a reason to get his phone number (I’ll text you the link to that thing we were just talking about, oh do I have your number? You know I don’t think I do!). So from there you can do some texting, and while that’s something, it doesn’t really compare to real face-to-face conversation, does it?
In the end, if you want to be alone (and I think it’s a good idea to have some alone time to get to know one another), then why not invite him to meet you at a coffee shop or what have you? This can be as casual as “what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Oh I see, well they have the best ice cream over at this little place near me, let’s meet over there later this week, and I can show you what I mean.”
Either way, get your mind around one simple concept: if you want some romance in your life, you’re gonna have to fight for it. All kinds of problems and strange obstacles will arise, and you’ll have to fight through all those things to keep the relationship moving forward. And yes, hearts may be broken, but trust me, broken hearts can mend stronger than they were before.
God gives us the courage to act on the doors He opens, but sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes you choose to do your part, and the other person in the relationship fails to do their part. In those cases God gives healing, He gives us a greater wisdom, and leads us on to even better relationships. God turns all our setbacks into comebacks.
Nonetheless, you’re smart to be focusing on communication as the thing to take you both to the next level. Communication with God (prayer) is all important, and that takes us to our next question:
Anonymous asked: Hi Unka Glen! I tutor a great 10 year old boy, and so far it’s been pretty awesome. However, I’ve noticed he has a habit of “shutting down”. This has only happened once before with me, he quietly started crying and putting his head down. I responded by letting him have his moment, but also being attentive and encouraging. Within minutes, he quickly resumed doing his homework. But today it happened again, what should I do? [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: Learning to communicate is essential for healthy relationships, especially in the area of getting help from other people. I’ve seen young kids yelling and screaming for a parent to help them, while the parent is saying something like, “Billy, if you want me to help, you have to stop screaming and tell me what’s wrong. Is it your foot? Is it your head? Somewhere in between? Is it an existential crisis Billy?”
It’s silly to have a problem, and want help, but then to fail to express that problem and ask for help in a simple and direct way. So silly. Except you and I can be just like that. Whether it’s saying “I’d like to get to know you better over ice cream”, or “God, I’m angry with you because I don’t know who else to be angry with”, we struggle to simply express ourselves and be vulnerable.
Now is an awesome time for this young man to learn to “use his words” to express himself. At his age he may not have the cognitive bandwidth to figure out the right words to express himself, AND figure out how to process those emotions at the same time. But once the emotions have burned off, ask him to express what it was that was making him frustrated.
Let him know that he doesn’t have to use all the right words, and that you won’t negate his emotions by telling him he’s wrong to feel the way he does. If he can express himself after the fact, then maybe he can express himself a little earlier next time. Also, ask him to express himself on things that are not so emotionally charged, “why is Iron Man your favorite Avenger?”, or “why does this person in this comic book look so sad?”
Also, just like having a prayer journal, you can encourage him to write down his feelings, and tell him that he doesn’t have to show anybody unless he wants to. The main idea is to start expressing things in healthy and mature ways.
Just like good prayer, you’re encouraging him to separate the explanation from the analysis. First, let’s figure out what we feel, THEN we’ll decide whether it’s based in reality. When we try to have the “right” emotions (whatever those are) we end up censoring everything we really feel. Better to simply say, “I imagine I’m wrong about some of this, and right about some of it, but I won’t be able to analyze that until I express it.”