Are young men and young women too different to understand each other? Here’s what they wonder about each other—and how they explain themselves.
Sometimes young men and young women feel that they are too different from one another to really understand each other. But mutual understanding and respect can come in part from our knowledge of Heavenly Father’s plan and our relationship to Him. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said:
“When we understand our relationship to God, we also understand our relationship to one another. All men and women on this earth are the offspring of God, spirit brothers and sisters. What a powerful idea! … What a different world it would be if brotherly and sisterly love and unselfish assistance could transcend all boundaries” (“Powerful Ideas,”Ensign, Nov. 1995, 25).
To foster such understanding, the New Era spoke to some young men and young women of various ages and from a number of different places regarding the things that puzzle them about the opposite sex. Here are some of their questions, as well as some of their responses.
Why is it so hard for boys to ask girls to dance?
Boys’ response: “Because we get embarrassed.” “And we’re not very talkative.” “We’re nervous.” “Because they’re too pretty to ask.” “Because whenever they’re around us, we don’t act normal.” “When girls are all bunched up, it makes us feel mean to single one girl out to ask to dance, so we sometimes don’t ask anyone.”
Why is communication hard for boys? Why do they give you one-word answers?
Boys’ response: “Words don’t come as easily to us, I guess.” “We use more than one word sometimes.”
Why don’t girls just tell us that they like us or don’t like us instead of dropping complicated hints?
Girls’ response: “It’s hard to put yourself in a situation where your feelings might get hurt.” “Some girls prefer an indirect approach, hoping it will give them what they’re looking for while still saving face.”
Sometimes young men and young women feel that they are too different from one another to really understand each other. But mutual understanding and respect can come in part from our knowledge of Heavenly Father’s plan and our relationship to Him.
Why do girls go to the restroom together in groups?
Girls’ response: “Because we have to ask our friends if we look good or not. You can’t really ask yourself.” “Sometimes it’s a safety issue.” “Sometimes it just happens.”
Why do girls think that guys always have to be the first one to start something, like a hello or conversation or phone call?
Girls’ response: “It’s their job, isn’t it?”
Why do girls sometimes play the whisper game with their girlfriends in a big huddle?
Girls’ response: “It happens when you are embarrassed or nervous.” “Because we probably think something you said was really cute and we don’t want to tell you because it’s embarrassing.” “Usually it’s not something mean that we’re saying; it’s that a guy has done something cute.”
Why do girls talk so much?
Girls’ response: “Because they’re insecure.” “If they get chitty-chattery, it’s because they’re nervous.”
What do they want us to ask them when we’re on a date?
Girls’ response: “I want guys to actually tell me what they think when they’re thinking it. For example, some guys will think a girl is pretty, but they don’t want to say it because they think that maybe she doesn’t want to hear it. Just say it. That’s actually something she’d maybe want to hear.” “Girls want to hear your compliments or something real and not just get asked ‘What’s your favorite color?’”
Why do some girls say they’re fat when they’re really not? What do they expect us to say to that?
Girls’ response: “Some girls say it out of habit, but sometimes I say it to get attention.” “Just to get someone to talk to you or to reassure you, to know someone actually cares.”
Why do some guys think they are too cool for church? They will be there, but they won’t really be there.
Boys’ response: “It’s a social status with some guys. In church they just sit there and don’t answer questions because they think they are too cool.” “Because they think they are cool and act cooler, when deep inside they might be insecure and don’t want to get the question wrong.” “They don’t want to be noticed. It’s much easier to blend than draw attention to yourself.” “For guys, it takes a longer time to get a testimony because we’re not really emotional and we grow slower.” “Girls are more mature.”
Why won’t guys sing in church?
Boys’ response: “Guys don’t sing because some guys are tone-deaf, they can’t keep beat, or their voice is changing.” “I do! I love singing the hymns. The guys that don’t probably are intimidated or embarrassed because they don’t know how to sing. Or their voices are changing.” “Puberty. Our voices crack, and the girls have such beautiful voices.”
Why can’t girls understand that guys can be as into the gospel as they are, but they may not show it on the outside?
Girls’ response: “Good point, but how else are we supposed to know if you don’t show it?”
