The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
Lee Younger on episode 15 of Say That. Get it free on iTunes
I have this serious issue where I continually attract clingy guys. I’m 17, but pretty involved in the 20somethings group at my church (long story). A lot of the socially awkward guys tend to hang around me, apparently because I’m nice to them. This has made for some awkward situations and some of the guys coming on to me in really inappropriate ways. I’m just friendly and honestly don’t realize it happening at first. I want to love them, but I know there are boundaries. What do I do?
Answer: Yeah, niceness doesn’t always work out as well as we think it will. Obviously the first thing you need to do is go to whoever is in charge of the group at your church and tell them that these dudes are behaving in a way that makes you uncomfortable. The situation is their fault and not yours, so the straightening out needs to be on their end. That being said, since you have noticed this pattern in your life, there are some things we can look at to avoid these situations in the future.
All the behaviors you are describing, clinginess, social awkwardness, 20 somethings hitting on a 17 year old, are all hallmarks of guys (both genders really, but we are focusing on guys) who are deeply insecure. So dude has never had the confidence to talk to girls, and now a young lady is being sweet to him and he misreads that as a signal of undying love and away we go with the clumsy advances. There is no malice in that so it is easy to just grin and bear it, but in the end that is not doing anyone any favors.
The problem is that a lot of Christians define nice as “never confronting anyone about anything until is builds up so long that our church splits”. That is not helpful and not accurate. There is a way to be nice and make it clear that you are not cool with someone’s behavior. “I’m flattered by the offer, by I’m just not interested in dating you and I don’t want church to be awkward, so why don’t we just move on and be friends?”. You don’t have to call his haircut stupid or bring up that he largely speaks in cartoon references or that he smells vaguely of corn dogs. It is perfectly possible to be clear, firm, and nice all at the same time. And it is exponentially more effective the earlier in the process that it happens.
Matt from The Bridge