Tell your parents all the reasons why you like this person and want to go out with them -- because they're kind, smart, and fun to be around ("because they're hot" isn't a legitimate reason, so don't even try it).
See if you can work out a deal where you ease into dating gradually.
"Don't be alone with a person you don't know very well until you feel more comfortable with that person," Choate says. Know exactly where you're going, what's happening every step of the way.
You don't have to let the other person be in control of the date." Abuse is more common in teen relationships than you might think.
"I think people are ready at different times," says L.
Kris Gowen, Ph D, Ed M, a researcher in sexual and mental health at the Portland State University School of Social Work.
Girls who've set their sights on older guys, beware.
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Even if it seems like everyone around you has paired off, you want to go out with someone for the right reason -- because you really like that person. You also want to be with someone who will treat you right, she says. One clue is the way they treat their friends, teachers, and parents.
"The motivation to be drawn to this person is based on who they are as an individual ... If you're not totally sure about this person, ask yourself if it's worth getting into the relationship.
"Have you had a talk with yourself to say, 'Am I comfortable with kissing somebody, holding their hand, undressing to a certain level, caressing? These are decisions you need to make ahead of time -- not when you're in the middle of a make-out session and your date is pressuring you to go further.
Once you know your limits, you need to be strong and secure enough to say "no" or "stop" if things are getting too hot and heavy.