Dress and grooming
Why do boys like to sag their pants? It’s not attractive at all. I don’t want to see their underwear.
Boys’ response: “Even though you do walk like a penguin, it replaces the pressure around your waist. It’s for comfort.” “Some guys do it because they think it’s cool, probably. My friends and I don’t do that.”
Why do some girls wear their pants so low and their shirts so short?
Girls’ response: “Young women try to copy what they see in the media. Boys should show their appreciation for a young woman who keeps the Church dress standards.” “Shorter shirts and hip-hugger pants are in style, and some girls don’t bother to look for something else.” “And sometimes girls just outgrow their favorite clothes without wanting to admit it.”
What’s the deal with the hair? Why do they do so many hairstyles?
Girls’ response: “I don’t know.” “Because we want to look cute.”
Why do boys think they have to be so macho all the time? Why don’t guys act like themselves the first time they talk to you?
Boys’ response: “Because they want to impress you.” “Because it’s fun.” “I always act like myself.”
Why do guys like to show off?
Boys’ response: “Because we want to impress girls.” “Because we have a lot of energy.” “Because we want to impress our friends.”
Why are girls so emotionally complicated?
Girls’ response: “Because we think about too many things all at once.” “Don’t worry yourself about it. Just be nice to us.”
Why do girls do so many tasks at once?
Girls’ response: “Because we can.”
God’s Grand Design
“In His grand design, when God first created man, He created a duality of the sexes. The ennobling expression of that duality is found in marriage. One individual is complementary to the other. As Paul stated, ‘Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 11:11).
“There is no other arrangement that meets the divine purposes of the Almighty. Man and woman are His creations. Their duality is His design. Their complementary relationships and functions are fundamental to His purposes. One is incomplete without the other.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “The Women in Our Lives,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 84.
“In his wisdom and mercy, our Father made men and women dependent on each other for the full flowering of their potential. Because their natures are somewhat different, they can complement each other; because they are in many ways alike, they can understand each other. Let neither envy the other for their differences; let both discern what is superficial and what is beautifully basic in those differences, and act accordingly.”
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), “Relief Society—Its Promise and Potential,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 5.
Understanding Each Other
“Satan … would have us believe men and women are so alike that our unique gifts are not necessary, or so different we can never hope to understand each other. Neither is true.”
Sheri L. Dew, “It Is Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 12–13.
What Girls Wish Guys Knew
- We don’t like them doing weird things, trying to show off.
- Most girls like a good, clean sense of humor in a guy.
- We really respect a thorough immersion in the gospel. We like it when guys are really interested in the scriptures, say prayers, participate at church, and respect their priesthood.
- We really like it when they sing the hymns.
- It’s all right for guys to cry during their testimonies.
- Wear a suit to church. It makes you look nice.
- We really like it when guys are gentlemanly and respectful.
- We like it when you just try to be our friend.
- We interpret feelings and emotions differently than you do.
- When we’re spending a lot of time on our hair and our makeup, it’s for you. It’s not because we’re vain. Well, sometimes it is, but not usually.
- Kindness is more attractive than looks. We like it when guys are genuinely kind. Rudeness is not cool.
- Little things like opening doors and carrying books can go a long way.
What Guys Wish Girls Knew
- When we’re trying to show off, we mean it in a good way. We’re just trying to impress you.
- We can be mature if we want to be.
- We don’t need to be funny all of the time.
- We don’t text 24/7, so if we don’t answer right away, don’t be offended.
- We like you for who you are, and you don’t have to be someone you’re not, like wear tons of makeup or not be yourself.
- You don’t need to spend hours just getting ready for a date. We already think you’re pretty.
- It makes us feel better when our dates are dressed modestly. And we are more comfortable talking to girls who are dressed modestly. It shows us they have respect for themselves.
- We like it when girls actually eat when we go out with them.
- We don’t always mean everything we say; we joke around a lot. We don’t mean to offend anyone.
- We like girls who are really kind and compassionate to everyone.
- We like it when girls ask us if we are going to an activity. It motivates us to go.
- We can be as into the gospel as you are, but we may not show it on the outside.