Connect the Dots
Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.
Page 82: Third full sentence. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
“‘You should have warned her.”
Warnings are a particular thing, aren’t they? Do they work and are they the best option?
In high school, I went to a school dance with a friend. We both went to Youth Group and while we went to different schools, we knew a lot of people from each others because of youth group. At this dance, we saw Jordan. He was the “bad boy” crush that all of us had in a lingering sort of way. It was never all the way there, but he was always somebody that would cause somersaults in your stomach, but dating him was out of the question. He always wore a hat and was pimply and yet, he was reserved and that attracted a lot of the girls.
Jordan and Melissa were dating. They had been caught at a few Youth Group meetings ago kissing in the chapel. They were the reason we suddenly had the no PDA or PC rule. It severely limited game time.
Back to the dance with my best friend. We were there and we saw Jordan. No Melissa in sight. Well, that didn’t mean much. Considering his ‘bad boy’ appearance, he probably never got the permission slip signed. No big deal that is until we saw him dancing with another girl.
I don’t know why, but moving your butt into a guy’s groin was a sign of affection at dances. Grinding was the thing to do. I remember the first time I did it and I look back, shameful. Yuck. Still it persisted at these high school dances with teachers who didn’t let us hug while we slow-danced but was fine with the fast grinding dances. Once again, yuck.
So Jordan and this girl who was not Melissa were going at the gross dancing. The year before I had been dumped for doing this same thing with another guy. This was CHEATING. At least to us in our tenth/eleventh grade mind.
Of course we tried to be clever. The three of us got together, smiled, and tried to place the picture frame to capture Jordan and maybe not me on the side. We don’t know if he saw us or it was by chance, but he moved. He did see us through the dance, but avoided eye contact most of the time. It wasn’t that weird, it’s not like we were friends. We liked Melissa, but Jordan was just her boyfriend who we crushed after every once and a while.
After this dance, we hung back after devotionals and talked to our favorite person, the female youth group leader. Shelianna still holds a soft spot in my heart. I saw her as the perfect strong, Christian woman and still do. They lived on a farm, she has ten kids (then it was around six?), and she works at a correctional facility. There was a lot to juggle and she never sat backseat to her husband. If my friend and I were to seek advice, it was going to be from her.
We didn’t tell her the names and she didn’t want to know. We told her that there was a girl in youth group who’s boyfriend we had seen dancing with another girl. Do we tell her? Do we warn her? Should we even consider it as cheating?
Shelianna ended up telling us no, don’t tell her. At least not yet. We were worried Melissa would be upset that she never knew and found out there was something more going on between those two. We were also worried she’d be mad at us for not telling her. Shelianna, I think, thought they’d end up breaking up and of course, they did a few weeks later. I talked to Melissa after and acted sad that they broke up, but it was obvious she didn’t buy it. I said I never trusted Jordan. She said “he was cheating on me, wasn’t he?” Not an ounce of surprise just sadness. I told her what I saw and she said it was okay, she wasn’t mad I never said anything.
This warning a small one compared to others, but it’s one you’re never sure about especially when it comes to friends or even people who are only acquaintances. Do you warn a friend when you don’t like her boyfriend? Do you warn her when you saw him possibly cheating on her? What if you heard he sexually assaulted somebody?
I’ve tried giving out warnings, but what I’ve found is that the results are inconclusive. I have warned my best friend that the girl he was dating wasn’t okay. He chose not to listen and it worked for him, I think. (Or at least he refuses to tell me that he ended up worse after her, I’m not sure). They ended up breaking up and he learned a lot from that relationship. I have a current friend who is dating a guy her mom consistently warns her about. I think she holds onto him more. It’s not that I dislike him, but there are warning signs every once in a while. Do I say something? Right now, I choose not to and hope nothing bad will happen because of my silence.
It’s scary to stay silent and many people will not heed your warning and instead are proven right or don’t want to listen to “I told you so.” What about yourself? Are you guilty if you don’t say something and they get hurt? Warnings are difficult to give and they’re difficult to receive. Changing somebody is hard and people say you can’t change another person. I disagree in a way. I know I’ve been changed by people, but it relies on learning to understand oneself and reacting to it a specific way. A guy who cheats on a person won’t necessarily cheat on another. He might, but it may be for a different reason. Eventually he might come to understanding why he does what he does and figure out a way to change with the person he is in love with. This goes the same for girls.
So rambly post, but that’s my incorporation of that sentence or more so, my reaction to it.