When we have made decisions about what we expect from ourselves, those around us, what we want to do with our lives, etc. we can avoid sliding into situations that we did not mean to be a part of. Let me give you an example: I am a high school sophomore and I have never thought about whether or not I want to attend parties and drink or not. I figure I will just know what to decide when and if the opportunity ever presents itself. Friday night is the big homecoming game and I am meeting up with some friends before the game just to hang out and go together to make sure we get seats next to each other. We meet up at our friends house whose parents happen to be out of town and someone pulls out a bottle of Vodka. I didn’t plan on drinking, I really had never even thought that this might happen, but now I’m four shots in and feeling pretty good. We head to the game where we get stopped at the gate- they can smell the alcohol. Now I’m suspended for a day and my parents are disappointed and have grounded me for who knows how long.
Do you see how easy it can be to just slide into something we didn’t fully expect to? If I had taken some time to think about whether or not if I was ever in a situation where alcohol was involved and what I would do, I could have been better prepared. It can be hard to tell our friends no, especially if we haven’t really thought about our reasons for not doing something. Maybe I am saying no to drinking with my friends simply because I know I would get in trouble and don’t really want to be grounded.
It is so important to think about the things we want to be a part of and the things we don’t. It’s okay to tell your friends or partner no to things you don’t want to do, in fact it’s encouraged especially if it could put you in danger. Saying no will be easier, it’ll still be hard but much easier, if you already have your reasons for yourself as to why you are saying no. And if you want to share those reasons with your friends, great. If you don’t that’s your choice too.
Decide, don’t slide!
Not too many generations ago, people used to form relationships and make commitments very differently than we do in society today. It may be considered “old school” when referring to our parents customs, but a lot of them made sequential sense and should even be brought back to help out with our current relationship problems.
These days, we tend to do things out of order, and you can tell they are out of order because when things are out of order, they don’t work. Divorce rates are higher than ever and that to me is very telling that we are doing something wrong when it comes to dating.
After getting out of a long-term relationship, I wasn’t sure how to date other people and because of that, I trickled in mistakes. I slid into a new relationship in hope that it would work out. Sliding is when you let things happen and get involved in a situation without thinking it through. At first our relationship started out really great then one day I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I was far off from my goals. I realized I slipped.
Looking back at it now, I understand I made the choice of sliding into a relationship because I wasn’t very sure of myself at the moment. It is clear to me now that there is a lot more thought that needs to be put in before deciding to commit to a relationship with someone. Deciding what you want, who you want, when you want, all those questions matter when trying to align with your goals in life.
The concept of sliding & deciding is fairly new to me but I am learning to distinguish the two. Am I acting out based on temporary feelings or am I acting out of alignment with my goals?
Think things through.
When we are young we have a tendency to not be able to control our impulses. I recognize that when I was younger I was in situations that I really regret having been in. Sometimes we live experiences that give us lessons in life. It is important to know that when we drink alcohol we are not completely in our senses. We are exposed to making decisions that when we are sober would never dare to make. When I attended parties where there was alcohol, I watched many folks make decisions that they later regretted. They had a one-night-stand and usually there was no commitment in the relationship after that. Having sex requires a lot of responsibility. You have to take into account that there are sexually transmitted diseases; there is also the possibility that you may get an unplanned pregnancy. Our Think Twice program teaches a lesson called “Decide don’t slide”. In this lesson we emphasize that before engaging in any kind of sexual activity to be responsible and know that there are consequences and they don’t have too much fun in them. It is better to wait to engage sexually until you have committed it to your life time partner. Get to know your partner and enjoy dating instead of sliding into something that you are going to regret later on in life.
What does it mean to slide in relationships? I like to think that it’s like being blown around like the wind. You aren’t being intentional with who you want to spend time with or what you’re looking for in a relationship/partner. Sliding is dangerous for a lot of reasons, for starters you can end up finding out that you aren’t safe with this person. They don’t respect your boundaries, they aren’t kind or caring and they are selfish. Sliding can also lead to being in situations that we don’t want to be in. You might want to hang out with a certain person and then find out they like to get high all the time. If you’re just friends, you might be able to navigate this better than if you just start dating someone without really knowing them. Sliding can also look like hooking up with someone, just having a physical connection without any emotional connection or friendship. This can be really dangerous as well because there is no way to know if this person has STD/STIs. There’s also no sure way to guarantee that you won’t get pregnant.
Deciding what you want in life is really important. It honors who you are as a person, it lets other people know what you are about in life. When we make decisions, it’s important to start with knowing what we want in life. What are your goals? What plans do you have for your life? Will the decisions you make right now affect those goals? They absolutely will! Each time we make a good or bad decision it affects our life and the outcomes of what we want. It’s up to each of us to be true to ourselves, have big dreams, go for those dreams and make decisions that reflect who we are and what we want in life.