How to Talk to Girls: Everything Boys Need to Know
If you're here, I'm assuming it's because you're either a boy who's wondering how to talk to girls or the parent of a boy who one day will. As the mom of a girl, I'm here to tell you it's not rocket science.
The opposite gender isn't as opposite as you think. Learning to talk to girls doesn't have to be complicated. Boys who remember these 10 tips will be well on their way to talking to girls with ease. And plenty of respect.
Think of Girls Like Any Other Friends
Why? Because they are. The whole idea of "girl stuff" and "boy stuff," particularly in early childhood, is ridiculous. Kids like to play, and the girls who like to play dolls probably like catching frogs and making mud pies too.
Don't worry about "playing with girls." Just play with friends, some of whom might be girls. No one likes to be singled out because of their gender.
Encourage them to think about how they'd feel if they started playing with a group of girls at the park who kept making remarks about the novelty of playing with a boy. It wouldn't be fun, would it? When boys treat girls like normal friends, girls are more likely to stick around.
This applies as kids get older too. While the gap between genders grows with age, spending time with good friends who share your interests isn't a gendered activity. If someone likes the same stuff as you do, be it video games, soccer, writing screenplays, or going to the beach, try to befriend them, girl or not.
Don't Stress About Stereotypes
Both boys and girls are exposed to gender constructs practically from birth, from the color of baby clothes to the kinds of toys they're encouraged to play with. While it's very difficult to overrule conditioning completely, parents can lead by example.
Dads can teach their sons that there's nothing weak or embarrassing about femininity, and small actions speak volumes. Carry mom's purse without worrying about whether it looks "manly" or not. Let your daughter paint your nails for fun.
Simply normalizing "girly" activities teaches boys that it doesn't really matter if the person you're talking to is a girl or a boy. At the end of the day, we're all just people.
Apply those same principles of equality in middle school and beyond, and conversations with girls will feel a lot less daunting.
Empathy is a challenging concept for kids (and, let's be honest, for many adults too). One of the first steps of learning how to talk to girls is learning how to empathize with people we're different from.
Parents can model empathy by being empathetic toward their kids. Help them identify their emotions and those of others. Practice setting and respecting boundaries. Discuss how characters from their favorite books and shows might feel in different scenarios.
By the time they reach middle school, the conversation can deepen to include discussions about current events and culture. The deeper your child's understanding of what it means to practice empathy, the more likely they are to apply it in their daily life — including to girls.
Emotional Awareness Is Attractive
Understanding and caring about a girl's feelings is a wonderful way to build a connection with her, but being able to express your own emotions is important too. Boys, girls are not responsible for your feelings.
Friends and significant others should support you and be there for you when you need a shoulder to lean on, but every individual is ultimately responsible for their own feelings.
If a girl, or anyone else for that matter, rejects you, is too busy to talk, or doesn't respond the way you wish she would, the way you respond is your choice. Choose wisely.
Talking to Girls Isn't Just About Getting a Girlfriend
In high school, I met someone I thought was really cool. We had a lot in common, and we talked all the time. Then, he asked me out. When I said no, he said something about nice guys always getting friend zoned, and just like that, what I thought was a good friendship was over.
Almost every woman I know can relate to this experience. You make a friend only to find out that he decided what role you should play in his life the second he met you.
The thing is, there is no script. In the story of your life, the only character you have control over is you. You're welcome to invite a girl to audition for a leading role, but she has no obligation to accept it. And if she doesn't, don't be a jerk about it.
Focus on developing real connections, and relationships will come in due time.
Treat Girls With Respect, and Speak Up If Peers Do Not
The phrase "boys will be boys" was long used as an excuse for young men to objectify women. The assumption that boys lack the ability to operate on a higher moral ground and employ self-control severely underestimates our young men.
Boys will be the kinds of boys we teach them to be. If their fathers, uncles and brothers treat women like people, they will too.
Practice treating girls and women with respect. Make sure they know that women don't owe them anything.
Talking about sex with their friends? Totally fine. Bragging about their exploits as if they don't involve another human being? Unacceptable.
Teach your son not just to do better themselves, but to reject disrespectful behavior when they see it, too.
Learn How to Listen
Listening isn't the easiest for kids, but it's a crucial part of building healthy social skills and relationships. Early on, remind boys to listen to others around them. As they get older, continue to discuss what it really means to listen to someone.
Listening isn't just sitting there and waiting for your turn to speak. Really listening means hearing the other person and trying to understand their perspective before sharing your own.
It's not just girls who like that. Everyone does.
If You're Nervous About Talking to Girls, Fake It Til You Make It
Remember what we said about thinking of girls like you would any other friend? Even if you're anxious about talking to the opposite sex, just pretend you're talking to any other friend, not your crush.
She's just a person. Relax. The worst that she can do is turn you down, and you might still end up with a cool friend.
Don't Take Rejection Personally
A tough lesson that every kid, boy or girl, has to learn is that you can't be everyone's cup of tea. Not everyone is going to like you.
Some people won't want to be your friend, and someone you like might not like you back. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, but it doesn't mean there's something wrong with them, either.
Don't try to convince someone who isn't interested to change their mind. Accept the rejection and wait for someone who is.
It might be oversaid, but one of the best how to talk to girls tips around is as old as time: Just be yourself. You're not going to win 'em all, but who cares?
By putting yourself out there (your real self, not some over-the-top character), you'll find a circle of friends who like you for who you are. That circle might include girls.
Eventually, it'll probably include a girlfriend too. Be kind, be respectful, be patient and be yourself. That's all there is to it.